During the spring of this year I have been working on an album for Dave Bonta’s book ‘Ice Mountain’
That album is released now;
Dave also did a nice write up on te album;
The mythical Irish hero Fionn mac Cumhall is said to have held that the greatest sound in the world is “the music of what happens.” Over the past two decades, I’ve really come to identify with this sentiment, learning to appreciate the happy accidents in natural and human-made soundscapes sometimes as much as, if not more than, composed music. I’d like to think it’s even shaped my writer’s ear.
There’s something of that spirit in Marc Neys AKA Swoon’s new album Ice Mountain, based on my poetry book of the same title. Liquid and icy textures, hissing, rustling, crackling, and other aural interventions are interwoven with piano notes and long-held orchestral chords, all adding up to a music as spare and minimalist as the poetry itself: Marc’s own selection of a few of his favorite poems from the book.
The poetry is presented in four distinct voices, and though it doesn’t dominate the other music, you don’t have to strain to understand the words. Sometimes layered and repeated, these readings are the work of me, both my parents and the precocious young daughter of a friend (who kind of steals the show, in my opinion). Bookended by two instrumental tracks, Ice Mountain allows an attentive listener to experience something of the stark grandeur of an Appalachian winter and early spring.
More on the book;
Aldo Leopold once observed that “one of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” In Ice Mountain: An Elegy, poet and naturalist Dave Bonta invites us to share this solitude. In spare, linked verses informed by decades of close study of his home ground, he chronicles the slow end of winter on a mountaintop in central Pennsylvania, part of a landscape subtly but profoundly shaped by the last Ice Age. With climate change accelerating, how many more years will we get to appreciate a true Appalachian spring?
But our ham-fisted efforts to address global warming also come with a price, and Bonta laments the damage done by installing a wind plant on the neighboring ridge—Ice Mountain. Looking both inward and outward, this is a poetry too honest to take refuge in easy solutions but too much in love with the world to indulge in despair.
And If you buy or bought a copy of the book from Phoenicia Publishing (or Amazon or wherever), send photo of yourself with the book (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you’ll get a copy of the album for free.
illustrations from original linocuts by Elizabeth Adams
Add. Field recordings by Vladimir Kryuchev
Voices by Dave Bonta, Bruce Bonta, Marcia Bonta and Esmée Sherrill
Words by Dave Bonta