Archives for category: Soundtracks

IMG_954823Mk2

We got married at the City Hall, and then we went to the beach. She looked so pretty I just wanted to play in the sand with her, but she had this little smile on her face, and after a while she got up and went down to the surf.

      “I’m going out.”

      She went ahead, and I swam after her. She kept on going, and went a lot further out than she had before. Then she stopped, and I caught up with her. She swung up beside me, and took hold of my hand, and we looked at each other. She knew, then, that the devil was gone, that I loved her.

      “Did I ever tell you why I like my feet to the swells?”

      “It’s so they’ll lift them.”

      A big one raised us up, and she put her hand to her breasts, to show how it lifted them. “I love it. Are they big, Frank?”

      “I’ll tell you tonight.”

      “They feel big. I didn’t tell you about that. It’s not only knowing you’re going to make another life. ”

“It’s what it does to you. My breasts feel so big, and I want you to kiss them. Pretty soon my belly is going to get big, and I’ll love that, and want everybody to see it. It’s life. I can feel it in me. It’s a new life for us both, Frank.”

      We started back, and on the way in I swam down. I went down nine feet. I could tell it was nine feet, by the pressure. Most of these pools are nine feet, and it was that deep. I whipped my legs together and shot down further. It drove in on my ears so I thought they would pop. But I didn’t have to come up. The pressure on your lungs drives the oxygen in your blood, so for a few seconds you don’t think about breath. I looked at the green water. And with my ears ringing and that weight on my back and chest, it seemed to me that all the devilment, and meanness, and shiftlessness, and no-account stuff in my life had been pressed out and washed off, and I was all ready to start out with her again clean, and do like she said, have a new life.”

When I came up she was coughing. “Just one of those sick spells, like you have.”

      “Are you all right?”

      “I think so. It comes over you, and then it goes.”

      “Did you swallow any water?”

      “No.”

      We went a little way, and then she stopped. “Frank, I feel funny inside.”

      “Here, hold on to me.”

      “Oh, Frank. Maybe I strained myself, just then. Trying to keep my head up. So I wouldn’t gulp down the salt water.”

      “Take it easy.”

      “Wouldn’t that be awful? I’ve heard of women that had a miscarriage. From straining theirself.”

      “Take it easy. Lie right out in the water. Don’t try to swim. I’ll tow you in.”

      “Hadn’t you better call a guard?”

      “Christ no. That egg will want to pump your legs up and down. Just lay there now. I’ll get you in quicker than he can.”

      She lay there, and I towed her by the shoulder strap of her bathing suit. I began to give out. I could have towed her a mile, but I kept thinking I had to get her to a hospital, and I hurried. When you hurry in the water you’re sunk. I got bottom, though, after a while, and then I took her in my arms and rushed her through the surf. “Don’t move. Let me do it.”

      “I won’t.”

      I ran with her up to the place where our sweaters were, and set her down. I got the car key out of mine, then wrapped both of them around her and carried her up to the car. It was up beside the road, and I had to climb the high bank the road was on, above the beach. My legs were so tired I could hardly lift one after the other, but I didn’t drop her. I put her in the car, started up, and began burning the road.”

      We had gone in swimming a couple of miles above Santa Monica, and there was a hospital down there. I overtook a big truck. It had a sign on the back, Sound Your Horn, the Road Is Yours. I banged on the horn, and it kept right down the middle. I couldn’t pass on the left, because a whole line of cars was coming toward me. I pulled out to the right and stepped on it. She screamed. I never saw the culvert wall. There was a crash, and everything went black.

      When I came out of it I was wedged down beside the wheel, with my back to the front of the car, but I began to moan from the awfulness of what I heard. It was like rain on a tin roof, but that wasn’t it. It was her blood, pouring down on the hood, where she went through the windshield. Horns were blowing, and people were jumping out of cars and running to her. I got her up, and tried to stop the blood and in between I was talking to her, and crying, and kissing her. Those kisses never reached her. She was dead.

Text: Excerpt from The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M.Cain

Image : Found photographs with the poster ‘Climax’ from Wespak Visual Communications, San Francisco, 1968. 

