I heard in an interview recently that when James Brown began to hear all instruments as percussion instruments, he really began developing his own sound. This got me thinking about words and percussion, language and rhythm, language as rhythm, rhythm as language, the way rap, for example, or that archetypal slam-poetry delivery emphasizes and sometimes slightly distorts the rhythm of language, torqueing rhythm with extra words, overemphasizing certain syllables to maintain the rhythm of the piece. I am interested in that tension between text and rhythm, how it can be nudged and twisted or elongated. It was this I was trying to play with when I recorded the second section of “Ny Verden” in such a text-as-percussion way, and then when I added images, tried to use the still photos’ flash-ups also rhythmically.
I think an interesting urgency and unbalance is suggested, which I didn’t necessarily intend, but is perfect for the situation of the poem. In this second section, the narrator has arrived on foreign soil for the first time, disoriented, afraid, hyper-alert. The imagery is too literal, perhaps. But I noticed when choreographer Beth Fecteau set that poem to dance, she also went literal with movement clearly referencing birds. I guess sometimes it’s just too hard to resist. Section two starts at minute 1:33.