Ingram Marshall – The Fragility Cycles
The Fragility Cycles was first performed in 1976 at SITE in San Francisco, where Ingram Marshall lived and worked between 1973 and 1985 (before packing up to teach at Evergreen State College in Washington State until 1989). It was composed for the solitary performer, on gambuh (a Balinese bamboo flute), voice, iron clanger, synthesizer, and pre-recorded tapes. A four-channel tape delay system is used to mix these elements together into a organic sound environment, guided partly by score and partly by intuited improvisation. This particular recording is a mix of two performances of the piece given a day apart at Charlemagne Palestine’s loft in 1977.
Exploring the muted darkness of Scandinavian environs, the opening piece, “Rop På Fjellet: Cries Upon the Mountain”, was inspired by Ingram’s perambulations through Sweden and Norway in 1975, and employs a crying vocal technique over a soft undulating of cowbells and then a collage of sounds re-imaging that cold, ancient, mountainous place. “Sibelius in his Radio Corner” is an homage to the Finnish composer’s Sixth Symphony, a repetitive pattern-based piece for electronics. “IKON: Ayiasma” is a “verbal music, or ‘text sound’ work, a translation of the Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf’s poem “Ayiasma” where the voice and language of the poet and the electronically processed English rendering coalesce in a graceful mumbling like a surreal radio-play. All the while the gambuh acts as a guide through theses stories, linking each movement with its languid call.
Sealed sourced stock from 1979, IBU Records.