one-minute vacation
vox americana maritime suite moorish idol s3 moments in burma annapurna: memories in sound plumbing and irrigation of south asia kagbeni variations dusk machines guantanamo express turns in the south embertide compilations

rockets of the mekong ( 2003 )
echolocations volume 4

Available from Grain of Sound.

Composed from field recordings made in Laos.

A trip to Laos for the headphone tourist, weaving unedited recordings with composition. I composed this to be heard in, and as, one long journey, as if while drifting down the Mekong, or drifting into sleep...

rocket boats of the mekong 5.3 MB Theme. Like the song of a mechanical dragonfly, the whining outboard engines on very shallow draft "rocket boats" fills the Mekong valley and beyond during daylight hours.
walking home from school 2 MB Prelude. Arcadian Muong Houn, six hours from anywhere on an all but impassable mud 'highway.'Football (soccer) on the sunlit green flats, water buffalo scrubbed in the glittering stream... and as the most entertaining thing in town, the better part of the town's kids follow us down the one paved road.
calisthenic 5.7 MB An exercise in negative space. Composed almost entirely from a single moment in a very short source recording, this piece was created using a sculptural process in reverse: starting from almost nothing, everything is added back, a little at a time. At the end, we escape our single moment and the context of the recording (made in Luang Prabang, Laos) is revealed.
uxo 1 MB Prelude. Unexploded ordinance: tour of a cave where the Pathet Lao took shelter from the steel monsoon of illegal US bombs. Down the road an UXO team patiently worked.
meat chopping music 4.3 MB Late afternoon at the meat market: women butchers wave plastic bags on sticks to keep the flies off their goods when customers approach, and cut muscle from bone with heavy cleavers. Recorded in Luang Prabang, the romantic former French colonial town at a major confluence in north central Laos.
fervor / dinner 1.5 MB Prelude. In the capitol Vang Vieng, a fervent amateur band accompanies an ancestor memorial celebration on the riverfront on my birthday. Pigs in Pak Tha are slopped at sunset.
same same 15.3 MB Almost a palindrome. A minute-long slice of late afternoon in the countryside of northern Laos.
pak tha dock 3.4 MB Interlude. We spent a long afternoon waiting for the right boat to arrive on this thatch-roofed bamboo dock, which was swamped every time a boat approached. We traded English words for Laos ones with a few curious children.
resonance 13.5 MB Plumbing resonance, reconsidered, in Vang Vieng, Laos. When the stars align, resonance in our bathroom pipes makes them sing. Private indoor plumbing is a luxury reserved almost exclusively for tourists in Vang Vieng, a town that modernized rapidly from country village to a mandatory pleasure stop for backpackers making week-long Laos excursions from Thailand or Vietnam.
udomxai twilight / donations please 2 MB Prelude. Dusk falls in an ugly crossroad town, flush with Chinese money, in a beautiful setting... and the cicadas (?) fire up. Here a patient restaurateur tried to explain to us, in mime, that there was a small problem with the US presidential election in 2000...
come in 8.9 MB Lovely Wat Xieng Thong, baroquely decorated Buddhist monastery and temple. I'm invited in to sit in to evening mediation.
good bye 3.6 MB Prelude. Kids in the jewelry store. Drunken dinner ashore for the crew of one of the brightly painted cargo boats that ply the treacherous cappuccino-colored Mekong.
rockets of the mekong 15.3 MB Old-growth virgin teak in the rainforest, the muddy river, bamboo walls, and gleaming outboard engines.
foot traffic of the mekong 1 MB Postlude. A long walk home when the dark comes on fast and total in northeast Laos.