Saturday, January 16, 2016

A new edition of Waywords and Meansigns

Musician Mike Watt

The Waywords and Meansigns logo 

Remember Waywords and Meansigns, the recording issued last year that set the entirety of Finnegans Wake to music? I did several posts about it, and also featured this interview with two of the contributors, Steve "Fly" Pratt and Peter Quadrino. 

A new second edition is going to be issued on Feb. 2, James Joyce's birthday, featuring an all-new cast of musicians and readers. Much of the second edition is already up at the project's website, where you can still obtain the first edition.

Here is the press release sent to me by Derek Pyle:

An all-star cast of musicians have joined forces to create what may be 2016’s most unusual literary project: James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, set to music unabridged. The audio will debut next month on James Joyce’s birthday, February 2nd. 

With an astounding 40-hours of audio, Waywords and Meansigns features original music and readings from punk rock icon Mike Watt (Minutemen, The Stooges), Grammy-award winning producer David Kahne (Paul McCartney, Lana Del Rey, Sublime), international artist Kio Griffith, British fringe musician Neil Campbell (Vibracathedral, A Band), and award-winning author Brian Hall. 

The project, dubbed Waywords and Meansigns, will release their unabridged musical adaptation  of Finnegans Wake February 2, 2016. All audio will be distributed freely under creative commons licensing via the project’s website, 

“Finnegans Wake is sometimes called the most difficult book ever written,” explained project director Derek Pyle, “but one of our goals to make the book more accessible. Joyce basically invented his own language to write the book. So yeah, it’s hard to read — but it’s a ton of fun to hear as music!”

Waywords and Meansigns also features original music and readings from Joyce performer Adam Harvey; composer Steve Gregoropoulos (WACO, Wild Stares); bassist Simon Underwood (The Pop Group); composer Mary Lorson (Madder Rose, Saint Low); bassist Hinson Calabrese (Tom Fun Orchestra, Sprag Session); low-fi musician Maharadja Sweets; painter Robert Amos; radio DJ and musician Mr. Smolin.

I wrote back to Derek, noting that the kind of folks who read this blog are pretty hip to the Joyce scene and to culture generally, and might appreciate a complete list of contributors to the second edition, and he obliged by sending the complete track list (the last two are still in post-production but should be ready by the Feb. 2 release date):

I.1 - Mr Smolin & Double Naught Spy Car  - jamband folks. Mr. Smolin is also radio DJ on KPFK

I.2 - David Kahne (Paul McCartney's producer, did Sublime's eponymous album; Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson; the list goes on. He was VP at Columbia & Warner Bros once upon a time too)

I.3 - Steve Gregoropoulos (of WACO & Wild Stares). His chapter includes a bunch of indie LA musicians, like Becky Stark (of Lavender Diamond, and who recorded& toured w Decemberists on their opera album), Kaitlin Wolfberg, Charlyne Yi, Heather Lockie,  ­ Derek Stein , William Tutton ­ , John Ciulik, Elizabeth Herndon, Vince Meghrouni, Justin Burrill ­ , Corey Fogel ­ & Claire Chenette

I.4 - Rio Matchett - British theatre student

I.5 - Neil Campbell, mainstay of British underground / fringe (A Band, Vibracathedral, Richard Youngs collaborator, etc)

I.6 - Maharadja Sweets  - lowfi NYC cassette label cat

I.8 Mary Lorson and Brian Hall. Mary is composer, led Saint Low & Madder Rose bands back in the day. Brian is award winning author.

II.1 - Robert Amos ;  landscape painter, like the resident painter of Victoria (British Columbia). Amos is die hard FW fan. he has recorded unabridged readings of himself, the whole book, just for fun (never released except for this and another chapter in our first edition)

II.2 - Ollie Evans & Steve Porter -  Ollie just finished his PhD on Joyce & performativity @ University of London

II.3 Jenken's Henchmaen, from Italy

II.4 aleorta, project of Daniel Bristow, professor at University of Manchester

III.1 Simon Ross, another British cat who also records as ' cel '

III.2 Kio Griffith,  LA and Japan based visual & installation artist

III.4 Conspirators of Pleasure - Poulomi Desai and Simon Underwood, who run Usurp art gallery in london. Simon was bassist in The Pop Group and Pigbag back in the day

IV.1 Graziano Galati. Graziano is a high school teacher in S Cali. His spiritual practice is reciting out loud 'classics' of literature for 2-3 hours every morning. so recording this was no problem!

I.7 Mike Watt (Minutemen, Iggy Pop & the Stooges) & Adam Harvey. Adam is theatre dude who performs Finnegans Wake - he has entire chapters of the Wake committed to memory (including this one)

III.3 - Hinson Calabrese.  Donnie (Hinson) played bass in Canadian indie band  Tom Fun Orchestra & celtic band Sprag Sessio. he is finishing a PhD on Joyce at University of Western Ontario