Better Hope

Tracie Morris - "My Great Grand Aunt Meets a Bush Supporter." Morris takes a simple base phrase—"You better hope Jesus save you"—through eighteen permutations in 120 seconds. Quiet and husky even at the melodious start, the words slowly descend toward the larynx, the stretched short "e" in "better" at 53 seconds preparing the way for the incredible passage of percussive vocal fry at the close. The syllabic chemistry is most excited at the word boundary between "save" and "you": out of minute shifts in articulation, Morris is able to catalyze a string of lexical and phrasal combinations that includes saint, jew, ain't you, say you, Saint Jude (patron of lost causes), save your soul, sell your soul, hates souls, and so on. While not quite as intense as her masterful warping of Irving Berlin's Cheek to Cheek, captured on videotape in poet Jayne Cortez's documentary of the 1999 Yari Yari conference in New York City, this intimate studio booth recording does let us listen to the microtones of theo-political utterance in an unprecedented way.

Full program featuring Tracie Morris (22 May 2005) on Close Listening. Morris interview on Here Comes Everybody.

[Originally posted 11 March 2006] XML feed here. • Elsewhere on Third Factory: index, ensemble, nb, links.

Friday -- 05 January 2007 -- 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.