Three or four night-stars; the scattered brush, parched earth and sand, the black sea-sky, hovering blanket: the land is broken up by zigzags, where the water has seeped through into the ground, and left salt crystals on those infinitesimal ledges. And the rest, the rest is dead like old tree stumps and blunt lead, stretching over to the horizon which is burned by the sun each morning like a ticking clock. This is the red desert, which the waves do not reach, on which the storm does not tread. It is where my dreams are, where I have come to-
notes, 18 July 2011
The last few weeks have been difficult. The idea is so strong and yet there is no metamorphosis into the music. The notes resist direction, and direction is the only thing here to hang on to. I fear I have written something quite minimalist, but this was the only way. This is the truth to the idea.
The desert is a foreign thing to many people; at least, I think it seems so on the surface. Those things we associate with desert – sand, heat – are just nothing compared to what a desert can be, what it perhaps is, even. The desert is not a place but an idea: only once the realization is made, can something become “desert”. And for me, what it has become for me, this realization, is simply one of thirst. Dry parched throat, mortality, healed by water…
When you travel through a real, physical desert, as I have many times, these sensations are primary: distance, linearity, destination. This piece is “structured” on those sensations and narrated by the thirst I mentioned before.
The only indeterminate aspect is the arrival, for it is always in question and experienced differently, in physical and emotional terms, of course. In this case, the arrival is a surprise: I am loathe to call it a “salvation” of sorts, in terms of the material, but it is a momentary glance away from inevitability. For to cross the desert: by itself, this idea, is one of beating the odds.