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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hussalonia Song # 13: A Farewell to Alarms

Writing about sound collage tracks has proven to be rather difficult. Actually, writing about the more traditional, music tracks has proven difficult as well. Nonetheless, I find that writing about a sound collage in a commentary fashion to be perhaps the most difficult thing thus far about this blog. So, for the second to last track on "Ernest Evans Hussalonia," I've decided to do things a bit differently. Normally I listen to a song multiple times, maybe three or four times, before writing about it, and then I play it while I'm writing, repeating for as long as it takes to finish the blog entry. For "A Farewell to Alarms," aside from one or two preparatory listens some time ago, I decided ultimately to play it only once during the actual writing of the entry, and rather than attempt a commentary style, I simply wrote free-form, almost-stream-of-consciousness, finishing up when the track ended. I say almost because I did sort of edit myself as I went along, but for the most part what you'll read is directly what came out of my mind as I listened to "A Farewell to Alarms." It may have some spelling mistakes and etc. but, like the other entries on this blog, I didn't go back and revise significantly, and nearly all the editing was done alongside the original writing itself, and so whatever problems I missed there remain present.

One thing to note about the piece itself: As what drew me to Hussalonia in the first place was a search for public domain music, and since The Public Domain EP remains one of my favorite Hussalonia releases, I've decided to dedicate the following bit of fiction to the public domain. It will be the first time I have dedicated anything to the public domain, though I have planned on releasing something that way for quite some time. It may not really be very good, in fact there really isn't much to it and it isn't very lyrical, but maybe somebody can do something with it. I enjoyed writing it, and I find myself drawn to the idea of creative efforts being inspired by other creative efforts, and so this may not be the only time I write some short, disembodied fiction based on a Hussalonia recording. I should also mention that this piece mentions a band called "The Regrets." I made this up as I went along, and I've never, as best as I can remember, heard of a band going by this name. I'm fairly sure a name can't be copyrighted, but I believe it can be trademarked, so if you're a member of a band called The Regrets, and I have stepped on your toes, feel free to let me know and I shall edit the piece to include a different name. Maybe something generic, like "The Band." Oh, wait…crap! Well, maybe I'll just delete it altogether if it bothers you. For those of you wishing to appropriate this piece thanks to it being dedicated to the public domain, I encourage you to make up a different band name at the end, just in case that's not something I can rightfully include in fiction without violating some copyright or trademark I don't know about. I believe that the only reason I included it as that it had, in my mind at the time at least, some sort of fitting, poetic quality that I enjoyed.

In the sense that this was really more of a creative exercise, the lack of focus or quality actually feels appropriate to me for a public domain release. If the public domain exists to foster shared creativity, then it makes sense to me to share in the normally solitary process of writing, which sometimes begins as it does here with the creation of a rough disembodied stream-of-consciousness prose piece. For the solitary writer this rough material would normally be revised and built upon and refined into something more aesthetically pleasing or philosophically stimulating or both, and that is an admirable individual effort. In the case of releasing a rough draft or rough piece into the public domain, however, there is the possibility that the same process happens more than once for different artists using the same rough source material. This makes an often solitary process feel a little cozier and less lonely. If, as it is sometimes said, all art is built upon past art, then it makes perfect sense to me to share rough drafts and sketches like this freely. I think that this really fulfills the mission of this blog to give proper due to every Hussalonia recording: what better way to honor a work of art than to create one inspired by it? Perhaps, as with some rough drafts created in the writing process of a single writer, no one will use this to create anything new, and it will fall flat and into obscurity. Still, much of the joy of art for me is in the process, and so there is no harm, no foul, and no regrets.

Title: "Outside in the Rain, Waiting"

Author: Leonard Kirke

Notes: Inspired by Hussalonia's "A Farewell to Alarms" and released directly into the public domain, though "A Farewell to Alarms" is not itself in the public domain and remains the property of Hussalonia. The following is not endorsed by Hussalonia, nor created in association with Hussalonia and does not reflect the original intent or context of the Hussalonia recording that inspired it.

The public domain material begins below, in italics:

"Cobblestones streets outside, and inside the concert is about to begin. I heard the band tuning up, rehearsing, and the rain starts to fall. They won't let me inside until precisely the time that the ticket says "DOORS OPEN." I have ten minutes left. Nearby a car alarm cries out into the night, and the rain falls harder, trying to drown out the noise. I'm being soaked; my clothes feel like they're melting into my skin, becoming dripping clay against my bones. Hansom cabs saunter by, the drivers whipping their horses to hurry, but the horses will not go any faster. I wonder if they enjoy the rain on their bodies, or if they just enjoy forcing their drivers and the Valentine's Day couples, currently their passengers, to get drenched.

Inside the hall I hear a dissonance, I wonder if something has gone wrong with the band. The church across the street is aglow, and there is chanting; it sounds like monks. Through the rain I can't see what denomination of church it is, or even what religion it is. I imagine that the monks are placing a curse on the band with their song. There is crashing and banging, and what I think is a large drum being dropped on its side. The hansom cabs keep slinking by; the procession appears endless.

It occurs to me that it has been over five minutes since I've been standing here. It is as if time suddenly sped up to accommodate me as I waited. A man at the door motions to me. I approach the warm light of the entrance hall. Pots and pans are clanging and crashing as they're carried into a side door, I suspect it is the kitchen. The horses continue to plod by. The monks are still chanting in the church. I enter, and I gaze at the poster on the wall: "Tonight Only, The Regrets!"

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