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about

The recordings featured on Exotica Suite remix and re-edit some of the texts from the book, Exotica Suite & Other Fictions (Shoestring Press, 2015), then perform these to music created by Paul Isherwood, best known for four acclaimed albums made with The Soundcarriers, most recently Entropicalia (Ghost Box, 2014). The recordings hopefully go beyond the usual idea of putting readings to background music and work instead to create free-standing tracks from the source materials - taking inspiration from Eden Ahbez, Yma Sumac, Link Wray, Sun Ra and an imaginary British-Polynesian folk tradition, among other things.

credits

released July 10, 2015

Featuring contributions from Adam Cann, Dorian Conway, Rebecca Lee, Arianne Churchman, Parisa Eliyon, Alex Crispin & Greg Walsh.

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about

Paul Isherwood & Wayne Burrows Nottingham, UK

Paul Isherwood has released four LPs with The Soundcarriers: Harmonium & Celeste (Melodic), The Other World Of The Soundcarriers (Great Pop Supplement) and Entropicalia (Ghost Box).

Wayne Burrows' recent publications include The Holcombe Tarot (2014), Black Glass: New & Selected Poems and Exotica Suite & Other Fictions (Shoestring Press, 2015).
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Track Name: The Hawaiian Colony Ballad I
Now in the streets of our New Kîlauea
we dream Lono and Laka
will find their way here
bid us “aloha” as we go on our way
wearing cloaks of fine feather
to brighten our day
singing: ouaraurau, ouraraurau,
ouaraurau raurauae

wearing cloaks of fine feather
to brighten our day
singing: ouaraurau, ouraraurau,
ouaraurau raurauae
Track Name: Creation Fragment
From: A Creation Fragment from Easter Island

The angry sky beats its chest, calms when it lays its hand on the round belly of the horizon, births all the berries that sustain us on our paths through the low hills.

The mother of wood is a quilt of drifting kelp who entangles her salt tendrils with a coconut shell and finds her belly fills with all the forests and trees of the world.

The tattooed cheek of the stone cliff is pressed to the open thighs of the wet sea, brings into being all the edible small plants and roots of the island.

The knots of roots above ground, the tangled nets and woven mats untouched by hands, snare the beautiful face and bright tongue of sunrise on the water to birth morning.

The silver lizard who takes her lover, the feather-grass, to a soft bed of sand, soon gives birth to the gannet, who abandons her to find a nest among white clouds at dawn.

The long tentacle of the anemone and the broken tail of a swift green fish lie together among sea-shells on the beach at noon to become parents of the crayfish tribe.

The grass takes its pleasure with a wet pond to birth the bulrush; lies later with a pigeon, as the seagull flies from their night bed to wrap its wings around a full moon.

For now the rain stands up in the ocean and comes towards us in long wet strides. For now the rain throws down its clear screens to veil all the beds of the island.
Track Name: Altar Prayer For Laka
Here in the mountains I invoke the shore
where it sparkles in the far distance

as I ask protection
from the dog
that barks at night.

You live among the woven vines and bright leaves
that shimmer on the hips of women

as rain blooms
and clouds
stand over the sea.

For you are Laka, who pins this open bud
of red blossom to her earth-black hair

as a night sky
strikes the matches
of its own stars.
Track Name: A Hula For Laka (For Link Wray)
She sits in the cold glow
of the great wave
on her new TV,
wears a satin dress,
sips from a crystal glass:
a single ice-cube
strains a meniscus
of sweet white wine,
bends the horizon of her nearest sea.
She turns to the light,
holds her glass high
as any tree on Mauna-loa
might raise its fruit
to toast the feathered cloak
of a setting sun.
Soft music plays,
surf breaks
on black lava-stones,
air murmurs
among the leaves of palms.
In these past dawns
she would swim
through any shallow reef,
whisper across
the hollow slit of a pearl-pink shell,
carry that breath
so carefully
between white surf
and altar-stone
not a drop would spill.
Track Name: The Hawaiian Colony Ballad II
So it seemed that months later
we found half our songs
had become half-Hawaiian
but didn't sound wrong
and we praised their Pele
and they our Tam Lin
singing: ouaraurau, ouraraurau,
ouaraurau raurauae
Track Name: The Sorceress
and if the Sorceress should touch the live screens of her cool glass hands to your feverish brow you will begin to see

you will begin to see

through the most unimaginably relaxing static haze

inaccessible things
beautiful and disturbing things
things bathed in no light ever seen in nature

you will see the last white leopard left alive in the world

the last white leopard left alive in the world where she rolls like a kitten, over and over inside her mountain cave among dark blue shadows and thick red dust

you will be lured by skin under liquid silk, learn to love the sight of skin on screens, expensive skin, skin whose cleansers and creams are all absorbed

you will learn the allure of exclusive skin, alone

and when the Sorceress draws her translucent sleeve across your face, hides her own distracted eyes then leans down to speak with you, alone

