“Earlier this year I had the good fortune to meet and work with the American Pulitzer prize-winning poet Franz Wright. I’d been an enthusiastic admirer of Franz’s work for many years but with the publication of the volume Kindertotenwald I found I’d made a very personal connection with a uniquely intimate collection of prose poems. At the time of reading I’d no idea of the twists and turns my life was to take in the year to come, the ramifications of which chimed so profoundly with Franz’s work (having already written and recorded the title track for Died in the Wool and my interpretations of the poetry of Emily Dickinson), nor had I any notion that approximately one year later I’d be sitting in a studio in his home town in Massachusetts, recording his readings from that same volume.
In the early months of 2013 I’d written to Franz in the hope of piquing his interest in a possible project, which I could only describe in the most nebulous of terms. As fortune would have it, he was familiar enough with my work to embrace the idea from the outset. Unfortunately, he was in very poor health having been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Cancer is no stranger to Franz, he’d stared down its barrels once before, it was a fight he’d won against the odds, but here it was back again, lying in wait, biding its time, time Franz can’t afford to waste as he continues to write with formidable determination, honesty, courage, and a devotion to his craft, his muse, documenting his fluctuating moods, insights, intellect, sorrows, loves and bloody rage in these, his last volumes, the latest being ‘F’.
At the same time as I’d been speaking with Franz I’d also been discussing a spate of concerts with Stephan Mathieu and Christian Fennesz. It now seems inevitable perhaps that these two projects should’ve come together in what is currently a brief series of performances based on an outline for a composition I put together as recently as August 2013. The piece is constructed so as to allow for freely improvised input from Christian and Stephan anchored by Franz’s readings and my own compositional constructs. As I write this we’re still exploring the possibilities of the piece following on from our debut performance at the Punkt Festival, Kristiansand, Norway, September 2013 and Franz remains on the other end of the line talking to me of Jacob and the angel and a thousand other things that have, in truth, helped sustain me, as has his magnificent voice as it resounds around the venues and theatres of Europe.
The trio is known as The Kilowatt Hour.”
David Sylvian, September 2013
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