The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

October 10, 2014


the original text occasioned by my mother's death, exigencies
of mourning, transformed by Azure and that Time of the Year,
and the words somewhat lost in the Cave and the machinic, here
unmodified, you can picture desolation, and the iconography
of meditations near and far, co-present with the sound and

sing-along, modified from:

texts/lt.txt:(what i stumble towards)

(what i stumble towards)
(what i have wanted to describe)
(what is indescribable)
(the tendency of my work)
(what characterizes philosophy: "philosophy has no regard")

the thickness of the world
the idiocy of the real
when there is death, the interior of a world disappears
there are details, one can see this in any past
the smell of a kitchen, the paint on the edges of the chairs
do the chairs need repainting
certain parts of the backs are worn, he sits there, she here
there's a sound they make, different sounds, pulled in and out
the dulled reflection of the chairs on the floor
when they were new
when they began to disappear, the last memory of the chairs
the light on them from the window, sounds of rain on the window
how high the backs above the table, their reflection on the table
the food, when the family may have been together
familiality, familiarity
when the chairs were comfortable, when they were turned
when we turned them facing one another, or moved them aside
when one of us left the room and the chairs were moved
fly in the window's interior
from the chair, tree outside, smaller then, different neighbors
sounds from the street coming in

the limitlessness of the world, its thickness
over and over again, peering around the corner
there is the world in uncanny, unaccountable, fullness

there is no theory for this, this inaccessible description
every explanation, there are heuristics, things glossed over
not the things of the world, but their fallen worlds
all worlds are fallen for that matter
all worlds encompassed with this thickness, inertness, grain
untheorizable, hardly memories, reconstructions, reconstitutions

with every death, it is a matter of ethics, this disappearance
   of worlds
with every death, loss of world and history
with every death, redistribution of materials, severed ties and

i return constantly to this in my theorizing, this loss
no degree of technological recuperation works in this respect
no quantity of text or discourse plays the slightest role
what is re-presented is always already 0/1, infinitesimal

sometimes in a dream there is a horizon of what is gone

it's almost present, not really, you begin thinking of something
you're thinking, it's almost present, almost on the tip of the
it's never there, it's not even problematic, controvertible

i imagine paths through the world, turning beneath the chairs
beneath or around the rungs of the chair or the four brown
   wooden legs
paths opening up to interior surfaces opening up recursively
stains beneath the seat of the chair, cobwebs connecting rungs
   to rungs
the smell of the varnish on older paint, flat faded white shown
paths moving among senses, spectra and bandwidths
paths moving from generation to generation, imaginary paths

paths of the scraping of chairs, people leaving for the very
   last time
paths of chairs pulled in beneath old new people eating,
laughter, crying, screams, whispers, talking, singing, filling
   the air

chairs of first and last times, inconceivable speculations
inconceivable principles, axiologies, hypothetical, hypotheses
not, no ideas but in things themselves
not, the last or second-to-last of the ox-herding pictures
not, the grain of the real
not, the practico-inert or materialist or idealist foundations
not, tat tvam asi or fundamental or surface negations
not, the interplay of signs, sememes, sign-systems
certainly not that interplay of signifiers, semiotics,
nothing that "might be said" to characterize, capture,

something of absolute disappearance, annihilation, of trace
   turned ash
something of charnel-house, but that too has paths, worlds,
traces upon traces, perhaps i remember 1968
perhaps i remember 1945, 2003, perhaps i remember 1789
perhaps berlin, ankara, grise fjord, kurume, providence, katmandu
perhaps street, street-corner, room, field, forest, cliff, lake,
perhaps you, perhaps another, perhaps others
perhaps events, occurrences, what happened, what happens

those anecdotes without endings, well what did she say, what was
receding into pasts, backgrounds, irrelevancies of the present
but never irrelevant, always equidistant, equivalent, always
and present and unaccounted for and present and uncountable
and present and unaccountable, all we can theorize is this,
collapse of description and uttermost alterity

the being of which knows no regard, is obdurate in the world
i'd write this, this error of philosophy:
    "philosophy has no regard"
of which is the condition of speech, language, any and all


