Susan Alcorn & Rodger Coleman :: FMRL January 20th, Porltand Brew, Nashville, TN

Rodger Coleman

((cough// door slam // the click of a pen // shuffle cough// a couple whispers in ears))

This is what we contribute and Rodger Coleman makes the soundscape hum hum… a study in how to build a swell.  how to build a circle of noise // not a wall // a 360-degree installation around us and we are the installed.   The second study:  how to deconstruct this circle in a way that causes no pain, no empty feeling of loss when it recedes, to gently, lovingly place us back where we started before the wave & its inverse.  back to the beginning of what would you call that, a journey / a micro-lifetime

look at all the boxes on the board…

And oh, here we are in outer space.  hey this tops pop charts on Mars, absolute.  Riff on over Martian chatter at Martian bar.  Or! maybe this is an electrified arcade sparked bright & insane.  a buzzing cirque-arcade drowning in signal and bells.  the dying wish of each sound: your careful attention.  that’s all.  just listen as I fade away.

Each composition brought to us with feedback served on loops on loops and Coleman is just cruising along.  driving. yea we are going somewhere. we have an agenda:  must tinker wavelengths and make them do our bidding.  Coleman is the bossman of so many waveforms.  He puts them all to work.  Coleman for sonic president:  let no sound go unemployed!

A quiet body sewing multi-layered sonic universes.  On every level,  a world.  Come closer.  Zoom in:  look there’s a lonely someone.  and there’s a fire truck & siren.  and there’s the scratch of the Sahara and the hum of the sun.  Layered on layered on…   Zoom out and you feel the whole pool of it.  I guess “it” is what // the cross-section // transverse cut of a second, alive.

Susan Alcorn

And I await the resurrection of the pedal steel guitar….

Low tones so freakish & comforting, psychedelic den.  you can disappear.  a comfortable place to cease to exist, if you fancy, if only for a minute.  dissolve into this sound.  dusty haze of opium in old west.  it’s ok.   Yes yes, we must live all days in a row… the crux of the gig, unsolicited… but we can duck out.  for a little while.  And what better cover than the confidence & depth of drone.

How many lifetimes did Susan sit alone with strings and silver mallet, to listen and let them play her.  How many additional lifetimes did she spend in talks with the transcendent, to get the nod to channel, to be a vessel of something greater.  And what does it mean to be a master.   She breathes when the instrument breathes.  Watching them feels like a glimpse into a love affair - voyeur I am - permission to witness an otherworldly connection between two creatures. 

I guess what I’m saying is, the pedal steel guitar was alive...

((morning light // gentle evening // beehive))

Alcorn played her pedal steel arrangement of Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla’s “Adios Nonino”.   Piazzolla wrote this song immediately upon learning his father, Vicente “Nonino” had died in a bicycle accident.  Astor Piazzolla was on tour in Central America when he learned the news of his father’s death.  As Alcorn explained, Piazzolla went into a room, in silence, and began to compose.   A thought, not fully formed, on art as the only coping mechanism for unfathomable sadness. 

Dad asked us to leave him alone for a few hours. We went into the kitchen. First there was absolute silence. After a while, we heard dad playing the bandoneon. It was a very sad, terribly sad melody. Adiós Nonino was composing.

— Daniel Piazzolla, his son. Astor, Diana Piazzolla, 1986