Sunday, January 04, 2009

Hiatt and not John

Paul Hiatt aka Free Range Human used to live in St. Louis. He now makes his home in Seattle, Washington. Paul started somewhat early and came out strong in the digital home recording arena with what I call electro acoustic acid collage. That's a quick label for an impressive musical human. Back in the day he used to live in a house on South Jefferson before the start of gentrification with a handful of other musicians. The band, Free Range Human (FRH) practiced and lived there. It was also a venue for anyone lucky enough to be there when the mood was right and B-flat was present. The band was one of those bands that could play anything if they wanted. You could have seen them on any given night on the Landing playing college covers, a british psychedelic gem and maybe an old blues tune infused with the Dead but they were artists and they didn't do that. FRH played a while but didn't seem to get the attention they wanted and toward the end there was a mixed roster of talent that made for unpredictable and exciting performances with players from Cenozoic and Potomac Accord dropping in.

Before Paul left for Seattle he worked on a project with me called 1917. While I compiled audio and video related to 1917 through an inner library loan system, the Smithsonian on-line archive and old 78's; I fed Paul the audio recordings to create audio collages that would then be dropped into a video timeline. I was teaching at Florissant Valley College and had access to a national academic library system that had a massive archive of VHS material. I was also taking a class in Avid for free in the evenings because of my faculty priviledges. Paul and I had farted around about working together and I quickly made haste to collaborate when I started 1917. Paul used Fruity Loops and Acid to generate sound beds that wrapped in and around found sound, bent notes and whole stanzas and worked with live recording. The image is from one of the evenings where we worked on some live recording did listening sessions. The inherent nature of the project was that of improvisation. Paul was really good at finding the sounds that had relative key structures while I supplied content and worked on the visual score. Superimposing the two media made for some amazing interplay. I kept some sound from the original video sources and mixed it with our audio collages. One of the highlights was juxtaposing one of Paul's supremely twisted theramin pieces to some WWI night time mortar fire and Viking Eggeling's Symphonie Diagonale. The theramin came from a victrola recording, very spooky indeed. If you haven't seen any of the early abstract work of Viking I highly suggest it. He worked with light and movement while others were trying to tell stories. Rothko and Newman came 40 or so years later.

I saw Paul and FRH off , watching his old white pickup west. While on the road he would start the seed of a project called 2000. I had taken the photo for it's cover at Weldon Springs conservation area. Paul has since released two more full length albums and has given me three unreleased full-length projects. I will post some of the work soon. Until then, get what you can from his myspace page, ask him to send you a copy - he's very generous and maybe I'll give him a little prodding.

2 comments:

Torchandtonic said...

I remember your 1917 show fondly; I would like to see more mixed-media shows like that in this ol' town.....

nosey parker said...

Hey Torch,

Mixed media gives you the full effect. I've got so many ideas, so little money and no time. How bout that full time teaching job...NO! Thanks for the props and I'll do my damndest(sp?) to give it another go. Miss Cleopatra is hot eh? I'll be posting some sacred shit from Paul. Be tuned. Adios Killer. Rober