A Promise of Rebirth

And the day comes, and it’s night-time
as this light could only be borne in darkness, the heir
to tears and tearing and a long Winter of abandonment
paved with icy shards of all we once were.

The day comes and among the debris of our stiff joints
a smile emerges, tentative, naked, unexpected
and we welcome it in perplexity
As we were no longer sure a smile was even possible.

May this barren mourning leave nothing in its trail
If not resolution, compassion and joy, a gratitude
of all that once was a future certain,
and a pre-emptive forgiveness of all that is yet to be.

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H.A., 24 Feb 2021

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A movie that made me move

45 years of “Taxi Driver”, the movie that cemented my desire to live in the U.S. – which I eventually did, moving to Chicago via Philadelphia in 1990. I still remember my first arrival in NYC, in August of that year, Bernard Herrmann’s soundtrack on a loop in my walkman (Thanks Andre), staring at the metropolis in awe, as if in a dream.

Out now, with graphic design and curatorship by yours truly…

I had a particularly great time putting this edition together. With thanks to Steven Brown for providing the source recording, Anselmo Canha for tirelessly mastering the audio, Isabelle Corbisier for the unmatchable historical resources, Blaine L. Reininger for the vivid recounts… and Aaron Ross for the amazing concert photographs. I am particularly pleased with this cover, and that is largely due to Aaron’s magical shot of Winston.

Support the band, get it here.

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O Dia do Abraço

Houve um tempo, faz tempo já,
um tempo em que os territórios do medo se chamavam vida.
E a vida vibrava, sem saber de si,
porque só lhe pedíamos que se cumprisse.

Nesta outra vida os centros de abastecimento tinham nome:
“supermercados”, dizem, “restaurantes”, dizem outros
nos quais a memória persiste, desfiada
por entre uma fome de ímpeto cada vez mais rara.

No privilégio de uma prisão própria pressentimos o paradoxo
E inalamos, suspiramos o torpor do ar doméstico, domesticado,
enquanto os écrans cintilam estatísticas e abismos
enquanto as palavras se agarram ao sentido que podem salvar.

A transição digital é agora plena,
ingénua utopia antes celebrada, proclamada,
hoje tão só a emergência do saber, do sorver, do dizer
“estou aqui”, num qualquer écran de banda larga soluçante.

Neste dia igual a tantos que o precederam
No desvelar duro da nossa condição, sonhamos ainda:
um dia, um dia, abraçar-nos-emos.
E o abraço saberá a primeiro
e fará o luto do que já não regressa.

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R.I.P. David Darling…

Sad news this morning as I learn of the passing of cellist David Darling. His “Dark Wood” solo series, as well as “EOS”, his exquisite release as a duo with guitarist Terje Rypdal, all on ECM, remain in my list of essential listening that has accompanied me throughout the years: sombre yet warm, solemn yet intimate, melancholic yet transcendent…

I first heard him on the aforementioned “EOS” on late night radio in 1983, on the improbable combination of cello+electric guitar… a combination that was as unlikely as it was alchemic; I had to get the album, and I revisit it regularly to this day.

True, some of Darling’s output is simply too “new age” for me to enjoy, but IMHO it does not detract from the brilliance of pretty much every note he released on ECM.

Rest in Peace, David Darling, and thank you for the light you revealed throughout the darkness.

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Voices

Re: the controversy regarding caucasian actors dubbing black characters in the Portuguese version of a recent animation film. IMNSHO it’s not possible to say “cartoon characters have no skin colour”, as I’ve read at some point today – and it’s not just because of a coherence and legitimacy in cultural roots. It’s also the evidence that all.freakin.professional.voiceovers.in.Portugal.have.the.same.freakin.vocal.pitch.

All male voices in ads sound the same. All female voices in ads sound the same. News anchors speaking of COVID could be selling ice cream or announcing the arrival of the next train. It almost seems like everyone with a microphone goes to the same freaking voice-formatting school. All learn the same pitch, the same generic, anodyne, strangely whispering-bombastic vocal acrobatics.

It’s this interchangeability that drives me crazy, this inability (or laziness?) to acknowledge nuance. And with nuance comes all else, including a respect for distinct heritage.

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DGS Walk

Passeio de Domingo de manhã, com todos os cuidados.

Ou como diria a DGS:
Certificando-me de que cumpro com todos os requisitos que viabilizam uma deslocação fora do domicílio para fins profilácticos ou higiénicos, desde que asseguradas pelo próprio todas as normas e comportamentos estabelecidos ao abrigo do actual estado superiormente decretado em consequentemente em vigor, de cumprimento obrigatório.

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Argh…

The news on TV in the background… it’s politician after politician, and often the same one shows up three or four times per news block. The world does not seem to exist beyond the corridors of power and their almost invariably ugly dynamics. When a citizen appears on camera, it’s on an improvised street interview where a random extra is meant to passively confirm the pre-determined narrative. “Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s worrying. Yes, it’s a tragedy. Yes, it’s a shame. Yes, I feel there is nothing we can do”.
But hey, no worries, a couple minutes later the parade of white teeth zombies come in jumping around driving audis and opening christmas presents and having cute pillow fights… Followed by live shows of provincial clones of turbo pop singing the nth variation of romantic kitsch.
All of the above supported by over-compressed acoustics that manages to make even the stereotypical whisper of pseudo-sophistication hurt the ears.
An ongoing soap opera…
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Repressed Wanderlust?

For four nights in a row now, I’ve been having very vivid dreams where I’m traveling or living abroad. China, Sweden, Germany, U.S., London… The dreams are quite detailed and include narrative plots, such as having to deliver a sound piece, delivering a presentation at a groovy hotel lounge, treading narrow paths facing an abyss across country borders, being a bank investment guru, visiting stationery shops in Texas while on a bus tour, or running through London underground station corridors that are partially closed for renovation. Friends and family are present throughout.
Normally I hardly remember any dreams at all, so it is highly unusual for me to remember them in such detail, let alone with such a clear narrative pattern – four nights in a row. It could be that I AM missing the joys of travel, despite not being aware of it… On the contrary, I’ve been quite happy to stay put. Or so I thought.
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