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Peter Blegvad and Andy Partridge - Orpheus - The Lowdown CD
Two creative heavyweights at the peak of their powers, Peter Blegvad (Slapp Happy) and Andy Partridge (XTC) uniquely take on and develop the myth of Orpheus.
Described as a bit part play for the fable-minded, the cd (filled to the brim with Partridge's engaging musical experiments and Blegvad's captivating poetry) is beautifully packaged in an A5 digi pack and illustrated with images that Peter and Andy created with paper and stationery.
The story of Orpheus has particular appeal to musicians. Perhaps because it's a story, rare in our visual culture, in which hearing wins and seeing loses. Orpheus is an ear undone by the eye.
The evocative power of sound is all about not seeing. Turning the eyes inward. Close your eyes, listen, and the mind's eye opens. Imagination. Hence the old saw about the pictures being better on radio than on TV.
Both Peter Blegvad and Andy Partridge have a love of illustration and animation. Making these sound-pieces was an opportunity to make an animated film without pictures. Anemic cinema. A shadow-show for the mind's eye.
Sound is used to evoke vision. Language, music and noise - the three fields of acoustic phenomena. ORPHEUS, THE LOWDOWN uses them all to throw hypnagogic projecttions onto an inner screen.
The pieces were recorded in short sessions over twelve years. An accumulation of fragments. These fragments, bit-parts, seem the appropriate form for Orpheus. He was torn to pieces, alfter all. His head was carried out to sea still singing. The pieces which comprise this work are meant to suggest a body of narrative in bits, after an explosion, after a sparagmos.
Sparagmos - The tearing apart of a hero, or his ritualized death in an analogous manner as represented in some tragedies or myths when it symbolizes part of the cycle of death and rebirth.
Creativity is sometimes described as the ability to combine pre-existing elements in new configurations. Andy Partridge and Peter Blegvad have taken elements from poetry, song, soap-opera, myth horspiel, dub, folley, art, table-tapping, The Firesign Theater, Gluck, Captain Beefheart, Jean Cocteau, etc. and combined them to create a mutant or hybrid which seems designed to make classification impossible.
Partridge and Blegvad first worked together in 1983 and have often collaborated since. Setting spoken word to music (or vice versa) has long figured in their projects together. ORPHEUS, THE LOWDOWN continues the exploration of the twilight zone between poetry and song which the duo began with 'First Blow Struck' twenty years ago.
2. Brown-Out On Olympus
3. The Blimp Poet
4. Night Of The Comet
5. Necessary Shadows (George Steiner)
9. Noun Verbs
10. Eurydice (after Rilke)
11. Divine Blood
12. Steel Bed
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