A CALL TO DIVE VI
Well, things have slowed down somewhat on the Crowdfunding front, but apparently this is pretty normal. Two weeks to go. If anyone's interested in pre-ordering a CD, downloading a few tracks, purchasing CD launch tickets, hey, no need to be shy!
While the Crowdfunding thing has been a necessary component of my contract with the Ontario Arts Council, in honesty I've found much greater pleasure in sending music out to friends, family and musical compadres, than to an anonymous and abstract 'council'. Thanks to all who have listened, commented, and just shot the shit with me as a result of this process!
This week I'm presenting a piece which is an apex work in the narrative. It's a piece in which Fides' full vocal power and prowess gets to really let loose in a transcendent expression of extreme rage and grief, swept along by a sonic storm of multiple layers of analog synth, wind, waves and wolves.
- A Call to DIVE I
- A Call to DIVE II
- A Call to DIVE III
- A Call to DIVE IV: The Crowdfunder!
- A Call to DIVE V - Lighea's Idyll
'Music for DIVE' - Rough Mixes
1. Prelude & The Pearls
2. The Pastry Shop
3. Lighea's Lovers
4. Bar Hades
6. Lighea's Idyll
* A note of clarification. These pieces of music that I'm presenting are rough drafts which will go into the creating of a CD to be completed somewhere between September and December 2014. The music was written for the sonic theatre/opera work, 'DIVE'.
The eccentric elderly scholar, Rosario, continues his astonishing tale of his youthful summer in the thrall of the mermaid, Lighea, a being both divine and wild.
"...she was a beast but at the same instant also an Immortal, and it is a pity that no speech can express this synthesis continually, with such utter simplicity, as she expressed it in her own body. Not only did she show a joyousness and delicacy in the carnal act quite the opposite of dreary animal lust, but her talk had a potent immediacy which I have found since only in a few great poets. Not for nothing is she the daughter of Calliope: ignorant of all culture, unaware of all wisdom, contemptuous of any moral inhibitions, she belonged, even so, to the fountainhead of all culture, of all wisdom, of all ethics..."
"That lascivious girl, that cruel wild beast, had also been a Wise Mother who by her mere presence had uprooted faiths, dissipated metaphysics. With those fragile often blood-covered fingers she had shown me the way towards true eternal repose, and also towards an asceticism derived not from renunciation but from an incapacity to accept other inferior pleasures." 
So, for Paulo, the mystery of the taciturn misanthrope was solved. Senator La Ciura, had been, and evidently still continued to be, in love with a god; an experience that had rendered the rest of his worldly life a lustreless and dreary ordeal.
At the end of the divine summer the mermaid becomes increasingly distant and restless. At dawn in late August a violent storm arises and the voices of her companions of the sea call her back. Even as she expresses her wish to stay with Rosario, she hurls herself into the surf, disappearing in a plume of spray. In Sanger's version of the tale Lighea calls Rosario, "Come with me!", and he can only respond, "I can't.... I'll drown.". This choice is the regretfull core of the rest of his life: he remains, like Odysseus, "lashed to the mast", vowing that he would never make the same mistake a second time.
 The Professor and the Siren - Giuseppe de Lampedusa
Click here to listen
Fides Krucker - vocal improvisations
Nik Beeson - composition, PolySix, processing, found and ambient sounds, mixology & production.
Rick Sacks - voice recording engineering
'The Storm' was built up first by layering improvisations with a Korg Poly Six (arpeggiations run through reverb and delay). I then recorded Fides improvising to the track and fed them in as the background voices of other sirens. I layered these up with a superb recording of wolves howling. Last touch on the bed track was the re-introduction of a chorus of Nazis chanting, from Leni Reifenstahl's 'Triumph of the Will'. Once the bed track was complete Fides came back into the studio and did a series of improvisations, creating the vocal composition for 'The Storm'.
What the track still needs
A very good mastering, with particular attention to dynamics and balance between voice and bed track.
So Mussolini, in his Pontine Marshes land reclamation project, directly played out the notion that fascism seeks to eradicate the 'uncivilized and feminine' wild . So, if the mermaid represents precisely those attributes that fascism sought to eradicate, is Rosario's love for the divine and wild and feminine mermaid just a delusional escape from the ruthless constraints of the fascist dictatorship in which he finds himself.
Storms are a shakedown, and so before we get carried away by a simplistic and possibly false dichotomy - fascism bad, wild good - can you really place fascism against the wilderness as a polarity? The wild is only chaotic and irregular if you look at it through the lens of ideology. In reality it is hyper-organized and can be fantastically symmetrical. In reality it can also be crushingly brutal, even senseless (but because it has no moral intent it can never be 'cruel').
Something else I'd like to consider before calling it a day. Fides could not be more perfect for this project because she has the emotional and technical capacity to take her voice places
that are well outside the borders of what we might call 'civilized' or 'domesticated'. From terrifying screams and yells, to howls of outrage, to moans of delight, her vocal expressions, while always exquisitely musical, break out of the constraints of tradition, whether that tradition is Bel Canto, or jazz, or whatever you like. And the reaction is pretty visceral: hair stands on end, faces go a little pale, some folks simply can't stand it, and other folks break into tears. It's very powerful stuff.
So, to me, what Fides does vocally is challenge the constraints of traditional vocal technique which, in their narrow band of possible emotional expression, can be fascistic. And she also challenges our own perceptions of music; perceptions which are often constrained by our own internally repressed and exclusivist view of what music is allowed to be, and what is musically possible, and what emotions and how much emotion we are allowed to express when creating music.
That said, her vocal ability is not based on some kind of capacity for 'total catharsis'. To do what she does without serious injury or permanent damage is a result of decades of disciplined work, conscientousness, vigilance and technical expertise. She teaches it, and is writing the book on it.... for real....
 And what's the relevance of the fascist object to eradicate the wild
to our current situation in Canada, now world renowned as an ecological laggard, headlong invested in it's own Pontine Marshes project, aka the Tar Sands?
Thoughts, ideas, suggestions on the music, on the story, on spreading the word, on my sanity?
I'd love to hear from you!
"Utram bibis, aquam an undam?" - 'Which are you drinking, the water or the wave?'
-- John Fowles, The Magus