leans in so close her breath is yours

you will not see that her fingers are made for transmission, never notice that her finger-nails are ten transistors painted cherry-red

you will only know her voice and breath

you are adrift already

you are lulled into the most reassuring state you will ever sleep, to dream with no trace of restlessness

to dream of the last white leopard left alive in the world

the last white leopard left alive in the world as she rolls like a kitten among the dark blue shadows, the last white leopard in her mountain cave, the last white leopard turning over and over through the most relaxing endless unconscious night you have ever spent in the breath of the Sorceress as she dissolves

dissolves you
Track Name: Ankle Bracelet
The grass around these waters is fragrant.
Now from sweet grass I'll weave an ankle-bracelet
that binds this hour of pleasure to you.

My fingers weave slowly, relish the touch
of stalk on seed while I loop and fold
each grass-blade into another grass to knot itself.

This is how the soft breeze in this clearing
tangled the long wild grasses and vines together,
barely noticed beside the cool water.

Like this breeze I'll weave white flowers
with long grass-stalks, blend in those blossoms
that must quickly pale against your skin.

I'll slide this pink flower behind your ear
now I've made an ankle-bracelet from sweet grass
and bound this hour of pleasure to you.
Track Name: Kumulipo Variation
Coral polyps build. Glass shrimp kick sand grains from the sea-floor. The shellfish makes his own shell. All stones are alive inside their hard coats. The male stone is bulbous, a fertile root. The female stone is cleft or smooth. From the sex of stones land comes.

The small sea urchin is born, the smooth sea urchin, the long-spiked sea urchin, the ring-shaped sea urchin. The barnacle is born, his pink foot clasped like an anchor to a pearl oyster's shell.

The kelp is set afloat. The bladder-wrack drifts like a net of plants on the waves. The sea algae that greens the hulls of boats takes its place in the waves with the lobster and the hermit crab, the limpet, the scallop and the giant dog-whelk.

The razor-fish is born. The nautilus hovers in the open sea. The scallop sets forth in the water, the hermit crab seeks the first empty shell.

Near the shore where humans await their call, sea-plants float in the wash of the blue waves. Traceries of root and weed strike positions in this new earth, extend land into salt foam. Stones end and the sea laps like a dog's tongue. Leaves strain against sea winds like patterned sails.

The climbing vine, its red spike erect at the fruiting point, brings forth the first man with a water gourd. His feet, set firm on land, stand astride the cold rush of a crystal spring. Hard stones soften around him. Green plants expand over the earth. Water runs through his cupped hands, bathes thick tubers and lace-work roots with a fecund wet.

For this night the sun darkens like the skin of a ripening fruit, brings the moon to shine like a wet stone in the heated darkness of its own shade. New land rises from slime and fire in the open sea. Islands churn in the water.

The source of darkness is darkness. The source of this first night is a deep-ocean darkness that shapes new night. This first night is a black nest that gives birth, carries all things up from the star-flecked womb of the deep.

The sea opens around these first shores as the sky opens above the new land. The volcano casts its red stones and arcs of fire between the stars as glass shrimp kick sand-grains from the sea floor.

Every shellfish makes his own shell. All stones are alive inside their hard coats. The male stone is bulbous, a fertile root. The female stone is cleft or smooth. From the sex of stones more land comes.
Track Name: The Hawaiian Colony Ballad III
Soldiers tore down our temples
and made us wear cloth
they put us to working
all the hours made by Gods
but each day we worked singing
our own temple songs
singing: ouaraurau, ouraraurau,
ouaraurau raurauae

In our songs lie old memories
of oak and pine wood
where huts stood by the water
carved with our Gods
on some nights we go there
and chant to the winds
singing: ouaraurau, ouraraurau,
ouaraurau raurauae
Track Name: Subliminal (Invocation To Sun Ra)
Know life echoes in sound and wild projections
far beyond this first incarnation.
Any trace of root brings the whole plant back.

Know all creatures instinctively fall asleep
when night dissolves the setting sun
like an aspirin dropped in dark water.

Know the dandelion lifts its sun-face
among concrete, wild clover and meadow-grass
no matter how often its stem is cut.

Know life echoes in sound and wild projections
far beyond this first incarnation.
Any trace of root brings the whole plant back.

*

everything is alive in the velocity of light
everything is alive in the velocity of light

but birds do not startle in their nests
or lose their footing on telegraph wires

everything is alive in the velocity of light

birds ruffle and cleanse unfolded wings
warm their speckled eggs in boughs

everything is alive in the velocity of light

while the sun's gently warming rays
travel ninety-three million miles

everything is alive in the velocity of light
everything is alive in the velocity of light

travel ninety-three million miles
across our nearest star's heliocentric space

everything is alive in the velocity of light

to spark against hard stones on Earth
& ignite lush fires in these wet fields

everything is alive in the velocity of light
everything is alive in the velocity of light