Architect’s Office ‘Caswallon The Headhunter’

01 Prelude (11:31)
02 Prewar (7:59)
03 War (5:08)
04 Exhausted – chorus of Pregnant Women (8:03)
05 Parly/Party (4:37)
06 Epilogue (3:01)
07 Postlude (7:26)

Cast:
Denise Judson: voice, breathing
Lloyd DeMause: voice (interview)
Robert McFarland: voice
Paul Lundhal: ocean tape
Jane and Rarc Brakhage: brook recording
S.G. Hägglund: percussion
Stan Brakhage: conversation recording, 1949
Rick Corrigan: synth
Claude Martz: bass clarinet
Joel Haertling: tape, French horn, electronics

Total time 49:40
LP released by Silent Records, USA, 1986

CASWALLON’S COUSIN, BENDIGEID VRAN, THE GIANT WHO SOON WOULD LIE DYING FROM A POISON DART IN THE FOOT AFTER HAVING CONQUERED AND KILLED EVERYONE IN EIRE EXCEPT FIVE PREGNANT WOMEN IN A CAVE, WAS TO SAY TO HIS MEN: “TAKE MY HEAD AND CARRY IT WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO AND FOR EIGHTY-SEVEN YEARS MY HEAD WILL BE UNCORRUPTED. AND ALL THAT TIME THE HEAD WILL BE AS PLEASANT A COMPANION AS WHEN IT WAS ON MY BODY. AND WHEN THE EIGHTY-SEVEN YEARS ARE OVER, BURY IT AT THE WHITE MOUNT IN LONDON, FACING GAUL AND FOR AS LONG AS IT IS BURIED THERE, THERE WILL BE NO INVASION IN ALL OF THE ISLAND OF THE MIGHTY.” [from Jane Brakhage’s booklet]

When King Arthur eventually dig up the head 400 years later, the Island of Britain was soon after ravaged by Viking and Saxon invasions. The story of Caswallon is inspired by 13th c. Welsh manuscripts where he is known as Caswallawn, a chieftain who led the defense against Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britain in 54 BC. In her play, Jane Brakhage describes the battle episodes, the 5 pregnant women in a cave, and of course Flower, or Fflur in Welsh, the beautiful woman with whom both Caswallawn and Caesar were in love. For this historical setting narrated by various voices (principally by Denise Judson), Architect’s Office conceived an ambitious soundtrack of musique concrète sounds, synthesizer and real instruments. The music would stand in itself as great electroacoustic music, yet it never interferes or distract from the narration. The extraordinary Postlude is a beautiful group improvisation by Claude Martz on bass clarinet with electronics provided by Corrigan and Haertling.

Joel HaertlingJoel Haertling was trained as a classical musician (French horn) in Boulder, CO, during the mid-1970s. He began making experimental super 8 and 16 mm films while in high school. He founded the experimental music group Architect’s Office in 1983, the name possibly inspired by his own father’s trade as an architect, to which he later dedicated a website. Haertling published Zamizdat Trade Journal from 1984 to ’94, a zine dedicated to underground music, self-releases of post-industrial and electronic music. He played the Faust part in Stan Brakhage‘s Faust series of films, 1987-89, and contributed music to 5 more, including Kindering, Loud Visual Noises, I… dreaming, and Fireloop. The latter was Brakhage’s contribution to the multimedia show ‘Caswallon The Headhunter’, written by Jane Brakhage in 1986 for the collective of Boulder artists The Sunday Associates, of which both Haertling and the Brakhages were members. The project included dancers, singers, lighting, slide projections, costumes, films and music. Brakhage: “When I moved to Boulder, Joel introduced me to some very gifted young people and we formed a group, The Sunday Associates and started an Arts Series with shows every Sunday at the Boulder Art Theater. They were my chief collaborators on Faust […] I greatly admired Joel’s collage abilities – he did an amazing track for my hand-painted film, Fireloop, in which I use fire as a metaphor for the light and sound process that accompanies moving visual thinking.” [Interview with Suranjan Ganguly, from: In Focus, Experimental Cinema, The Film reader, by W. W. Dixon and G. A. Foster, ed., Routledge, 2002].

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2 Responses to “Architect’s Office ‘Caswallon The Headhunter’”


  1. 1 Dave November 28, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Please repost. thanks!

  2. 2 continuo November 28, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    D/l link works fine, thanks. Here’s the MU.


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