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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #315
L'ispirazione
David Gunn

11 p.m.: The moon rises black and foreboding over the forest. Although the day was warm and the summer solstice will arrive in less than a fortnight, the night air is cold and tinged with trepidation. The wind rises, kicks up little plumes of wooded debris, propels them up into the air. Against the stygian shadow of the moon, they vanish into the darkness like a dead scream. I am lying on a carpet of pine needles. Though normally soft, the pull of the lunar tides causes them to twist upwards towards the sky, impaling me like a field of carpet tacks. I last lay on this forest floor when I was seeking a naturopathic road to compositional inspiration. That time it worked. Benign woodland sounds and meadow fragrances eased me into a serene, meditative state that fostered rich musical ideas. But this time I am unable to block out the abstract angst that pervades me, and compositional enlightenment remains elusive. (The angst is a self-fulfilling prophesy prognosticated by a no-joke fortune cookie; hence, I would caution the hearty mooshu trencherman to hold his scoffs in check while regarding his next cookie maxim.) The moon looms overhead, sulky and threatening, not at all representative of the buoyant moon-in-June songs of the 1940s. Matching the doleful lunar mood, the air temperature plummets, settling over me like a tomb. Dense clouds of condensation from my ragged exhalations swirl in front of me, effecting a shifting and thoroughly maddening Rorschach dance. In place of the gentle forest sounds are endlessly annoying beta waves, as if I'm doing penance in a small oven with a bag of microwavable popcorn. Normally diurnal forest creatures appear to have been roused by the bleak, black moon. They emerge from tiny catacombs in the ground to scurry around and over me, their fangs flapping in syncopated concert with a dozen spindly legs.

The moon abruptly yaws to the northernmost side of the horizon and I feel a corresponding pull from the lunar tides. It's a sickening feeling, as if all of my gibbous- shaped internal organs have swiveled 15 degrees. The scores of pine needles in my back also twist, like scented, sadistic acupuncture. A low moan issues from the earth directly beneath me, and I roll to one side just as a fissure opens up where I had lain, swallowing any pine needles that weren't already lodged in my back. Dark vapors, even more cimmerian than the moon, gush from the crack in the ground. They reek of rank rot, and I retch. As the miasma collides with the night air, a gaseous argument on the subatomic level produces a horrendous growl, which is even more unsettling than the beta waves. I roll a bit farther from the edge of the abyss and come face to carapace with one of the aforementioned forest creatures, which is fixing me with a balefully lunatic stare -- or stares, really, since the beast is graced with thousands of actively sentient ommatidia. One segment winks at me, then another, then another, more and more until a chain reaction of disconcerting blepharospasms results. Fighting the urge to blink back, I turn away, and gape back into the maw of the rent earth. Perhaps my strange surroundings are inducing abnormally high readings on my delusionometer, but I see, or I think I see, the source of the terrible forest moaning. It is coming from hundreds of taupe-robed grotesqueries that are disgorging from the fissure. As they pass overhead, I detect a kind of linear logic to the moaning. Each "figure," for lack of a better word, appears to convey a different moan. In those ephemeral moments when I can separate them from the myriad distractions around me, I note that there is a very fine line between these acoustic events and the musical ideas I had sought here. It is my inspiration after all!

Equally inspiring, and, happily, with none of the impaling pine needles and only a hint of the miasma, is Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, and here with his own fortune cookie analysis of today's 315th episode is Kalvos.