Two Compositions

by Adam Matlock



These two pieces represent the main result of my work as a composer/performer during the course of 2012, inasmuch as the distinction between that and my work as a songwriter, producer, arranger, session musician, etc retain any meaning as I continue.

Both are also incredibly personal pieces, reflecting some ongoing attempts over the last several years to unpack my identity as black, mixed and queer. I don't want to draw a diagram here, but the spoken texts which bookend "Articulate" are just a few of the many brilliant writings author James Baldwin contributed to the dialogue on race and oppression and identity in the form of essays and fiction alike. It was under the spell of his classic "The Fire Next Time" that I wrote the rest of the text. The aphorisms which make up the "Earthseed Songs" are taken from a spiritual text which appears in author Octavia E. Butler's "Parable of the Sower" and "Parable of the Talents." Butler is known for being one of the first prominent women of color writing in science fiction, and her writing has always managed to deftly mix speculative concerns with real life ones, asking just the right questions of characters and readers alike. Each of these statements, written by the books' primary protagonist, is intended as a statement of resilience and preparation against an oppressive world that isn't too far removed from our own, and their austerity made them a pleasure to work with.

Musically, these pieces both represent the work I've been attempting with loose organization of time and also of trying to maximize the sound of a small chamber ensemble. I was fortunate to be able to work with such great musicians in realizing both of these pieces originally, who were willing to, with the barest minimum of rehearsal, give an excellent performance of some complex music. Since then we've had the chance to iron out some details and polish these pieces into something really special. I'm very pleased to be able to present this recording to you, having captured both compositions in top form.

Much thanks to Ben Klein, Anne Rhodes and Brian Slattery for their playing, Lou Guarino Jr. for his time and recording expertise, James Baldwin and Octavia Butler for having written at all, and everyone who gave me feedback from the first performances.


released May 3, 2013

Two Compositions is dedicated to James Baldwin and Octavia Butler.

Adam Matlock - Voice, percussion
Benjamin J.M. Klein - Tuba
Text by James Baldwin and Adam Matlock

Earthseed Songs:
Adam Matlock - Accordion, Voice (1,5)
Anne Rhodes - Voice
Brian Slattery - Violin
Text by Octavia E. Butler




An Historic New Haven

Matlock writes increasingly narrative and frenzied songs under the name An Historic, and dark ambient music under the alias G. Zarapanecko, and frequently writes and performs compositions under his own name solo or with
various partners or small ensembles. Matlock can also be seen performing with free improv trio Broadcloth and avant-traditionalists Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of
Clairvoyant Claptraps.
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