Thursday, 7 January 2010

Transcription: The Day of The Dead by Graham Collier

So I've listened to the Graham Collier cd 'The Day of the Dead' which is a collection of Jazz tunes that use Under the Volcano as its inspiration. I'm no Jazz aficionado but I do like to dabble with Miles Davis from time to time. So my enjoyment of tends tends to lean towards the rougher more freeform Jazz. I won't judge this is a piece of Jazz music but I will judge it as a companion to Under The Volcano and personally I do not feel it is successful in capturing the books essence. It's a mildly interesting take on the book but one thing I would say is that I do not think UTV is a jazz novel, sure Lowry makes reference to Jazz music in the novel and the text is expressionistic and mishmashed in a way that Jazz music can be but Lowry wasn't in the company of the 40's American Jazz scene when he wrote the book, he was cooped up in a cold dank Squatters shack in Vancouver and that to me comes across in the the novel.

Another criticism I have is that the voice-over does not work. Perhaps I'm spoilt by Richard Burton's fantastic readings in the documentary, Volcano: An inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry but John Carberry is far too pleasant and sterile as the voice of Lowry or The Consul. Instead because of this the readings seem tacked on rather than integral to the creation of the music, and the ability of the music and narration to create images in my head is severely hampered by this fact.

There is a passage that it uses I love though, because I don't have the energy to trawl through the book right now I'll just write it as I hear it.

My Secrets are of the grave and must be kept, and this is how I sometimes think of myself, as a great explorer who has discovered some extraordinary land from which he can never return to give his knowledge to the world. But the name of this land is Hell. It is not Mexico of course but in the heart...

This is followed by another great passage:

I think I know a good deal about physical suffering but this is worse of all. To feel your soul dying. I wonder if it is because tonight my soul has really died that I feel at the moment something like peace.

I think that these two passage could be the basis from which I work from. Another interesting thing that it does is that on part 4 it collages bits of the text together, smashing them together with intensity at times and others times it is much more subtle. I do believe this technique was actually recommeded to me a while back so it could be something I explore a bit later.


tutorphil said...

Evening Tom (from the airport - sigh),

Just dropping you a line incase you felt neglected of late! Lots of interesting developments here - from bestiality to Taxi Driver as frathouse comedy, plus some cute looking renders for the group project: and you continue to wrestle with the transcription project too - all good. I look forward to seeing you in person next week - weather permitting! Wish me luck! :-)