The Wire

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In Writing

Patrick Farmer’s picks of the web

January 2013

Follow the sound artist’s choice picks of the web. Farmer is featured in an article by Daniela Cascella in The Wire 348.

Gertrude Stein reads "If I Had Told Him"
I recently read a biography of Picasso relating to his painting, Guernica. I bought it in part to find out more about the milieu built up around Stein in 1940s Paris. Her seemingly effortless syntactical style – as if she was creating copies of herself as she simultaneously destroyed them – always moving yet never perceptible, was a huge influence on me when I first began to experiment with pulseless drumming about ten years ago.

Robert Creeley's lecture on Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan
I return again and again to this lecture, tending to find the literary aspirations of a poet much more inspiring than the aural aspirations of a sound artist, Creeley, with his overwhelming knowledge of language and structure, encapsulates this perfectly.

Charles Olson reading at UC Berkeley
This is an astonishing feat. There is little I can I say about it apart from mentioning the joy and strange feeling of melancholy I so often inhabit when listening to the crumbling voice of a man who knew his craft inside and out, though seemingly changing his mind with every single word that left his throat.

SallyAnn Mcintyre's Radio Cegeste
An inspiring quagmire of ideas and documentation, though only a slight introduction into McIntyre's exhaustive work in sound and radiophonics. Sally has many different websites, an absolute necessity considering the range of her work and this one, I feel, displays the myriad relationships she has with her immediate environment and the mirror images of her undulating imagination.

Jules Michelet's La Mer
I discovered this absorbing book while reading Enid Starkie's wonderful biography of the poet Arthur Rimbaud. plays host to an ever expanding and colourful slew of relevant books from the 19th century, and over time I have aligned myself to works like La Mer as being concomitantly fact and fiction. It's almost like an underwater bestiary.

Jürg Frey's Paysage Pour Gustave Roud
"My prairie listened then just as it listens now to this still resounding lament" One of the most placid and contemplative works to come out of the Wandelweiser composers group in my opinion. Antoine Beuger, who runs Wandelweiser, once mentioned to me an idea pertaining to his piece, Monodies Pour Mallarme, in that playing the piece would be like sitting at the shore of a motionless lake, playing the sounds so quietly, that they don't disturb its surface. This piece, written by Jürg Frey, and based around the poems of Gustave Roud, is a perfect example of such stillness, but I would go further and suggest that the environment is also still, in the presence of the performance, and that equally it does not leave a mark on tonality.

The Writings of David Dunn
Even though most of these essays were written over 20 years ago, they still pertain a great degree of relevance when considering the state of field recording and provide an alternative to the often religious adherence to notions of acoustic ecology. Dunn was way ahead of his time in the consideration of environment and its documentation, the sticky concepts of an adherence to 'reality' when recording, and of discussing feelings of the uncanny when experiencing a reduction of one environment in another. As Timothy Morton would now say - "nature cannot be naturalised".

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