Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Lake Effect, Part 2

For the past few days I've been deep into work on my sound-art/liminal /ambient project inspired by my explorations of-- and meditations about-- Lake Champlain. So now might be a good time to share some of the original impetus behind these pieces, in the form of a few entries from my tiny blue travel notebook-- from days last summer spent on the lake.
(The poet Charles Olson has been a huge influence on my work, both in music and writing. In his essay on projective verse he writes about poetry as being "energy transferred from where the poet got it." That simple and eloquent idea has been crucial to almost all of my creative efforts at capturing the moods and textures of my relationship with place and history; with landscape, shorelines, mountains... )
Here then, are some raw thoughts transferred from my lake journal:

9:10 am

Approaching the water, bands of soft green, dark blue ( warm and cold , deep and shoal juxtaposed visibly). The ferry - EVANS WADHAM WOLCOTT- pulls out silently, with barely perceptible motion, out past sparkling boats inside the stone breakwater. August sun is low and mellow. Across the green Mountains a line of clouds, like smoking volcanos beneath clear blue sky.

Sipping a brash Speeder and Earl's coffee, I feel something run from soul to synapse-- An idea that's been brewing long inside me rises, whole.
It's about the deep need, to feel and learn and KNOW the wholeness of a place; the levels of truth and story and history and geology and war and peace and land-form and bird migrations that, once sensed and held in the heart, bring that deep and profound wholeness.. .
So by way of all this ---like shapes of mountains and forests, a structure for a narrative begins to be revealed, in sections (core?) (skeleton?) ( island and Bay?).
Find the deep balm that heals the death and violence of blood and battles on these waters (1776, 1814, earlier)... The truth --of form, of shape, of feel-- that land and waters reveal, endlessly, again and again.

Then something happens: a shape and structure forms. Sitting in the sun on the pulsing deck of the moving ferry, I write:

describe birds, the seaplane landing on surface tension's glitter, boats...sense of iron ore beaches on NY side I run on

Formation, settlement, abandonment...
Odzihozo ( The Abenaki Maker deity)

1776,1813, Indian battles before written history,
the skeletons dug up this year in old North End--(soldiers of 1812 war)

Lone Rock Point...force of Geology, time, and yearning.

CROSSING II (Return across same waters...)

Now, in late winter, I begin to hear the sounds; capture them, shape them, using the words from my journal as guideposts to memory, to form: Each section heading will be the central idea for a composition.
I begin with the piece described here in a previous entry. I work it further, until it captures for me the essence of crossing waters... not just the sights, sounds, smells of the lake, but the deeper waters flowing inside me; waters that flow in a mysterious sympathy with the waters I remember from my journey. This takes a few hours of working, listening, mixing, changing. When I find the resonance, I make myself stop.
The next day I set out to capture in sound the strange, eerie beauty of Lone Rock Point, and the thrust fault that reveals visibly, in frozen rock, a seemingly stilled event in the massive transformational processes of Geological time...