Birds Wheeling Flick Audibility by James belflower

For me, lines of bird flight are always audible. Birds wheeling flick the quick wisps of the conductor's baton tip into the blue, they curve shimmering notes up over the top staff line, or they bend like a light arc flickering through a lens pointed into the sun. But even more than resonating with other phenomenon, bird murmurs draw me into that moment of alien self-organization where I am confronted with confluences completely outside myself. Jane Bennett calls minor experiences like this enchanting and argues that they can remind us how wonder reorients our perception toward less habituated modes of experience. What I enjoy in enchantment is that although I associate the organized kinesis of the bird's swooping with musical expressiveness, the fact that birds understand what constitutes music differently than we do means that this expression is not reducible to a culturally legible melody or form. In short, bird murmurs remind me that there is always a pressure on the cultural conditioning my hearing and vision emerge through. I find this pleasure enchanting. 


Bennett, Jane. The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2001.

Canyons Tour @ PS1 in Iowa City 10.9.16 by James belflower

Performance Space One

Performance Space One

The Canyons tour ended its first phase in Iowa City at Performance Space one, hosted by John Éngelbrecht. It was a lovely night. The performance artist Jillian Weise screened pointedly political videos of her alter ego Tipsy Tullivan, and poet Raj Chakrapani read from a new work that blended poetry with voice-overs of prominent public figures. Matthew and I played a longer set than previous readings and we enjoyed plugging into PS1's sound system for two reasons. One, we didn't have to lug all our equipment in and out! Two, it was vastly superior! I'll post audio of this performance over the weekend so check back soon! We are in Providence toward the end of October, so if you're in the area we hope to see you. The rest of our tour schedule is available here.

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Canyons Tour @ Absinthe and Zygote in Chicago, 10.8.16 by James belflower

Photo courtesy of Matthew Klane

Photo courtesy of Matthew Klane

Another amazing evening on the Canyons tour! After a few too many coffees Matthew and I landed in Chicago for our 3rd performance at the Experimental Sound Studio. Anne Shaw and Toby Altman hosted us at Absinthe and Zygote an innovative performance series that changes locations for each event, from dark rooms, to crowded elevators, to hair salons. In front of the welcoming pink baffle backdrop of the Experimental Sound Studio it was a night of multimedia projections, polyvocality, and hilarious characters. We opened our set with "Welcome to Colorado" and sonically constructed an environment in which the "pure products of America go crazy." Little did we know how well that would resonate with the other performers. Poet and playwright Kate Morris read next, projecting maplike watercolor images in the corner of the room. She was followed by Olivia Lilley, whose comparisons of dating life to The Lord of the Rings had everyone cracking up. Olivia Cronk's reading of Louise and Louise and Louise ended the evening, quickly switching through the voices of a slew of characters, inhabiting each deftly. We read in Iowa City on the 10th, and will pick up the tour again on October 22nd in Providence. Hope to see you there!

We just arrived home yesterday so audio of the tour will be posted soon!

Kate Morris

Kate Morris

Olivia Lilley

Olivia Lilley

Olivia Cronk

Olivia Cronk

Canyons Tour Continues @ Woodland Pattern 10.7.16 by James belflower

Photo courtesy of Matthew Klane

Photo courtesy of Matthew Klane

We had a great night at the exceptional Woodland Pattern bookstore in Milwaukee Friday night. Host, Michael Wendt, introduced the performance. We altered the Canyons set list starting with a prickly soundscape that descended into the haunting sequence "Welcome to Coloroado," interspersed with found sounds from a Buffalo reserve I toured in 2014, & finishing with the final disquieting sequence "The Vanishing Savages'." We had a great conversation over new music with poet Paul Vogel & spent the drive to Chicago the next day blasting Seapunk & Witchhouse. Really digging Blank Banshee & Salem

I'll be posting audio of the show as soon as we return.

Canyons tour begins @ the Just Buffalo Literary Center 10.6.13 by James belflower

Just Buffalo Literary Center

Just Buffalo Literary Center

The Canyons tour started last night at the beautiful Just Buffalo Literary Center reading series which is curated by Barbara Cole & Kevin Thurston. Matthew & I performed with the high energy Buffalo slam poet Eve Williams, & Donika Kelly who's debut collection Bestiary won the 2015 Cave Canem Prize. The crowd was lively, giggling & bantering with the poets. Our set was a blend of Matthew Klane's deep droning voice & my visceral electronics. Best of all, my fuzz pedal picked up Outkast's "Hey Ya" broadcast from the radio tower on the roof, & our set, which usually ends with thick moody feedback, tapered down to the bouncy chorus and the crowd rolled with the beat!

We recorded the event, and I'll be posting Canyons audio as soon as possible. Come see us at one of these stops if you missed last night. 

Finding the Ell In Your Writing by James belflower

If you've never scaled your page size down in Microsoft Word when writing, give it a try. As I began a new manuscript a few years ago I happened to scale my pages down to where the words were only shapes. I was able to consider it from a distance. This experience was much more important than I realized at the time.

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