so that i tend to produce, reproduce, overproduce
moving among media, modes, representations - this is all so
an attempt to pull back from death, from constitution
or somewhat of a release among interiority and world
negation gnaws at doors and portals
chairs and chairs, or wood, or institutions of chairs and wood
or ideologies or constructs: one crawls, lifts on the back
stumbles to the feet, totters, almost gets it in the air


the thickness of the world
the idiocy of the real
nothing in a seed but seed
nothing obdurate but always in a corner or path

everywhere the thickness of which "philosophy has no regard"
what has disappeared and for whom and by what means
what constitutes the disappearance and the world which
what is death "in this regard"

who or what, or what of or with writing, what of the


Available now for pre-order -

Cutting Board - New ESP-Disk CD Release! PLEASE SHARE!

We have a new release, already available for pre-Order!
Cutting Board contains 13 pieces, including three solos
and ten tracks with saxophone by Chris Diasparra and/or
Ed Schneider. I'm really happy with this - the music is
intense, often raw, amazing energy, and really in its
very own space. Please consider ordering and supporting
this music; please share this announcement!

ESP 5004

Artist/Title: Alan Sondheim with Christopher Diasparra & Edward
Schneider: Cutting Board
Catalog #: ESP5004 UPC: 825481500425
Release date: October 29, 2014 advailable for pre-order now!
Genre: "Experimental"
List Price: $12.99

Track Listing:
1. Xenon 5:38
2. Argon 7:35
3. Neon 3:18
4. Krypton 2:21
5. Helium 6:44
6. Carbon 5:15
7. Silicon 5:37
8. Oxygen 5:36
9. Nitrogen 4:18
10. Germanium 4:16
11. Platinum 5:02
12. Iridium 9:53
13. Cobalt 4:18
Total 1:09:51

The release party for this album will take place on November 12
at JACK (, 505 12 Waverly Ave. between Fulton and
Atlantic in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. C or G train to


Alan Sondheim, ghichak, cura, chromatic harmonica, Chinese mouth
harp, saz, tro so, electric saz, sarangi, sung lisu, ukulele,
qin, electric guitar, flute

Christopher Diasparra, tenor and baritone saxophones;
Edward Schneider, alto saxophone

Bio: Alan Sondheim ( was born in
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; he lives with his partner, Azure
Carter in Providence, RI. He holds a B.A. and M.A. from Brown
University. A new-media artist, writer, and theorist, he has
exhibited, performed and lectured widely. His band Ritual All
70, whose debut The Songs (Riverboat, 1967) was reissued by the
Fire Museum label, was included on the notorious Nurse with
Wound list of outsider/avant-garde influences.

Overview (excerpted from the liner notes):

Sondheim is the first artist from ESP-Disk's 1964-75 heyday to
return, since it was revived in 2005, to issue an album of new
material on the fabled label. Sondheim joined the roster with a
1967 session, Ritual-All-7-70, then followed up with 1968's
T'Other Little Tune. Sondheim got his musical start as a
guitarist, but soon moved into a much more original sound
utilizing a vast array of instruments from around the world.
Cutting Board, his eighth album, is his first instrumental group
album; his other albums have always either been solo (and there
are two solo tracks on Cutting Board as well) or featured female
vocalists. Though he's a pure improviser, Sondheim rightly
insists that he doesn't play jazz; even playing with two
saxophonists, he's outside that tradition's spectrum. The
eclecticism of the sounds he's working with sonically can
tenuously seem to connect him to world music, but he doesn't
play the instruments in traditional ways. And on rare occasions
you can hear the blues lurking, but it's not likely that Living
Blues will be putting him on the cover. Maybe if somebody starts
a music magazine (or website) called Beyond Category, then
Sondheim can be a cover subject.

Press Quotes:

Of Ritual-All-7-70: "...if there is a concept here, its
extremely simple: you never heard such sounds in your life."
Clifford Allen, Bagatellen

Of Avatar Woman: " prepared to listen to universes growing
and collapsing within their sound worlds."

Please consider ordering Avatar Woman as well, from Public
Eyesore records (also produced 2014) with Azure Carter! Please

Thank you!

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