Sound: Starless and Bible Black – The Stan Tracey Quartet : Under Milk Wood – Dylan Thomas read by Richard Burton : Jesus’ Blood Never Failed me Yet – Gavin Bryas : Watch Chimes – Ennio Morricone : Requiem For the Russian Tea Room – Primal Scream : Violence – Andy Scott : Clear – Pam Aronoff : Double Connection – Plaster : Diamorphoses – Iannis Xenakis : Michael Jackson – Negavitland : Children of the Night sample – Bela Lugosi : Heavy Lead – Dave Richmond : Dr.No The Lair sample : 6 O’Clock – Zu + Eugene S.Robinson : Burning – Glaxo Babies : Mauvais Sang the Radio sample – Denis Levant : Modern Love – David Bowie : Oriundi – Frida Boccara : Clock – Elements of Noise : Kiss Me Deadly sample : A Warm Place – Trent Reznor

IMG_7763CROPAMOEN

Among the most resonant of these hallucinated recollections was Tim Lucas’s account of a dream in which he was “in a foreign land visiting a dusty but exotic bazaar. There were all sorts of fabrics, trinkets and baubles, none of which interested me very much, but then my eye was caught by a stack of old scrapbooks under one of the tables.

“I sat down on the dusty ground and opened one. It was full of colour stills of stars and scenes from Hollywood’s black-and-white era. The other volumes seemed to contain more of the same, but different. As I picked up one of the scrapbooks, I happened to glimpse just enough of the interior to realise that it was the volume documenting classic horror in colour. I had an almost subliminal glimpse of Lon Chaney in London after Midnight (1927) in full colour.

“None of the images had ever appeared anywhere before, and they promised to be of full-page portrait quality. I hugged the book to me because I knew it was a rarity I could not afford to buy and take with me and would never find again. So I resolved to sit there and drink in each image as an indelible, precious memory.

“I opened the book and there was the image I wanted to see most: Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein Monster… But, before I could give it the good look I intended, my eye was drawn to the caption at the bottom of the page. It said “Boris Karloff in Frankenstein (1933).” I knew, even in my dream, that Frankenstein was a 1931 picture, and the wrong note woke me up. I didn’t get to see anything.”

Text : An excerpt from the article Cinephile dreams by Brad Stevens published in Sight and Sound, February 2015.

Image : Pablo Picasso and Endless Caverns, a vintage photo collage featuring the photo used for Picasso’s obituary on May 6th 1983.

Sound : TV sample – Piorot : Sighs – Goblin : Film sample – The Passionate Friends : Light – Scott Walker : Paper trails – Darkside : Falling – Delia Derbyshire : Espaces Inhabitables I. – Francois Bayle : orban eq trx4 – Aphex Twin : TV sample – Dr.Gayle Delaney on Richard Simmons : Film sample – Tetro : Parce mini domine – Jan Garberek & The Hilliard Ensemble : Where the Rock Fish Feed – Roger Eno : Film sample – Mortal Transfer : Film sample – Croupier : Oh Fat White Woman – Delia Derbyshire : Rhizomes – Michael Jarrell : Film sample – The Conversation : The Last Dream of the Beast – Morton Subotnick : La Partition du Ciel et de l’Enfer – Philippe Manoury : Final Movement (feat. “Not at Home”) – Clint Mansell : Clouded – Recondite : Fix It Girl – Chris Morris

Suck & See

 

The parties in the Pines were amazing affairs complete with fanciful themes, Hollywood-like sets, giant sound systems, DJs, booze, and drugs. And in the summer of ’65, a couple of older queens named Sam Hadad and Royal Marks decided they would throw the most elaborate and decadent party of the season, calling it “The Bacchanal.” I was staying at a rented house with my friends Dick Villany, a decorator in the David Barrett mode, but with a less affluent clientele; Franklyn Welsh, the best, though as-yet-undiscovered, makeup artist and hair stylist in the world; Barry de Prendergast, a wily wheeler-dealer and model from Ireland; and Loy Mazor, a notorious speed freak. Loy mainlined methedrine to the point where his skin had taken on a pallor that was decidedly gray,

