Summa: diary (November 1-4, 2023)

‘One ever hangs where shelled roads part’ (Wilfred Owen, At Calvary Near the Acre (1916).)

November 1 (All Saints’ Day). 8.30 am: Studyology. Today, I anticipated, would follow the same trajectory as yesterday. That’s to say, a productive division of time and energy between writing and design. The wind is up; rain showers grow in intensity: storm Ciaran approaches. All Saints’ Day is a festival that commemorates all Christians, past and present, and not just those who’re celebrated in icons and stained glass. In my church tradition, it’s an occasion (together with All Souls’ Day, tomorrow) to remember those who’ve passed beyond this world. I recall those in my life who were modest in their achievements, means, and manner, but whose patient endurance in suffering, hopefulness when all others had resigned to despair, and unwavering optimism in the face of insuperable odds, made them giants and an enduring example to me.

7.30 pm: An evening on the bench. I want to extend in the direction that the Medial Music Practice: 7 evocations EP was pointing. To begin, I rethought Pedalboard I and removed those effectors which overlapped with one another: fuzz, distortion, and gain. This made space for the addition of more off-the-wall devices, such as a ring modulator and bitcrusher. The aims of this reconstruction are: economy, efficiency, diversity, and flexibility. I feel a pedal purchase coming on.

November 2 (All Souls’ Day). The gentler edge of Storm Ciaran swept over the town towards 10.00 am. Nevertheless, its was sufficiently strong to drive rain hard and disorder tree foliage and branches. I continued to try and make sense of the compositions on the Spirit Communication album. No artwork is entirely scrutable. It can be opened-up, dissected, described, and categorised, but there’s an essence that’s resistant to bald and reductive propositions about its purpose, meaning, and significance. And that, in part, is art’s glory.

It’s an appropriate day for the release of the Beatles’ final single (we’ll see), ‘Now and Then’. And never was there a more apposite song title, given its evolution. The AI-assisted sound technology has rescued (resurrected, in a sense) John Lennon’s voice from a poor quality cassette-tape demo he’d made in 1978, and enabled the two surviving members of the group to play alongside him 45 years later. Quite remarkable. Present and past coalesce; the living and the dead making music together once again. At times, the increasingly techno-normal can feel surprisingly paranormal. I posted to a X (ex-Twitter) correspondent that the song was:

a bit of a retro fit; it sounded as though it could’ve come from the Yellow Submarine and Sgt. Pepper period. Lennon would not have envisaged that arrangement in 1978.

November 3 (Friday). 7.30 am: Studyology. Back to writing, before making a trip to Llanbadarn, via the church, to visit a former student of mine. 1.15 pm: A mop-mow in town. 2.00 pm: I returned to the word mill and the drawing board. The website construction has passed the halfway mark.

November 4 (Saturday). In the background: Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem (1962). We need music in order to convey what words cannot. As the seventh project in The Aural Bible octalogy comes to an end, I begin to look further head. It’s a process that involves, first, looking around (to see what else is going on), then, looking behind (to see where I’ve come from) and, then, looking within (to acknowledge what I desire). In my experience, the past and the present anticipate the future in certain salient respects. Which isn’t to say that what is, has been, and is to come constitute a predetermined and unbreakable continuity. Circumstances, opportunities, and inner necessity may force our hand. Sudden and radical change may present itself as the only reasonable course of action. And sometimes we must simply stop what we’re doing, and begin again somewhere else.

I lifted-up the bonnet/hood of Pedalboard I to explore and redraw the signal path, and introduce several new effectors.

See also: Intersections (archive);  Diary (September 15, 2018 – June 30, 2021)Diary (July 16, 2014 – September 4, 2018); John Harvey (main site); Instagram.

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