Sunday, 8 October 2017

Single: Kevin Nolan - We are not the voices, they are but shadows now

Kevin Nolan - We are not the voices, they are but shadows now
Artwork by Susanne Wawra


Info: Dublin solo artist and poet Kevin Nolan released his first new track in quite some time just under two weeks ago. 'We are not the voices, they are but shadows now' spreads its eerie wings over almost 12 minutes, interlaced with sporadic pieces of piano playing and a cavernous wailing from some alien life-form, all to the backdrop of an old dot matrix printer shuffling through its tedium. It's a far cry from what he shared on his debut LP Fredrick & The Golden Dawn, a haunting yet almost therapeutic journey through the dark hallways of his sounds. Nolan explains the background in good detail below.

The piece is called "We are not the voices, they are but shadows now" written for printer, saw (there are six saw parts), natural piano and prepared piano, dead leaves, field music, chair, the original 1704 technique for thunder sound, piano foot pedals, concrete music. There are more but these are the predominant ones.  

The title "we are not the voices, they are but shadows now" was from two books. "We are not the voices" came when I walked into my library and as i flicked through the pages of Edgar Allan Poe's complete works I found the line, "We're not the voices", I like the line as I am a long time lover of Poe's work. 

The second part of my title came much the same way I then picked up another favourite of mine and I again I flicked through the pages of a book by Nikos Kazantzakis Christ Recrucified. There I found the line "they are but shadows now"

So inspired by both authors I put the two lines together with a small amendment to Poe's line and so titled my work "We are not the voices, they are but shadows now". 

Kevin Nolan - We are not the voices, they are but shadows now

The piece was actually recorded and finished in 2007 but just hasn't seen the light of day till today. At the time it was for me a kind of break from working on my debut album Fredric & The Golden Dawn. I took a small break from Fredrick & The Golden Dawn every now and them and found myself composing a series of what you might call contemporary compositions. 

The printer which is constantly printing as the song progresses is not just an effect, it is actually printing out a novel I had written, page by page. 

This particular piece was exhibited in the Bauhaus University Weimar as part of a sound exhibition in 2015 it was played in the streets of Wiemar on repeat for a period of a week. And also has been played a number of times on Scottish experimental radio, but I never released it formally till now. 

Personally when I listen to it I find it a very sad piece the printer printing so boldly at the start but as the story unfolds it go on until with the last of its strength each page of my novel slowly comes to a crawl to the finish line, this is a journey song as it goes outdoors employing field music at one point. In a way it is a success story in that the printer makes it to the finished line page by page but bitter sweetly also as when it reaches the finish of the piece it disappears and proceeds to no longer exist. The sparing dramatic piano stabs and piano pedal stomps, marking the final checkpoints of its completion and thus its extinction. 

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