Sid the Barber
Instrumentation: baritone, trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet
Written for loadbang
Premiered on February 14, 2017, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA
Meaning of conversation is sometimes lost through the medium in which it is being transferred, often due to the habits of etiquette that bleed from one method of communication to another. Meaning can also change based on new information – what composer Herbert Brün called “retroactive correction.” I find it fascinating when the context of conversation shifts, suddenly or gradually, to reveal undercurrents or subtexts that seemed nonexistent before. At times, the new contexts may be benign; at other times, they may reveal something more sinister or threatening under the surface, which may lead one to question the purposes or motives of the conversation, veiled in colloquialisms or turns of the phrase. Navigating through such “languaging” games, with the potential musical connotations of gesture, color, and texture that accompany them, can be treacherous, fun, complex, frustrating, or frightening, depending on what’s at stake.
Our practitioner of language, Sid the Barber, provides instances of such paradigm shifts in meaning. Here he builds his worlds, based on a folk mythology not too distant from our own, and pushes the moving parts to fit around, feed into, and reinforce an invective of his own design that is reflected musically as a sort of hectic fever dream.