Maximum Impedance & Chris Corsano: Improvisations

Maximum Impedance (Trevor Pinch and Annie Lewandowski, electronics)
Chris Corsano (percussion)
Barnes Hall, Cornell University
September 25, 2012
8:00 pm

I. Behind the test is a promise, a fissure to be licked clean by the stage. We are seated, chambered, only steps below yet an underworld apart. Tricks and trundling trees fall flat on their faces, hoping the alliterations might leave them be. But the winds are here, arms outspoken and trembling, and with them the interactive sun blazing in its faraway cage. For space there is only the milk of a lonesome thistle whose dreams have all but popped from every faltering intimacy. We do not hear the sounds of such demise, only see them floating above our heads, a rafter’s song turned idle by philosophies of the knob and dial. In this analog bath, we are the soap. The posture of a Zeitgeist: hunched over an internal soundboard, tangled in something like hair. If lava lamps have hearts, they may not sing, but at least in the photographic realities of this performance we know they can dream. The earthworm squirms—at once siren, telegram—and jacks its communications into a root’s live wire.

II. Scooped as if by Ursa Major’s saddle and poured into the mouth of a river is the moon, who shines like death watching its own reflection. The posture recedes, even as a cottage takes its place. Vine-gnarled and knowing, it spews fairytales from its open door, weeps costumes from its windows, excretes happy endings into the basement. Choirs melt behind a scrim of frosted glass, where only light can know the words beyond.

III. Craned necks and circumstance: double agents of the gamelan mind. A wing’s brea(d)th away from certainty, the mallets are antennae. The choice to brush or strike is one and the same, he seems to say, breathing into the snare’s foghorn blood-flow. Refrain of bees without honey. Clicking the triangle breeds flies instead, each the life of a talking head drowned many times over. The cymbal wears a hat. Its name is “eggshell.”

IV. A shake within a shimmy, a rock within a wince. Traffic moves at the rate of pedestrian thought, sliced and served on copper plates. Looking only where they are, his hands do the work of ten eyes. The mouth, an elephant’s trunk twinned, is alive with lyrical auroras. Preparation equals immediate action.

V. Four-dimensional train, arriving as it departs. Lines to feed the brain with stop-light red.

VI. The hit snaps veins like wings. The feet of resistance now fallen on their arches, keystones electrified beyond recognition (only Achilles can tell). A mammoth’s tusk hollowed and blown. A flick of the wrist, and the cricket sings.

The seizure is now.

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