I Judge Judge

Gertrude Stein - "If I Told Him: A Completed Portait of Picasso" (3'24"). Beginning in 1910 with "Ada," her lovingly-drawn narrative of Alice B. Toklas's early life, Stein practiced linguistic "portraiture" at virtually every stage of her long and hyperproductive career. The second of her Picasso portraits dates to 1923 (though the recording was made a decade later), a period when by her own account Stein had grown intoxicated with the sonic properties of her lexical and phrasal combinations: "I found that I created a melody of words that filled me with a melody that gradually made me do portraits easily by feeling the melody of any one. And this then began to bother me because perhaps I was getting drunk with melody and I do not like to be drunk I like to be sober and so I began again" ("Portraits and Repetition"). Her vocal performance on this scratchy track, which hinges on the faultless production of minute phonetic differences, numerous and complex tempo changes, and outré rhythmic signatures only Thelonious Monk (said to have taken up piano at the age of six in 1923) could touch, bespeaks a blood-alchohol level in the negative numbers even if the damped semantics leave the auditor reeling a little (think how Pablo must have felt).

Online text established by Stein scholar Ulla Dydo. More Stein on PennSound. Stein author page at EPC. More at MAPS. Some Stein resources curated by Michael Powers. • Lipstick xml feed. Tracklist to date.

Monday -- 05 June 2006 -- permalink

The Lipstick of Noise is a product of the Third Factory • Inspired by the music blogs • And by Paul Blackburn's reel-to-reel deck. Intending to make good use of PENNSound and other sources of digital audio files of poetry • Comments welcomeXML.