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Thousand Year Dreaming / floating world

by Annea Lockwood
Pogus Productions, Chester, NY, 2007
Audio CD, 8 tracks, 79’01"
Pogus 21045-2.

Reviewed by Stefaan Van Ryssen
Hogeschool Gent


Annea Lockwood wrote Thousand Year Dreaming (1990) with the musicians on this recording, their particular strengths and inclinations, very much in mind. It grew out of an improvisation piece, ‘Nautilus’, which Art Baron, Scott Robinson and Lockwood realised in 1989. Baron plays conch shell, trombone, and didjeridu. That’s just the start. Jon Gibson plays didjeridu as well. And so does John Snyder, who also wields the waterphone. Peter Zummo, surprisingly, plays didjeridu and trombone. So there are already four didjeridus. J.D. Parran is on clarinet and contrabass clarinet, no didjeridu. Libby Van Cleve blows the oboe and the English horn and Michael Pugliese plays the tam-tam and clapping sticks. Another tam-tam and ‘stones’ are played by Charles Wood — what’s in a name? Fortunately, N. Scott Robinson is on tam-tam (!), pod rattle, frame drums and conch shell (!). To top it off, Annea Lockwood’s voice can be heard, too. According to the author of the liner — I suppose it is Ms. Lockwood herself, but no name is given — the sound of four didjeridus, a number of primitive percussion instruments, conches and trombones, shaped by the penetrating and sensuous edge of oboes and clarinets, set her imagination on fire. It reminded her of the cave paintings of Lascaux. And obviously, this is all about the sonic energy that we, Westerners, are so eagerly looking for. Imagine, at one point during the piece, the four didjeridus play together and "wander through the audience, exploring the space’s acoustics, playing into a listener’s shoulder here, a foot there — sonic massage."

The second part of this CD is filled by a collage of eleven recordings of environmental sounds made by composer friends of Ms. Lockwood. "Each of these recordings captures a truly transitory series of moments — floating worlds — fixing them digitally, but temporarily. When played, they become transitory once more, and evaporate — a paradox I like very much."

It appears as if Ms. Lockwood excels at bringing together the work and the qualities of a lot of friends, blending their efforts into something she can than elevate to a higher level. I sincerely hope she will forgive me if I can only hear a succession of pre-recorded environmental sounds or a longish beaded string of conch shell whooshes and didjeridu-doos sprinkled with clapping stones and the sound of a forlorn oboe. There certainly is an audience for this. People who can perceive the spiritual in the flickering of a candle flame or the rising of the smoke from a campfire. I am sorry, but I am, and remain, an unbeliever.



Updated 1st October 2007

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