Tuesday, May 16, 2006


MARY JO MALO reviews

“phenomena of interference” by Steve Dalachinsky & Matthew Shipp
(Mastered & produced by Assif Tsahar, recorded at Tonic 7/23/2005. Released 2005)

Ever since I discovered Steve Dalachinsky's work I've been curious to know if he really understands what he's talking about. His poetry seems to me more like a hypnogogic/hypnopompic dream language. You know the place, where color and sound and word interchange to make non-sense? But now I know differently. Dalachinsky is a poet, himself a medium where all these conspire to produce singular works of art. He spontaneously crafts a coherent and perceptible phenomenon from the chaos we too easily name as knowledge. His earth is a colorful cacophonous place where the music of the spheres and blood and piss and shit combine to make something worth remembering, though we probably won't. Perhaps the feelings and images shot from his recordings will remain via the technology we so easily dismiss. Did you know that the iridescence of a CD is caused by the interference of light waves?

Matthew Shipp's piano and Dalachinsky's poetry have combined to produce their best album yet. Yuko Otomo's cover art is elegant and appropriate, stark black and red on white. Speaking of color, Dalachinsky always writes passionately about it, using it like someone who's suddenly rendered color-blind, someone shredded by their desire to see it again. The color of fruit, the blue of the sky, all of it unmasked from its grayscale disguise.

With this album he has found the physics of his poetry. He typically expresses a Zen comprehension of the something that emerges from nothing, and the music that arises from silence; but now he reveals a recognition of the principles of physics, the (un)predictability of a quantum universe. He serves up a delicious platter or palette of sound and shadow, a digestible meal with all senses commingling. One word suggests others and a sound suggests a word or a color or traffic sign. Doors are always closing but a window is sometimes a way out.

It's the raucous NYC microcosm baby, with schizoid shamans playing blackjack, and where Gal I Leo stargazes but plays us a no-frills evening, selling us the myth of meaning in SUBWAY SYSTEMS:

chill          reflect the myriad
of hopefuls & the din's aswirlin here
like the way reason flames this season . . .
put down that card and roll . . .

       wash         the jordan (narc)few turns'round
        the we are its center
        motion moon planet         (S)(T)(A)(R)
what the milky way is made
of what the stuff of dreams reads seam of traffiker
when those edges go how long the riff goes on how close the comer gets . . .
(Gal I Leo)


But my words don't do his words justice. You have to hear him interject copyright, click, imprint, omit, emit, money, honest, repeatedly with agitation throughout a pome. I admire his juxtaposition of a night sky with consumerism!

How can I describe 3 orchids for niblock? Chthonic, erotic, primal? Uttering glossolalia, he speaks a ménage à trois straining to give birth to something, but what? The impossible, the inexpressible. And then there are the trust fund babies of both kinds, and the other-colors America.

The directness of embracement:

       if I travel with You
further than this Spot
beyond my discontent
        to embracement
        to silence
& springtime
        do you promise me a place on the charts
with a bullet


He observes and then tells us about julie and a musician:

he played
        just for you
                tonite julie
        he may not know
        you may not know it
but every flower
        on your
                rich dark
        felt the moisture
         his bell


Did you know that light waves interfere either destructively (by eliminating each other) or constructively (by combining into larger waves)? From the title pome in which he proclaims that he will not say, but he does, and incredulously sounds like he can't believe it.

tho nothing is without color as
nothingness itself in B&W is illuminated by its primaries
                                Bio-logic the politic of color elected
from the tip of the candle to its base ( nothing is in simple b & w
                                tho the DARK is so difficult to penetrate
                 for the dark contains all that it is not ) . . .

i cannot believe i said "rainbows" . . .


secrets                 refract ures
        white reflects & black
        the sound of color
        the color of sound
        where thought forms
        & voice forms
        & sand turns to glass . . .

( did i say color? did i say sound?)


You could read the entire lyrics booklet from this beautifully packaged CD and never come close to what you will taste and experience when you hear him bust a sound wave. Dalachinsky has never performed with more intensity. He finds it all by losing it. Nostalgia is a promise of what never remains. We'll have to do this again some day. Letters can form more than words . . .

do you
ever dot your eyes before you look?


Mary Jo Malo describes herself as a continuing undergrad in the School of Hard Knocks. Her C.V. is that she was born in 1949; in and out of foster homes for 18 years; newly separated from husband of nearly 40 years; proud mother of seven; extensive researcher of world religions and philosophy. She worked as a sales, marketing and advertising coordinator for a manufacturer of large electrical power apparatus. In 1993 she was disabled in an auto accident in the Rocky Mts. of Colorado. Never fully recovered and forced into early retirement, she’s had an abundance of time to pursue her favorites, poetry and philosophy, cosmology and evolution. These days as novice to modern and post-modern poetry, she’s been delighted to discover the Beat and post-Beat writers, among many others. While hoping she has miles to go in her adventure,and appreciating every poet and critic who takes time to talk with her as she seeks to better express her own voice, Mary Jo Malo finds now herself in good company. She is also the host and moderator of Company of Poets, a poetics mailing list/discussion group.


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