Franklyn made the most divine toga from one of the lightweight linen bedspreads and did my hair in a curly Grecian updo adorned with baby’s breath from Dickie Decorator’s living room flower arrangement. We were just about ready to leave for the party and already tanked up on pot and God knows what, when Loy asked if I`d like to try some speed. Never having shot it, l was, of course, up for the adventure. Franklyn held the belt tightly around my arm while Loy stuck the needle in my vein. The rush was immediate. I slumped to the floor in a moment of orgasmic ecstasy, pulled Franklyn, a rather shy homosexual to me and French kissed him so deeply he was in complete shock, “That good, huh?” he marveled, realizing how high I must have been. Everyone else was yelling that we should hurry up lest we miss the party. But I was so on fire with sexual desire. I just wanted to fuck somebody, anybody, right then and there before leaving the house. Alas though, it was a house full of homos and none of them were into girls. So I pulled myself together, hit the boards with them, and headed for The Bacchanal.

It was a daytime party, and as we neared the house, we saw legions of scantily costumed boys on the various boardwalks leading to it, their muscular sun-kissed bodies as tempting as Greek gods’ in the afternoon light. I was rushing and so incredibly horny; I just had to find a straight or bi one to fuck me. We were greeted with some magic punch at the door of the party- just what I needed to top up the speed!

Upstairs in the main room there was a huge table, the centerpiece of which was a stunningly beautiful boy, reclining nude except for a laurel wreath in his hair and some grapes covering the lower part of his torso. He poured wine for the guests from an ancient-style urn, and as I offered my glass to be filled, I looked into his eyes and caught the hetro vibe. “Ah, a real woman,” he cooed. And that was it. Within second, his fruit and my toga pushed aside, I was up on the table having sex with him. Suddenly, as if through a fish-eye lens, there were hordes of sex hungry faces looking down at us, their hands all over his ass as he was thrusting his cock into me. I found it all so excitingly surreal, so Fellini-esque and so fitting with the theme of the party. I felt no shame or contrition at all.

But Sam and Royal were outraged and decided I had ruined their party. They intervened before either of us got to come, and they took the boy away before I even got to know his name. He was ordered to stay in a downstairs bedroom until they sent him back to the mainland on the next boat, and I was ordered to leave the party, never to see my sweet momentary Adonis again. The next day I was the talk of the island, and everyone was divided into two camps: those who congratulated and high fived me, and those who scolded and scorned me. But I felt I had taught them all a lesson. You throw a bacchanal, you put a naked boy on the table, and you give out magic punch-what do you expect?

I think the only problem anyone there really had with it is that I was a woman. Had it been two boys going at it, it might have been OK. But apparently, they had hired the boy through an ad in the Village Voice and had no idea that he was straight. Anyway, Sam and Royal should have been eternally grateful to me for my performance and to Loy for supplying the speed. Their party became the stuff of Fire Island legend, not only for that summer, but for many summers that followed.

This post was a collaboration with artist Julie Verhoeven who donated the image Suck & See. A Moment of Eternal Noise selected the music and the text from Lick Me, How I Became Cherry Vanilla by Cherry Vanilla based on the image.

Excerpt from The Telephone Book : Pentatonia – Paris Smith : How to die with style – Quentin Crisp : Coke, Suede and Waterbeds – Sopwith Camel : Goodbye Emmanuelle – Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin : Afrian Reggae – Nina Hagen : My name is trouble – Keren Ann : James and the Cold Gun – Kate Bush : Liquid Gang – Marc Bolan & T Rex : Ladytron – Roxy Music : Art-I-Ficial – X-Ray Spex : Bored – Destroy all Monsters : The Mating Game – The Monochrome Set : D’Ya Think I’m Sexy – Hybrid Kids : The Model – Big Black : Sex unter Wasser – D.A.F. : Strawberry Fields – The Runaways : Unemployability – Quentin Crisp : 52 Mins

(About the size of a Book)

A Unitych is a unit made up of two identical parts. Each part is about the size of a book. It comprises a unit when both parts are separated and disseminated. If presented as a pair – casually assembled on a window ledge for instance – it would merely exist as a sum of components. Entirely dependant on each part’s separation, a Unitych is unique in requiring two persons to own it. One could have both parts in their possession of course, but in order for Unitych to function, the ownership needs to be split, 50/50 with another person. A Unitych unit dissolves if there is too larger distance between the componential parts. There is no actual yardstick, and different Unitychs behave differently. Many come into being by accident and each one behaves relatively to its owners’ predicaments.

