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Walking

From: Joan Schuman
Series: Travels In Stasis
Length: 03:27

An impressionist sound montage follows one man's trek that reflects both his physical journey and his state of mind.
Playing
Walking
From
Joan Schuman

Illustrjoan_small A raw, narrative experiment follows the true story of one man's migration from a little town in Mexico to the mean streets of the urban US Southwest. A fictionalized recreation of a man speaking confusedly in two languages about his travels reveals a bigger picture of movement and stasis when the trek is both psychological and geographic. Air alone or as full series, "Travels in Stasis." Suggested airplay order: 1. Nomad 2. Ghost 3. Exile 4. Memory 5. Walking

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Piece Description

A raw, narrative experiment follows the true story of one man's migration from a little town in Mexico to the mean streets of the urban US Southwest. A fictionalized recreation of a man speaking confusedly in two languages about his travels reveals a bigger picture of movement and stasis when the trek is both psychological and geographic. Air alone or as full series, "Travels in Stasis." Suggested airplay order: 1. Nomad 2. Ghost 3. Exile 4. Memory 5. Walking

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Review of Walking

Sound art and radio make complicated bedfellows. I suppose if radio is an art form, it is always the art of contexts ? the first being that it only goes by only once. (That and a deep, abiding insecurity and never-ending lack of faith in the listener from many gatekeepers.)

Well, I cheated ? I listened to this one three times. In these five elegant pieces I found some lovely sound and much impressive poetry ? sometimes they worked together beautifully:

*I am deafened by the train?s tympany.*

As much as I liked all the *stolen sounds*, sometimes I felt the writer needs to remember that words and voices ARE sounds as well. Especially when we come to the longest poem, Exile, and a passionate evocation of the desert.

*Where are all the people? She asks when she visits.*

And what follows cancels out the emptiness, the writing being so packed with images, that they make you dizzy, so occasionally the sounds get in the way. Even the voice of the piece admits,

*Home is any ordinary sentence doing its work. *

I agree, so these sentences, about missing home, are far from ordinary.

*This phantom limb of location.*

I find something wonderful in each of the pieces, including three interviews snippets that I like very, very much (*You?re a ghost when travelling,* says a woman, sounding so young and wise and brilliant.)

I personally don?t feel the five have been made to truly work together. No compositional motif has been created to relate them in a continuum ? even the primary voice, so specific but disembodied (and sometimes a little too coy for my taste), gives me little clue to help me contextualize.

However, the writing is far and above the usual radio fare. When the voice in the poem calls for,

*A poss? of gatekeepers to comprehend stories unconcerned with getting to the point* (here an excellent spiral sound and poetic reference to horseshoes is an example of sound and words succeeding as one)

I heartily agree, with my willingness to listen carefully more than once. Perhaps this is the difference between the ipod and the driveway ? could the latest sound of media splintering be announcing new hope for art on the air?

Please air, at the very least in a showcase for adventurous work.

Broadcast History

Included in:
- CD compilations: Deep Wireless II, New Adventures in Sound Art, Toronto; Vibro 3, radio art compilation, Vibrofiles, Paris; with related installations at Curzon Cinema, London; LeRoy Neiman Gallery/Columbia University School of the Arts, New York

- Festivals: Ac?sticas del Control, Z?ppelin2005, Caos/Sonoscop: Sound Projects Festival Contemporary Culture Centre of Barcelona

- on the air: Magnetic Tape, WBCZ, Boston