February 13, 2014, is the official release date for my 33 1/3 book on Aphex Twin's 1994 album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

The Sonic Haiku (MP3s)

The classic 5-7-5 structure courtesy of Darius Greene

Darius Greene of Austin, Texas, has participated in the ongoing “sound haiku” project, in which the structure of a work follows that of the traditional Japanese poem, the syllables transformed into minutes, five then seven then five again, and the whole thing accompanied by a proper haiku. Thomas Park’s entry was mentioned here several months back. In Greene’s case, the associated haiku reads:

glass terrariums

bird men in feathered robes

collecting dreamers

Greene’s music is quite beautiful. In the bookending segments, tones and percussive elements are set to contrast in a constant state of play, light pluckings and twittery beats against textures both rough and soft. As might be expected, the more significant contrasts occur during the transitions, as the gentle opening piece gives way to a mix of layered, haunting vocal elements, and then again as that midsection is supplanted by something at times fluttery and anxious, but also soulful, with snatches of guitar and fragments of soft chords.

The overall idea of the sound haiku idea is an interesting one. I’m not entirely sure that minutes are the most promising means by which to transform the structure. True, a mere 17-second piece, in which the syllables are considered as seconds rather than minutes, passes too quickly. But then again, isn’t a haiku something one might read several times in succession? Perhaps a phrase-based approach is to be considered?

Tracks originally posted for free download at soundcloud.com/dariusgreene. More from Green at dariusgreene.com. More of the haiku projects at the excellent subterraneantide.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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