Sunday, 18 December 2016

The Voices of Paul Bowles

Tellus #23 - Paul Bowles
Tellus release curated by Claudia Gould and Stephen Frailey
Released 1989
Till the age of 40, Paul Bowles (1910-1999) was a composer and music critic, composing for Broadway musicals, Hollywood movie scores, incidental music for ballet. He once aknowledged to be a composer of ‘hotel music’, though his serious music calls to mind that of Copland, Virgil Thomson, Francis Poulenc or Satie. It is actually when he get tired of writing easy music that he turned to writing literature.
Curated by Claudia Gould and Stephen Frailey, ‘The Voices of Paul Bowles’ is an audio portrait combining some of the composer’s music with readings from his own texts, morrocan traditional music and location recordings from Tangier and Morroco where he lived from 1947. The most striking device is the handsome and warm voice of Bowles reading through his writings. Also notable are the lively field recordings of folk local music Bowles made himself in 1959 (tracks #01, 03, 06 & 09). The simoon (my conjecture) heard at the end of ‘The Garden’, track #08, is a short but evocative recording of a North Africa typical wind. Bowles own compositions are exquisite vignettes full of humour and wit.
A microcosm in itself, a day in the life of Paul Bowles, the tape starts with the muezzin’s morning call to prayer and ends with dogs barking at sunset, an amazing barking chorale recorded amid the rising desert wind. A poignant conclusion to an utterly beautiful tape

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