Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Slow and Pretty Things - Now Available for Free

The album Slow and Pretty Things is a tone poem, in nine sections about my final conversation with my grandmother, Elizabeth Huff. In the last year of her life, her dementia had progressed to the point where she had lost all sense of time. Her stories could go for hours, slowly ebbing and flowing, circling around themselves like an eddy at the edge of a river. And as she sunk deeper into dementia, her timelessness became more pronounced. The destination of her stories was no longer relevent; for her, it was about the journey—the act and art of communicating. I found myself intensely engrossed in these conversations. The humanity in her voice was clear as day, but her message was obfuscated. We achieved a kind of understanding–an elegant compromise where she and I both said a great deal, and neither of us understood. She meditated on her childhood and mine, holidays with family, her pig, the war, and our spouses. Our final conversation was a beautiful moment, suspended in time and space. It was only after she was gone that I started to understand what she was trying to say. This album is structured around the themes and mood of our last talk: real instruments are altered, repeated, and stretched as if they were afflicted with Alzheimer's. There is loss and sadness, but there is also beauty and hope. Each movement is a timeless ghost, who at some point long ago had a voice, a form, and a message. The titles of each movement form the poetry upon which my tone poem is based:

Slow and Pretty Things (Hunter Ewen, 2012)
Sea-foam cotton undertows
Our last forgettable conversation
Her wholeness struck
Out across delicate, bobbing adventures–
Soft curled tales
To buoy a grandson. In meantime
She surfaces, recognizably
And we finally speak–
Slow and pretty things