Art Jarvinen made some pretty lovely music in his life, a lot of which I’m just getting to know. This is a personal favorite so far. I adore the pacing, the floating feeling. How nice it is to let a bunch of string chords wash over you without being a hurry to go anywhere per se.
Kyle Gann calls Jarvinen a totalist, and I see where he’s coming from. There’s a lot made out there online about Art’s fascination with and intermittent work with Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa – two of my teenaged obsessions, so I can certainly relate to this impulse, though I long ago soured on Zappa and most of his work. However, these descriptors don’t match the guy that interested us in the first place; we were attracted at first to Art the conceptualist. We’d been looking over text-based works like the No Collective’s Concertos and toying with conceptual remakes of epic works from both the 1870s and 1970s when Paul & Gelsey first suggested looking more closely at Art’s text scores. They’d performed Eskimo Piece as part of thingNY a few years back, and while looking over Adult Party Games, the collection from which Eskimo Piece is drawn, wasn’t immediately inspiring, it grew on us. There’s a pervasive cheekiness, a very subjective soft edge in these short text pieces that goes against the cold, almost scientific tone of most event scores and conceptual text pieces. We knew we could do something with this material, but it still wasn’t clear to us why we were delving into this collection and not another one.
Gradually, we’ve come to realize that our intention with this piece is not to literally realize these impossible to perform works. Our intention is to expand upon the sentiments conveyed in these pieces, using them as a springboard. Like our versions of Perfect Lives and Empty Words, it will not be an orthodox performance of Adult Party Games you’ll see at Mt Tremper Arts on August 10th, rather it will be a situating of the original pieces as landmarks in a larger framework of our own devising that describes our emotional, subjective responses to Art Jarvinen, his pieces, and his persona. We’re in the thick of negotiating exactly what that is, but trying to tease out the visceral and the relatable in something purely conceptual is to us at the heart of Adult Party Games.