Composition #1: Pregap



This is the room where the slow roaring sea was summoned2
This is the room where clatter turned to highway
This is the room where noses pressed against salty windows
This is the room where hail made corrugated metal sing
This is the room behind the auto shop/

the room where furniture is pushed back
the room where our jumper sleeves brush our knuckles
brush our bottom strings brush our cymbals.

This is the room where the ringing in our ears sings a new song each day.


Now, the ringing in my ears seems to seep into the carpeted walls, joining the damp, the duct taped paper, the coat pegs of looped xlr cable.

Now, the whump whump whump of the three bar heater, the sound of the roof gently popping in the heat, the 50Hz cycle of mains hum,3 a little louder from this amp, a little quieter from this one, the drip drip drip of moisture emptied from the trumpet’s spit trap.

Now, sitting on the sofa, waiting for the moment on the record where the band drops away, leaving only the arco double stops and behind the bridge pizzicato scrapes of Charlie Haden and Scott LaFaro,4 locked in a double helix, the light begins to fade/

like that time Sam and Jack turned up to the party early
broke into the shed and
sat drinking Danish lager from tins
staring at empty paint pots
and the light from dead TVs.
“There’s no sunlight here of course.”
“The shed makes a noise like a crowd assembling, but I don’t know if you are even here now.”


I formed several bands with my mates, most of which never played a note.6

1 Or, the ‘negative space’ before the first track on a compact disc. A reverse hidden track. Rather than the vomiting sounds on 1977 or the unlisted Train In Vain from London Calling, that can be heard simply by leaving the record or compact disc playing, a track in the pregap can only be accessed by ‘rewinding’ a compact disc to before 0:00:00
In addition, this will only work on some cd players.
My favourites is Welcome Welcome to the Hot Club de Paris (Can I Get a Rewind?) by Liverpool band Hot Club De Paris.
2 This paraphrases Clap’s description of the sound the nascent okay make in Toby Litt’s i play the drums in a band called okay.

3 The Velvet Underground used to tune their instruments to the frequency of the mains hum, though I think it is closer to 60Hz in the USA.

4 As heard on the final third of Free Jazz by the Ornette Coleman Double Quartet.

6 Simon Armitage in Gig.

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