In a meagre room, a barefooted woman is curled up on a chair staring at a wall. An object (about the size of a book) rests on a table. Should her gaze turn directly towards the object, she will not perceive a Unitych but only a componential sibling. She cannot stare at both at the same time, because the other part is in another meagre room, in another house, somewhere else. To see hers, she has to look away from the object, but too far and she’ll miss it. She might stare at the wall and only perceive the wall, or she might be staring at the wall but perceive a Unitych. If this were the case she does not see the wall at all and only perceives the Unitych.

For a Unitych can plunge surrounding objects and other matter into darkness. To see her own, she has to capture a distance, if she manages to capture this, then she can perceive her Unitych. A Unitych works very much like an old optical illusion. You know the type; you run your eyes over a grid of black and white squares, and a mesh of grey ones appear. You stop to focus, stagnantly, to deconstruct the trick, only to find as you do there is a slight oscillation anyway, and the little grey fuzzy squares break free and career all over your visual field.

In another meagre room, a barefooted woman is curled up on chair facing an object (about the size of a book) on a table. Her eyes are closed and her womb aches. Three small tears emit from dormant tear ducts and fall onto her lap. The drips fall with the same amount of time between each one and hit the same spot on her lap. On the third, she opens her eyelids. Two empty eye sockets meet the wall and at this point she sees her Unitych. Her mouth opens; her tongue tightens to reach the roof of her mouth. She squeezes some air from the depths of her lungs to make an O, a C, a U, and an L, a long A, and a quivering lower lip attempts an R.

In another meagre room, a barefooted woman is curled up staring at an object (about the size of a book) on the table. Her belly begins to ache, and the pain travels further down her abdomen to her vagaina, and into her anus. The pain in her womb intensifies. Paralysed in agony, she feels movement in her womb. The pain between her thighs is unbearable, and she feels a rush of fluid. She dares not look down, as two spherical objects, as soft and white as lychees emerge from her vagina. Drooling in fluid they fall neatly on to the chair. The woman clenches her eyes, and they begin to stream; one, two, three drops. She opens hers eyes on the third. Staring at the table, the object has vanished. She remains frozen, but she looks down between her thighs at the dribble around her lap. Two eyes stare back at her, and as all eyes meet, an object (about the size of a book) shifts into focus. Her stare darts over to the tabletop but the object has disappeared and by the time her glance returns to the set of eyes swimming in fluid, the object returns. Fixed still on the set of eyes, her mouth opens, and her tongue tightens to reach the roof of her mouth. She squeezes some air from the depths of her lungs to make an O, a C, a U, and an L, a long A, and a quivering lower lip attempts an R.

Invisible – Jean-Claude Risset : L’Imparfait Des Langues – Louis Sclavis : Armadillo Death – Rancho Shampoo : Mon Histoire – Michel Cloup : Cette Colere – Michael Cloup : Chat Noir – Le Pas du chat noir- Anouar Brahem : La Partition du Ciel et de l’Enfer – Philippe Manoury : The Hospital (The Eye of the Beholder) – Bernard Herrmann : The dance of the tutuguri – Antonin Artaud : String Quartet No. 3: III. Epilogue / Lullaby – Jefferson Friedman : Cave Song – Meredith Monk : Invisible – Jean-Claude Risset : Pictures of Matchstick Men – Status Quo : Espaces Inhabitables, I. – François Bayle : Dj la nuit – Anouar Brahem : On Top of The World – James – 65 Mins

This is an Exquisite Corpse. The music was selected by A Moment of Eternal Noise, an excerpt was sent to Simone Gigles who made the image ‘Kitty.’ The text was written by Cameron Irving based on that image.

