Transcribing noise — Peter Kalulé


(I). Compression

beyond the drum-insides of this body, beyond that spiralling-spirit-force-of-shape, there is somewhere in the out of memory, the noise of a cumulative pang of heaviness. i am trying to transcribe the noise, but the changes are hard to (b)ear…

listening presents itself as an everyday maintenance, twigwork
an aural auditing of down-up in rhythm heave
but listening from monophonic core is grating
it requires blue pressings of more-ear

there is a serious de-fetishized playability about listening. one does not casually- “pop”- listen to the noise. it demands a farsightedness in the present that can only be played by more-ear.

this is not to exclude/mute. it is to ask of you/me/us to woodshed. it is to ask of us to pre-tune to the beyond. it is to ask of us to adjust our vibrational space/pitch/time  –what Anthony Braxton in ‘Tri-Axium writings’ calls ‘affinity alignment’–  as necessary.

somewhere, in the range of all this listening, this pre-tuning, i hear Jacqueline Jones Royster’s voice probing, asking: 

“ … How do we listen? We need to talk, yes, and to talk back, yes; but when do we listen?”[1]

there is no finality/totality/universality/pinnacle to this listening & its pre-tuning;

it is ‘rhizomatic’;

elliptical …

(II). Amplitude

the noise
interpolates transmutating
bendings of tone in brass pail        channelled over
under firmament of reciprocated      maintenance
circular rites of breath, position syncopations of light-lift and fall
in multiph(r)asic adungu     trembling     micaceous
here and there, on-goings cross over wide & detouch —
nomadic, like twig of tree autonomously      recalibrating solidarities.

on listening to Duke Ellington’s Warm Valley, David Schiff doesn’t hear the geographical /anatomical.

for Schiff,
Warm Valley is a broad    living contour,     stretching
intersecting, eroding    (con amore/con alma?)
it does not observe/listen externally

it shoulders within.

—“it turns listeners into lovers.” [2]

the listenable is singable, is breathable, is danceable, is   is­­­­­ : meditation, elaboration
consummation, affirmation,  interrupt ion… h e s i t a t i o…

(III). Rarefaction

April 20 1971. a rally. the Central Hall in westminster. england, yes, small E.
James Baldwin is jamming — delivering a talk. at the dying of his talk, a black woman interrupts. she’s protesting about the noise, about the (dis)placement of black (“british”¡) children in substandard schools.

crosstalk. the noise)

then, Baldwin, he of big listening eye & blue strophe, speaks:

Let me say one thing, that woman’s voice , that woman’s voice; is what you have to hear. We are responsible to that & if the people who rule us don’t hear that voice,  then something terrible   (the noise?)   will happen.”[3]

to speak is to listen. to speak greedily, is to silence listening ––is to subdue. to busy-tongue, is to numb the cumulative pang of heaviness

this       score    scratching   creeping         opens     out             possibilities for

(re) modulating   $yncretic   extensions …

the  noise  removed

asks YOU to


[1] Royster, Jacqueline Jones. “When the first voice you hear is not your own.” College Composition and Communication 47, no. 1 (1996): 29-40.

[2] Schiff, David. The Ellington Century. (Univ of California Press, 2012): 157

[3] Baldwin, James. The cross of redemption: Uncollected writings. (Vintage, 2010): 125

Peter Kalulé spends most of his time seeking sounds. He tweets at @Peeterol

Image: Spectral Music Scores, GanMed64, Creative Commons