New Hopes Liner Notes

Electro-acoustic compositions for handmade sound-making devices, fake strings, piano, percussion, barely detectable vocals, and (in one track) a penny-whistle.

Funiculus

The funiculus is a bundle of cordlike nerve fibers residing at the base of the human spine. It is one of three areas of the body where white matter is located: the tissue responsible for passing signals from the brain to other parts of the central nervous system. Medical research shows that white matter is where hyperintensities cause cognitive impairment, clinical depression, and age-related mental erosion.

Durability

According to Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, human problems are insolvable due to our capacity for selective enforcement: we prioritize and default, seeking provisional fixes to emergent challenges. One might argue that our ability to compartmentalize is how the human species has endured as the planet’s dominant life form. Ah, but Berardi also critiques the visible acquisition of control based on social exclusion. Perhaps there is a price to pay for all that power.

Wings & Prayers

In 1748, the materialist thinker Julien Offray de La Mettrie wrote: “Man is so complicated a machine that it is impossible to define it.” As technology transforms our lives, it’s difficult to determine what the future state of humanism will be. Are we being rendered into gods with omnipotent powers, or simply making ourselves redundant in preparation for the coming Singularity?

Soft Refusal

Members of a religious cult called Heaven’s Gate believed that the 1997 passing of the Hale-Bopp comet would be followed by a spaceship. Convinced that this spaceship would take them to the Afterlife, the members bought an expensive telescope to gain a better view. Within days, they requested a refund. When asked why they returned the telescope, they complained that the item was defective because it didn’t show the spaceship in the comet’s wake.

The Best Way

“There was this monster. And you have to get far apart from him. Get in the line, go to some kinda place. Sometimes people talk. You say some kinda words or something like that. The last person that get out gotta be the one that gotta find you, so you know your way back. Other children gotta say, ‘What time is it?’ Which way is the best way for them? Which way is the best way?”

Pafko Oils

In 1951, Brooklyn Dodgers left-fielder Andy Pafko famously leaned against the wall as Bobby Thomson’s home run won the pennant for the New York Giants. Two years later, Topps Chewing Gum released a now-legendary set of baseball cards featuring full-color oil paintings of all players. Pafko reportedly gave away all the copies of his card, one of which was sold for $88,870 at an auction in 1999.

Meandering

“The months and days are the travelers of eternity,” wrote Japanese author Matsuo Bashō in the first paragraph of his 1702 work entitled Oku no Hosomichi. “The years that come and go are also voyagers. Those who float away their lives on ships or who grow old leading horses are forever journeying, and their homes are wherever their travels take them.”

Token Totem

Humans create tools to make tasks easier and more efficient. When the tool no longer works as intended, we have two choices: we can discard the tool, or we can repurpose it for another utility. Our relationship with technology is thusly transactional. Or perhaps the human-tool partnership is more like an ouroboros, our behaviors influenced by the resulting imperfections that machines were designed to eliminate.

Thank You: Chris Koustourlis, Wm. Wolfgang Allen, Bernard Madden, Juliette Ludeker, Sophie Hwang, Dogbotic collective of amazing artists, Ear (Re)Training class of summer 2022.