 

1) Marburg. Project Harlequin. 03.11.39

In 1939 at the General Electric labs in Schenectady, New York they discovered the ability of dry ice shavings to convert supercooled water droplets (those existing as water at temperatures colder than freezing) to ice crystals and thus to water, with the addition of elements such as copper oxide the water could be colored. This combination would be injected into clouds using a convectional heating process that would manifest itself in the paths of jet streams propelling the clouds to Germany. When they reached precipitation point the rain would permanently stain any exposed skin.

2) Cuxhaven. The Badische Committee. 05.05.39

The communist organization Young Czechoslovakia proposed fake German fashion houses. Here gangs of secret Jewish tailors would make special low cost Nazi uniforms which would fit perfectly when first worn but would then inhibit the movements when the wearer ran or lifted their arms above elbow height. Each garment and accessory was designed to inhibit a specific task such as a belt which would tighten when loading a rifle or a smoking jacket that constricted blood flow in the right arm making writing an uncomfortable and difficult procedure.

3) Wartburg. The Salar League. 14.08.42

The Dutch created vast animal hospitals and developed animal training centers in Ireland. Using rigorous advanced techniques they hoped to combine several instincts into one animal. Echolocation from bats was taught to rats. The sensitivity of a spider’s legs was taught to horses. The hibernation habits of bears were taught to owls. In the Rhine a salmon and a tiger shark were cross bred, implanted with organic sonar amplifiers. Bombs were mounted onto and sometimes into their bodies. They attempted to combine the salmon’s homing skills with a shark’s instinct for detecting noises and electrical signals to create living weapons. Boats have large electrical ‘footprints’ which they assumed could easily be taught to the fish. It was hoped they could be trained to hunt and destroy specific targets.

4) Berlin. The Red Ribbon. 12.10.43

In the outer Hebrides a farmers collective was approached, they favored using special sheep breeding techniques and the meat sent into Germany disguised as Red Cross packs that had accidentally been dropped in the wrong areas. The meat contained massive amounts of untraceable hormones that would cause mass impotency.

5) Kassel. League of Biblio-Terorism. 22.04.43

The Russian’s had their sights set on the Nazi education system. The National Socialists completely changed the schooling system in Germany, aggressively vetting teachers, encouraging pupils to inform on them, rewriting history and adding anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist twists to historical accounts. Large amounts of new text books, learning materials and teachers had to be found. The short time frame needed to create this new system created many loop holes that the Russians wanted to exploit. They focused on hiding secret messages within the books using subtle diagrams and compositions they believed would effect the children’s development. Subliminal messages would be hidden in the educational films. Colors the Russians believed would effect the children’s sub-conscious were especially favored. Secret backward chants and messages were hidden in the gramophone records of marching bands. In physical education which comprised 15% of their total class time the children where made to run in shapes and patterns that would create indelible mental symbols of anti-Nazi propaganda. The Russians believed the arrangement of these positive mental symbols would effect the children’s subconscious in such a way as to make identification with the Nazi’s graphic symbolism impossible.

6) Soest. The Zeuss Factory. 30.03.44

In occupied France the Brittany Resistance were interested in the factory owners and managers. They infiltrated these Nazi owned business and secretly proposed a radical redesign of everyday objects. A bathtub that was so slippery the user could almost never get out of it. Concrete made so impure that it would disintegrate in the rain. A special bicycle cog set based on the concept of half-step gearing was created by altering original blueprints. Here a simultaneous front and rear shift change was necessary to move through the gears. At the lowest gear the chain was designed to fall off the cog just at the point the rider reached top speed in the hope of causing a fatal accident.

7) Schwerin. The Quinton Study. 19.11.1945

The Quinton Study in Schwerin was a group named after the famous canine sea water experiments conducted by René Quinton in the late 19th Century. The American animal laboratories had found a way of teaching dogs excellent tracking skills and homing instincts from pigeons and coyotes that they would use to triangulate their position on targets. The canines were flown in and parachuted about 10 kilometers from the desired target. The dogs would live off the land while they slowly closed in. When they got within a kilometer they could communicate using coyote calls. Then at a specific time they would attack. Even the actual method of carrying out the assassination was an instinct taken from another animal. The dogs were taught to copy the feeding habits of crocodiles and their jaw muscles operated on to promote extra muscle development, their teeth removed and replaced with ceramic blades. Their coats would be washed daily in a chemical mixture created to streamline and camouflage the animal. Finally the dogs were taught to entirely eat their kill.

