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Paul Dutton at the AB Series

Max Middle introduced season finale
A pair of performances by Paul Dutton was the conclusion of this season’s AB Series. It will be back in the fall with the Be Blank Consort, a group of American sound poets who have been performing together for 8 years.

I made some mention of Dutton being in town at 40 Word Year and Humanyms but that proper post got backburnered since the start of the month.

The first performance was help on the campus of Ottawa University under dramatic lighting. Max middle introduced and gave a list of thanks to all who contributed to another season’s success.

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Dutton read some from his novel and performed a couple pieces that are on Mouth Pieces as well as some poetry that isn’t collected yet such as several times table. For example “several x plenty = enough”, “several x something = likely”. He has a French and English version of. He did the English version at Ottawa U and the French version at the Quebec matinee show. He did a mix of sound poetry such as anti-lyric gox, which being non-verbal is hard to verbalize. It plays with all the vocal and resonant potential of airways and mouth. He did other things with two microphones, one at mouth, one at throat creating a stereophonic experience.IMG_7182

He also did some word play poems such as one (I believe after a poem entitled Content) where he communicated “beyond mutter of fact”. He did a poem dedicated to John Newlove and another to Dr. Mustard of the sick kids hospital. And because this world is comedically tiny, it turns out someone in the audience had actually been treated by that very doctor when she was small.

After there was a book table an signing. Here you see Robert Stacey flipping through a book (he later won a signed copy of a piece for calling out an answer to stage) with Dean of Tree and organizer Max Middle.

Dutton book and CD signing

Dutton book and CD signing
A closer look at the books. Among it, there’s poetry aurealities from Coach House, visionary portraits and his novel Several dancing women from Mercury Press, a CD of free improv singing with Jaap Blonk & Koichi Makigami & Paul Dutton & Phil Minton & David Moss, Five Men Singing made by Disques Victo (from a broadcast by Société Radio-Canada) and aCCoMpliCes.

Dutton is well-known for The Four Horsemen but as he points out he’s been doing sound with the free-improvisation band CCMC (1989 to the present) longer than with Barreto-Rivera, McCaffery and bpNichol (1970–1988).

Dutton book and CD signing

gallery Dominique of Gallerie Montcalm curates and graciously allowed the series to hold a reading among the exhibits of Counter-Photography: Japan’s Artists Today. Included were light boxes by Hiroko Inoue where images of views from barred windows are printed on the cloth tops. Tomoko Yoneka has done a sort of urban topography thru wallpaper. Each image shows what was there after a room has been vacated. Wallpaper faded with a shadow mark, scorched from being over a heater, bubbled and peeling over a radiator. They are abstract and yet tactile. Interesting.

Competing for interest perhaps with the ambiant art were the walk-in who joined the reading. One sat front and center and between pieces raised his hand for a question. Odd enough. Odder? He said he’d always wondered about this line of poetry and said the line. Dutton asked Whose line is it? Leonard Cohen. Person in seat wondered what Cohen meant by that. Then the man ambled out again, waking his friend who was watching a video display. Ah, the flavor of going there in person. It’s like the sticky floor in a movie theatre. A DVD just isn’t as rich.

More interesting and absorbing than the sideshow was the reading itself.
Paul Dutton

He read a different selection from Several Women Dancing, a broken narrative of the interesting layering of dreamscapes of his novel, which itself has some lovely resonant phrases such as my guts succombing to a sag of desire and meditations around the love interest’s toes and their tiny several cleavages.

He did more sound pieces as well. It’s an interesting perception-space like walking in slow motion until time distorts, with a single phoneme looping pppppppppppp until it becomes voiced to bbbbbb to transition to wwwwwwww to ooooo to shift to sssssss and your brain tries to stack it back into semantics, not knowing the jigsaw borders. It could be a word, a phrase. The sounds fill out the room from the diaphragm and sometimes a resonance is picked up by the chair and floor. The voice sounds kind of like a didgeridoo by times. Eventually, (spoiler alert) the sound falls off and we’re left with Poissons.

Paul Dutton & Max Middle
Later Max and Paul relax with dinner.

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