Who says the COVID pandemic has been an unmitigated disaster for the arts? Well, OK, just about everyone. But for some, it has been a stimulus like no other. Berlin-based composer/bassist Martin Gordon’s last stage appearance was in December 2019 in The Gambia, where he conducted and performed with Germany’s leading contemporary music collective the Ensemble Modern.
And then COVID struck. All follow-up projects were cancelled. Compounding the impact of global lockdown was the nightly spectacle presented by the highly erratic then-President Trump. The lack of any creative outlet, amplified by the antics of the clearly-unhinged TV personality playing the role of politician, drove Gordon to the brink of breakdown.
One day, fighting off waves of misanthropy and nausea, he recalled the avant-garde French dramatist Antonin Artaud. Placing more emphasis on improvisation than on a script, Artaud declared that ‘there can be no spectacle without an element of cruelty as the basis’. This sounded oddly familiar. ‘Jagged and cacophonous, the stage was populated by lunatics, buckets of blood were spilled into the gutters’ noted a reviewer, not of a Trump press conference but of an Artaud-influenced theatre production. Now where have I heard that before? Gordon pondered…
You Were Marvellously Cruel, Darling!
The secret was out. Trump was no more (and no less) than a performance artist. Gordon realised that the entire Trump platform could be seen a thespian production.
In November 2020, the world was treated to the now-infamous Trump telephone discussion in which he encouraged an American politician to ‘find’ 11,000 votes for him, which would enable him to retain the Presidency. Gordon decided to set the Mafia-like transcript to music and composed the oratorio which it clearly deserved.
Another Words: It’s All About the Headlines
Basing ‘Another Words’ directly on the unedited telephone conversation, Gordon composed and recorded 31 odd-metered vignettes, none over 1 minute in length. The song cycle enlists Trump’s ‘inarticulate cries and gibbering screams’ as the central and unaltered text.
‘Another Words’ tells the moving story of Brad, Cleta, Ryan and Mr Brainard, along with the unavoidably-central figure of Dumpy, a vulgar, small-fingered, septuagenarian estate agent and former TV star. Orchestrated for voice, cello, violin, viola, flute, piano, tuned percussion, bass guitar and electronics, the entire work will take up at least 22 minutes of your life.
A Tremendously Moving Dump
1: People Who Have Been Forged
2: Eleven thousand
3: Very Very Very Sad
4: The Black Robe, The Black Shield
5: Magnified Many times Over
6: I Saw You on Television
8: Go Through the Machines
9: Cut Them in Half Again
10: The Challenge That You Have
11: There Was Dead People
12: The Actual Number Were Two
13: Slow Motion Magnified
14: She Stuffed the Ballot Boxes
15: There Was No Water Main Break
16: These People Left Their Station
17: I Have a Much Better Link
18: There’s No Way
19: What Was That Number, Cleta?
20: They Moved Out
21: But Have they Moved The Inner Parts of the Machines?
23: More Ballots (CD only)
24: I Don’t Even Know Why You Have a Side
25: That’s So Illegal
26: OK Cleta Wait
27: Criminal Events
28: People That Want to Find Answers
29: You Don’t Care About Anything
30: All We Know is What You Tell Us
31: Thank You Everyone
‘Another Words’ is available via Spotify and all download platforms. However, we recommend the CD package which includes full sleeve notes, a separate lyric sheet and an extra track which is not available digitally.
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