This text by A Moment of Eternal Noise features an original score by Paul Gulati and is edited by Kelly Kludt.

 

FOR A SAXIFRAGE OF PROMETHEUS

What is reality without the dislocating energy of poetry?

God has lived among us too powerfully. We no longer know
how to rise up and go. The stars, which had been sovereign
in his gaze, are dead in our eyes.

It was the questions the angels had that provoked the invasion
of demons. Once again they fastened us to the rock in
order to beat us up and love us.

It is only in the shadows that the struggle takes place. There
is no victory except on those borders.

Noble painting, my neighbor’s pretext and his struggle, in the
faint dawn I guard you as I guard my hunk of bread, waiting
for what I envision as a day of high rain and of green loam,
which will come for those who burn and for the stubborn.

René Char ‘The smoke that carried us: selected poems,’ 2004

This is A Moment of Eternal Noise Exquisite Corpse. The Music was selected by A Moment of Eternal Noise, an excerpt was sent to Ester Partegas who selected the text. The last paragraph of the text was sent to Philip Allen who selected the image and then the title was chosen from a corner of that photograph.

Theresa Screams – The Melvins : Amazon – The Melvins : Opening (A Nightmare on Elm St. 3) – Angelo Badlamenti : The Duke Arrives – John Carpenter : Night Drive – Giorgio Moroder : Waiting for the Man – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark : Oxygene Part III – Jean Michel Jarre : Christine/Car Obsession Reprise – John Carpenter : One Minute to Midnight – Justice : Puppet Walk – Angelo Badlamenti : For Your Love (Todd Terje Rmx) – Chilly : Chase – Giorgio Moroder : Eat The Rich – Motorhead : Magic Journey (Todd Terje Rmx) – Rogue Cat : Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free – Zombie Zombie : Gathering Dust – Cocteau Twins : No Remorse – Cannibal Corpse : Theme from the Comfort of Strangers – Angelo Badlamenti : Demoniac Possession – Napalm Death – 92 Mins

Photograph by Helen Thompson

 

Entering that gable-ended Spouter-Inn, you found yourself in a wide, low, straggling entry with old-fashioned wainscots, reminding one of the bulwarks of some condemned old craft. On one side hung a very large oil painting so thoroughly besmoked, and every way defaced, that in the unequal crosslights by which you viewed it, it was only by diligent study and a series of systematic visits to it, and careful inquiry of the neighbors, that you could any way arrive at an understanding of its purpose. Such unaccountable masses of shades and shadows, that at first you almost thought some ambitious young artist, in the time of the New England hags, had endeavored to delineate chaos bewitched. But by dint of much and earnest contemplation, and oft repeated ponderings, and especially by throwing open the little window towards the back of the entry, you at last come to the conclusion that such an idea, however wild, might not be altogether unwarranted.

But what most puzzled and confounded you was a long, limber, portentous, black mass of something hovering in the centre of the picture over three blue, dim, perpendicular lines floating in a nameless yeast. A boggy, soggy, squitchy picture truly, enough to drive a nervous man distracted. Yet was there a sort of indefinite, half-attained, unimaginable sublimity about it that fairly froze you to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find out what that marvellous painting meant. Ever and anon a bright, but, alas, deceptive idea would dart you through.- It’s the Black Sea in a midnight gale.- It’s the unnatural combat of the four primal elements.- It’s a blasted heath.- It’s a Hyperborean winter scene.- It’s the breaking-up of the icebound stream of Time. But last all these fancies yielded to that one portentous something in the picture’s midst. That once found out, and all the rest were plain. But stop; does it not bear a faint resemblance to a gigantic fish? even the great leviathan himself?

