Library Catalog Music Series
B Lan 3: Music for Hunting and Mapping
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“It is not down in any map; true places never are.”- Herman Melville; “Moby Dick”
The origin of mapping is connected closely to the development of language. Early maps were tools of communication used by hunting or gathering peoples in the process of environmental appraisal related to those core activities. When the ancients began to traverse their surrounding environs seeking food sources, it became necessary to mark directional symbols, initially within the actual landscape, and eventually as a metaphorical reduction that was easily transported. How does music relate to these endeavors? Early forms of music where ceremonial, and employed in community rituals tied to fundamental social activities – such as hunting. As for the process of mapping, it appears to have had no links to ritual music, and was, in all probability, accomplished in silence, or in the context of verbal communication between participants.
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Over time, mapping has been transformed from not only depicting local environments, but to also including macro and micro-regions. The compositions on Music for Hunting and Mapping were developed with a focus upon a divergent strategy – the mapping of an imaginary realm – and were largely inspired by a consideration of a collision between high and low culture; specifically by exploring stylistic conceits from anime and video gaming while drawing upon “high art” examples from literature and cinema. For example, how would director Hayao Miyazaki interpret Thomas Pynchon’s novel “Mason & Dixon” as an anime film? Or, what would a single-player, RPG video game of director Andrei Tarkovsky’s film “Andrei Rublev” look like? Or a multiplayer video game based on Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”? Finding inspiration in these idealized adaptations led B Lan 3 to consider what forms of music might accompany these games or films and how their structural plotting might affect the musical arrangements. Organizationally, the majority of the pieces are multi-part, and were produced employing a style of composition which exploits the techniques of filmic ‘jump cut’ editing, scenic transitions and fades, but were composed-through and not introduced later during the mixing or production phases. The strategies employed in composition and production imbue the recordings with sense of fantasy…or at least a synthetic version of reality, much in the same manner of more highly developed video games and anime.
B Lan 3 is a solo project by musician and visual artist Michael Diekmann. A resident of New York City, he also records and performs with the minimalist cold-wave formation Ike Yard, and the pioneering experimental hip-hop group Death Comet Crew. He has also composed or contributed to soundtracks for video and multimedia installations for multimedia artists including Gretchen Bender, Robert Longo and Marcello Mazzella; and also contributed music with Death Comet Crew to the audio book version of “Neuromancer” by William Gibson.