Susan Howe & David Grubbs ‘Concordance’ LP
‘Concordance’ is Susan Howe’s and David Grubbs’s fifth album in the fifteen years of their unexpected and richly satisfying collaboration. Here they’ve pared down their materials to voice and piano, aspiring to the hushed intensity of their live performances. What had previously resulted from Grubbs’s recomposition of recorded materials now arrives as unadorned duo performance.
“Howe is a poet who has spent her career reminding us that our experiences of meaning and sound are synchronous.” - Tess Taylor, The New York Times
‘Concordance’ is Susan Howe’s and David Grubbs’s fifth album in the unexpected and richly satisfying collaboration that began with ‘Thiefth’ and includes ‘Souls of the Labadie Tract’, ‘Frolic Architecture’ and ‘WOODSLIPPERCOUNTERCLATTER’. Where these works feature the fragmentation and multiplication of Howe’s recorded voice - in a style akin to her celebrated text collages - with ‘Concordance’ they’ve pared down their materials to voice and piano, aspiring to the hushed intensity of their live performances. After fifteen years of working together, the subtleties of inflection and interaction that previously resulted from Howe’s nuanced delivery and Grubbs’s composition using recorded materials now arrives as unadorned duo performance.
One of America's greatest living artists, Bollingen Prize-winning poet Susan Howe’s text for ‘Concordance’ originates in a collage poem of the same name published by Grenfell Press, which then became the title work in her most recent book, published to acclaim by New Directions in 2020. She has continued to rework the text for this performed version, incorporating material from her 2015 book of essays, ‘The Quarry’. Her source material is scissored from print concordances of the poetry of Milton, Herbert, Arnold, Browning, Dickinson and Coleridge, as well as old field guides to birds, rocks, trees, moths and mushrooms; Howe’s fiery commitment to placing these echoes of the past in dialogue with the present speaks to her position as one of America’s essential artists.
David Grubbs is Professor Of Music at Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is the author of ‘The Voice in the Headphones’, ‘Now that the audience is assembled’ and ‘Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording’ (all published by Duke University Press) and, with Anthony McCall, Simultaneous Soloists (Pioneer Works Press). Grubbs has played in Gastr del Sol, The Red Krayola and Squirrel Bait and performed with Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros and Will Oldham, among many others.
Catalogue number: BC36
Label: Blue Chopsticks