In fact, the artist’s design seemed this: a final theory of my own, partly based upon the aggregated opinions of many aged persons with whom I conversed upon the subject. The picture represents a Cape-Horner in a great hurricane; the half-foundered ship weltering there with its three dismantled masts alone visible; and an exasperated whale, purposing to spring clean over the craft, is in the enormous act of impaling himself upon the three mast-heads.

The opposite wall of this entry was hung all over with a heathenish array of monstrous clubs and spears. Some were thickly set with glittering teeth resembling ivory saws; others were tufted with knots of human hair; and one was sickle-shaped, with a vast handle sweeping round like the segment made in the new-mown grass by a long-armed mower. You shuddered as you gazed, and wondered what monstrous cannibal and savage could ever have gone a death-harvesting with such a hacking, horrifying implement. Mixed with these were rusty old whaling lances and harpoons all broken and deformed. Some were storied weapons. With this once long lance, now wildly elbowed, fifty years ago did Nathan Swain kill fifteen whales between a sunrise and a sunset. And that harpoon- so like a corkscrew now- was flung in Javan seas, and run away with by a whale, years afterwards slain off the Cape of Blanco. The original iron entered nigh the tail, and, like a restless needle sojourning in the body of a man, travelled full forty feet, and at last was found imbedded in the hump.

Crossing this dusky entry, and on through yon low-arched way- cut through what in old times must have been a great central chimney with fireplaces all round- you enter the public room. A still duskier place is this, with such low ponderous beams above, and such old wrinkled planks beneath, that you would almost fancy you trod some old craft’s cockpits, especially of such a howling night, when this corner-anchored old ark rocked so furiously. On one side stood a long, low, shelf-like table covered with cracked glass cases, filled with dusty rarities gathered from this wide world’s remotest nooks. Projecting from the further angle of the room stands a dark-looking den- the bar- a rude attempt at a right whale’s head. Be that how it may, there stands the vast arched bone of the whale’s jaw, so wide, a coach might almost drive beneath it. Within are shabby shelves, ranged round with old decanters, bottles, flasks; and in those jaws of swift destruction, like another cursed Jonah (by which name indeed they called him), bustles a little withered old man, who, for their money, dearly sells the sailors deliriums and death.

Herman Melville, “Moby-Dick,” 1851

Arctic Beluga Whales : Ma belle dame souveraine – John Potter and Ambrose Field : Almost A Kiss – Throbbing Gristle : Saigon Pickup – John Zorn : Freight Elevator : Hortz Fur Dehn Stekehn West – Magma : Struktur XII – Karlheinz Stockhausen : Bridge To The Beyond – John Zorn : Mi Basta Chiudere Gil Occhi E – Nino Rota : Un grand sommeil noir – Edgar Varèse : The Jeweller – This Mortal Coil : The Vistitations – White Noise : Northern Winds : Le Petit Chevalier – Nico : (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons – The Righteous Brothers – 61 mins

Image – ‘Looking south upon hut point and vince cross, Antarctica,’ National Geographic Magazine, March 1924

 

17. “What about that black violin?” Johannes asked him the third evening. “What’s interesting about that?”

Erasmus looked up and paled slightly.

“That violin? If I were you I wouldn’t even touch one of its strings.”

“Why? Is it so bad that it’s not worth playing?”

“Quite the opposite! It’s the most extraordinary instrument I’ve ever come across. A mere breath is enough to set it vibrating. But the music it makes is so strange, that to hear it once is to be changed forever. It is like taking a draught of pure happiness. Once you have tasted it, you are never the same again. Playing the black violin like that, too.”

“Have you ever played it?”

“Only once. A long time ago. I haven’t touched it since. It is like love. When you have been in love-and I’m talking here about true love-it is something you can never forget. There is nothing worse than having been truly happy once in your life. From that moment on, everything makes you sad, even the most insignificant things.”

39. I was standing in front of my workbench when the idea first hit me. Why not make a violin that was just like Carla? If I wanted to reproduce her voice, I should start by taking the inspiration from her body. I would have to make a violin that caught the black of her eyes and the color of her hair. I remembered that somewhere on one of the dusty shelves in the library I had come across a small treatise, written by Antonio Stradivari himself, which explained how to make a violin made almost entirely from ebony. When I found it, I was glad to discover that among other things, the treatise contained a secret recipe for a black varnish, a varnish that I had not used before. Encouraged by my findings, I went back to work.

