Sheila Davies: Notes on NEW AMERICAN RADIO

Stained by Lisa Jones and Alva Rogers

Sometimes the whole of a drama takes on a melody. Its prose becomes poetry, lengthened across arcs of cantilated silence and breath. This is certainly true of Stained (Lisa Jones and Alva Rogers). A fearlessly slow tongue arouses, torrefies, and decomposes this fable of spare conjuration, leaching out the Blues which then rise off the story like a constellation.

Salvation at 1 am by Donald Swearingen

Cunningly layered into rhythmic bursts of specific profit-motive phrases, Salvation at 1 am (Donald Sweringen) is a deployment of sound which exactly parallels the deceit of advertising. Proliferation-of-desire motifs are revealed here, in all their capitalistic barbarity, whether through the stomach of Jesus, the halo of Satan, or the Money of money.

Partial Perceptions by Helen Thorington

Partial Perceptions, like the aurally floating Terra Dell'Imaginazione (both by Helen Thorington), is negentropic, and concerns the mystical as it exists within the physical -- identifying their common substrate. In this case, the several realities are coalesced infrapsychically into a moment at sea. Sound is uttered, mimicked, improvised upon, and thus self-educated, it organizes into qualities (organic and inorganic) and emotions (laughter, fury, loneliness, religious curiousity). In one sense, this is a kind of jazz. Wherever the jazz touches down, the sea becomes animated and melodically free. From the ooze, wherein the water has learned to sing, the ootid bubbles up and the femme inspiratrice gains her legs, leaving the habitat of water for the habitat of earth.

Sim's Serenade and Pruning by William Morelock

Feats of legerdemain mark the productions of Sim's Serenade and Pruning (William Morelock). Not only rabbits, but philosophical rumination, swift calibration, elliptical irony, deranged and crooning voices, variation, and glissandi, are scattered from the clever magician's hat, and re-collected by the abrupt segue.

Terry Allen's Stories

Return to Juarez, DugOut, and Bleeder (Terry Allen) are little aggregate heaps of bone, rouge, ash, and gunpowder pressed into vast emotion-horizons. These curvilinear dramas, irrupting with blood, lust, and larceny are nevertheless a conjunction of rapture and possession. If the story is in the teller, then the voice of Jo Harvey Allen is a commitment, a lifelong tryst; while the voice of Terry Allen carries all the regret of a man who lost sight of the Second Coming but is still hearing it come to pass and can't turn down its volume.

Guns by Don Joyce and Negativland

Despite its mosaic properties, Guns (Don Joyce and Negativland) is a singular and sacrificial experience. Fired propulsively through the instinct of fear; the passion of murderer, hunter, and showman; and, inevitably, through the barrel of a gun, the bullet, from inside-out, becomes public. Offered to society as psycho-acoustic event, it finds its aral middle at disequilibrium -- equal parts of sonar and societal turbulence.

Shake, Rattle and Roll by Gregory Whitehead

Shake Rattle and Roll (Gregory Whitehead) is a convening of seven philosophers -- brilliant, irregular, shaded, oblique, fervid, melodious, and awkward -- who lament upon the problem of the body; rhapsodize upon that frontier which corpus and logos visibly occupy together; and theorize upon the presence of vibration during a virtual absence of sensation. The "actor" appears during the frequent, if unstable, consolidation of the seven philosophers into the one peerless lover; thus, that which has previously served as the ground snaps into the essential nature of the figure.