Hear Patti Smith’s New Work With The Soundwalk Collective, a Tribute to the Avant-Garde Poet Antonin Artaud

The Sound­walk Col­lec­tive has made music art out of found sounds since 2004. They record­ed 2012’s Medea while tra­vers­ing the Black Sea and fish­ing for sounds using a scan­ner and high pow­ered aer­i­al anten­nas; 2014’s Last Beat used con­tact micro­phones on the archi­tec­ture of a music club to col­lect vibra­tions instead of music; 2017’s Before Music There Is Blood col­laged deep echo­ing record­ings of clas­si­cal music played in var­i­ous halls. This time, in their upcom­ing The Pey­ote Dance, they have brought in poet and rock god­dess Pat­ti Smith for a trip into Mex­i­co.

The above track “The New Rev­e­la­tions of Being” is a pre­view of what’s to come. The album title comes from a book by Antonin Artaud, the avant-garde the­ater direc­tor and author, who trav­eled to Mex­i­co to explore rev­e­la­to­ry visions with the Rará­muri peo­ple in 1936. Artaud was hop­ing that pey­ote would shake his opi­oid addic­tion. When he lat­er returned to France, Artaud stayed and remained in an insane asy­lum, receiv­ing elec­tric shock ther­a­py. His time with the Rará­muri stayed a touch­stone of hap­pi­ness dur­ing his dark­est days.

With a shared belief that trav­el expands the mind, the Sound­walk Col­lec­tive trav­eled to the same Sier­ra Tarahu­marar region of Mex­i­co as Artaud, vis­it­ed the same places he stayed, and indeed also took pey­ote. They record­ed instru­ments and sound­scapes, and then back in the States, Pat­ti Smith wrote and record­ed poems based on Artaud’s book, his oth­er works, and her own respons­es to the sound fields.

“The poets enter the blood­stream, they enter the cells. For a moment, one is Artaud,” Smith said about the record­ing. “You can’t ask for it, you can’t buy it, you can’t take drugs for it to be authen­tic. It just has to hap­pen, you have to be cho­sen as well as choose.”

The album is the first in a tril­o­gy with Smith about poets and trav­el. The oth­er two albums will be based on works and jour­neys by Arthur Rim­baud and René Dau­mal, and fea­ture sounds record­ed at the Abyssin­ian val­ley of Ethiopia and the Himalayan Sum­mit of India respec­tive­ly.

This not the first time the group has col­lab­o­rat­ed with Pat­ti Smith. In 2016, they released Killer Road a trib­ute to Nico and her final days on the island of Ibiza, where the singer plunged to her death on a bicy­cle ride. The album also fea­tured vocals by Smith’s daugh­ter Jessie Paris Smith.

Sound­walk Col­lec­tive mem­ber Stephan Cras­nean­sc­ki first met Pat­ti Smith, fit­ting­ly, at an air­port in Paris, as the two were return­ing from sep­a­rate artis­tic trav­els: Cras­nean­sc­ki from East­ern Europe and Rus­sia, Smith from French Guiana and Tang­iers.

The Pey­ote Dance will be released May 31 on Bel­la Union.

via Lithub

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Pat­ti Smith’s List of Favorite Books: From Rim­baud to Susan Son­tag

Pat­ti Smith’s Award-Win­ning Mem­oir, Just Kids, Now Avail­able in a New Illus­trat­ed Edi­tion
Hear Antonin Artaud’s Cen­sored, Nev­er-Aired Radio Play: To Have Done With The Judg­ment of God (1947)

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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