The shaping of the instrument’s body and sound box was no simple matter. Ebony is an extremely hard wood, and to work it requires both strength and great care. Assembling all the pieces was no easy task either, but finally, after many patient hours, I succeeded. Then came the varnishing, which took me another few weeks of painstaking work.

Two months later, the black violin was finished. The last coat of varnish had dried, and the time had come to see how it sounded. That night there was a storm. The lightning lit up the sky.

I picked up the violin and ran my finger over the surface of the varnish. As I did so, the wood started singing. This was no ordinary violin.

The bow glided over the cords as gently as a feather settling on a ripple of water. The sound grew, and swelled: like a woman’s voice. Like the voice of a soprano.

I stopped playing, almost bursting with happiness, for I knew I had finally made my dream come true.

That night, I played the black violin, and I played in a way I had never played any other instrument before. It was like holding Carla in my arms.

40. A few days later, I returned to Venice. It was the time they call the acqua alta, when the waters of the lagoon had risen and some of the tiny streets were completely flooded. And yet I felt unmoved by this sad landscape. I was so eager to see Carla again and to show her the black violin.

The Ferenzi Palace appeared to be sinking into the water of the Grand Canal. Since the quay was under water, I moored my gondola to the bars of a window. Waves rimmed with green algae were lapping at the steps.

To my surprise it was not the butler who opened the door, but Count Ferenzi himself I was shocked by his appearance, for his cheeks were hollow, his eyes were glazed, and his skin had a waxy look to it. He had aged terribly, and seemed to be weighed down by grief. ”Ah, Erasmus,” he said, “so good to see you. Perhaps you will be able to help us.” “Why, what has happened? Are you unwell?” He took a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed at his forehead. “No, no. I’m fine,” he said, and then, in a whisper, “it’s Carla.” “Carla? What’s happened to her?” ”Ah, if only I knew. She’s been taken ill. She has been in bed for the last ten days.” “Can I see her?” Without waiting for an answer, I went in and ran up the stairs. As I opened the door I saw her lying in bed, looking pale and wan. She was clearly very ill. I went over to see her.

“Carla,” I whispered, “what’s the matter?” She turned her head slowly toward me and I could see from the expression in her eyes that she was in great pain. “Look, I’ve brought the violin I promised you. Listen what a wonderful sound it has!”

But as soon as I touched the strings, Carla looked horrified. Her eyes widened, and she grabbed my arm, imploring me to stop.

“It’s terrible,” said the Count, arriving in the room behind me. “My daughter has a high fever, and the doctors have no idea what is the matter with her. The poor child has been fighting between life and death for more than a week now. ”

I looked at Carla, lying on the bed, her face the very picture of sadness.

“And the most terrible thing of all,” said Ferenzi, “is that since the night she first became ill, she has lost her voice completely!”

I felt the ground slipping away beneath me and had to steady myself against the bedpost to stop myself from fainting.

“What’s the matter?” asked Ferenzi. “Nothing,” I said. “I just feel a little tired, that’s all.” I looked at Carla and could see that she was crying.

Maxence Fermine,The Black Violin,” 2000

Music box intro : Musica Ricerta IIGyorgy Ligeti : Nicoles Dream – Sample : La Petite Messe Solennelle. I. Kyrie – Rossini : O Venezia, Venga, Venusia – Nino Rota : Through the Streets of Venice – Pino Donaggio : Venetian Church bells : Those two girls : Stormy Weather – Lena Horne : Wind : Strange Happenings – Pino Donaggio : Symphony No.5 Adagietto – Mahler : Le Petit Nicolas – Gabriel Yared : I Only Have Eyes for You – The Flamingos : Stillness Of The Mind – Abel Korzeniowski : O Belta Rara, O Santi Modi Adorni – Gabrieli Madrigals : Tom’s farwell : Farewell Theme – Eleni Karaindrou : Crash – 55 Mins

Image -Cover of The Ravished Image Or How To Ruin Masterpieces by Restoration by Sarah Walden