Brenda Iijima
CD, co-produced with rdr, repetitive
Voice: Brenda Iijima
Noise: Austin Publicover
March 2007
REVIEW of Council of Worms by Geoffrey Olsen:

The content of the poems (tracks?) hypnotize. As I listen I become aware of my mind as an organism.

In Council of Worms the word becomes an organism. Noise suggests organism functions – breath, heartbeat - & reduces the voice to constituent elements, transitioning away from "life" sounds. But still there, becoming animal, dehumanized i.e. we are all animals, fungi, plant life. Violence an organism process – invasion of one species by another – questioning how, at the top of the animal "hierarchy", humans are somehow more sacred, more entitled to a life unharmonious to what is around them. The work catalogues the horrors humanity is capable of: humans erecting barriers, quarantining, confining their own kind to the diseases of war & slave ships.

The work is deeply anti-solipsistic. Noise/ambient music itself calls into question aesthetic standards internal to music forms. Ambient music removes the fetishism of virtuosity displays by refusing to remain static. The music is environmental, not contrary to the voice. Is it the voice or the sound that has primacy? Isn't the voice sound? Isn't human animal? As we listen, the words become organisms, slithering, gulping past adjacent words. "Vector".

Voice is a mess. Organism is a mess. I am reminded of the hypnotizing quality of clear voices- the capacity for violence they inspire. A page of poetry can be unnerving due to the detached quality of the text, even as it evokes sound. The voice reassures us, goads us.

In a documentary (the one on ubuweb) Francis Bacon says that he wanted to capture the violence that is all around us. He comments that flesh is beautiful. Your work has that quality of horror. I can't explain it clearly. Maybe later.

"Before language we could only whimper."