MARCUS RUBIO / BILL SHUTE
“Only The Imprint Of An Echo Remains”
(KSE #247, cdr album)
$8 US/$10 outside US (if ordering only 1 item…$8 if ordering more than one item)
I’m always looking for new ways to extend poetry into new areas, both on the page, in live performance, and on recordings. I’m limited by technology and money, but such limitations just force me to become creative with the tools I have at my disposal, in the tradition of the low-budget filmmakers I admire so much.
San Antonio composer and musician Marcus Rubio (now living in the LA area, working on his masters degree at Cal Arts, though still with strong SA roots) is a man with an incredible imagination…and the technique to translate and to flesh out those ideas into sound. One night a few years ago, I was at a local show where Marcus was on the bill, and due to a thunderstorm, the power went out. A few of us went out to our cars and got flashlights so we could find our way around in this windowless gallery where the concert was being held, but as this was a primarily electronic music show, I was thinking that the evening might well be over w/o electricity. But ever the postmodern trouper, Marcus announced that with a few minutes to prepare, he’d do the performance entirely on his laptop, which was battery-powered. And he did, and it was amazing. All of Marcus’s work combines that spontaneity and quick thinking and chance-taking.
Marcus had heard some of my spoken-word recordings and read some of my poetry books (I remember giving him a copy of the Derek Rogers’ 3″ cdr CIRCUM_NAVIGATE, one of the first KSE music releases, soon after its release), and I’d been a follower of his work for a few years, so coming together to do a poetry and music album was very exciting.
Essentially, the album consists of two kinds of pieces: solo spoken-word poetry tracks recorded in a practice room at Trinity University in early June 2012 (tracks 2, 4, and 6), and new electronic compositions (tracks 1, 3, 5, and 7) using the spoken-word recordings as the source material, composed and recorded by Marcus in San Antonio during June-August 2012, before his relocation to LA. I remember first hearing Steve Reich’s mid 60’s recording of his composition “It’s Gonna Rain” sometime in the early 70’s, and that was my introduction to the concept of using a voice as raw material for electronic composition, although from today’s perspective, that was a foundational early work that seems like baby steps on the path, compared to where we’ve been since the advent of sampling. Marcus has been very interested in Carl Stone’s and Robert Ashley’s work in that tradition, and they had a large influence on the pieces comprising ONLY THE IMPRINT OF AN ECHO REMAINS.
Working with Marcus on this project was a natural because he is also a literary person (attending a college such as Trinity DOES have its advantages, in terms of the sound classical education you receive), and he managed to use the literary material in such a way that the major tropes and images of the poems manage to bubble under the surface of the electronic compositions, occasionally rearing their heads and coming up for air. Thus, the entire album holds together—the spoken pieces were read in such a way to bring out their musicality, and the music was composed in such a way as to bring out the literary texture.
Marcus and I hope to do a joint live performance here in San Antonio sometime in the coming months, extending some of the concepts of this duo album.
Now, however, you should score a copy of this album, which includes a liner note insert, reproduced below. It’s not just a fine example of Marcus’s compositional skills, but it features some older poems of mine that have not been in circulation for some time, and pieces that I’ve never included in my public readings or on my various spoken-word cdr’s and poetry-and-music releases. A few comments about the poems are found in the liner notes below.
I’m going to keep trying to bring poetry into unexpected arenas, to extend the possibilities of poetry in the broader areas of the contemporary arts. Nothing wrong with solo poetry readings at literary venues, and I’ll continue to do those, but cross-discipline extensions of poetry are essential. In fact, I’ve got TWO collaborations with visual artists (one a Texan, the other from Massachusetts) scheduled for the next 6-8 month period, one immediately after I finish the DREAM STATIC project I’m working on now.
Marcus Rubio has been a major force on the San Antonio progressive/experimental music scene for years, having regularly played with Cartographers, the Nat’l Parks, Bad Breaks, and Loose Eel Ball while he lived in Texas. He’s also recorded/arranged dozens of Texas bands’ records as well as a couple of national groups, some of note being Sunset,Oppenheimer, One Hundred Flowers, and Western Ghost House. From 2007-2010, he played, recorded, and toured nationally with the Austin noise pop band Moth!Fight! In terms of future projects, he has a piece for violin and guitar pedals that the SOLI Chamber Ensemble is premiering in March 2013 and a new solo record called “h_h” coming out on Already Dead Tapes in early 2013. Derek Rogers and Marcus also have a collab that should be out in the near future as well. Also, Marcus’s GOSPEL CHOIR OF PILLOWS has been blowing away audiences for years. When I’ve mentioned working with Marcus on a project to locals, and they are not sure who he is, all I need to do is mention, “Gospel Choir of Pillows,” and folks say, “oh, HIM! He’s amazing!”
(Marcus Rubio, receiving from on-high the inspiration to compose the pieces on ONLY THE IMPRINT OF AN ECHO REMAINS)
The poetry used in this album comes from three 2008-2010 chapbooks, long out of print:
KSE #71, Bill Shute, “Objectless (For Kazimir Malevich).”
KSE #153, Bill Shute, “The Twenty-Fifth Life of Alcyone.” Sound Library Series, Volume 49
KSE #165, Bill Shute, “Oneness and the Sun.” Sound Library Series, Volume 55.
liner note insert included w/ the album:
MARCUS RUBIO/ BILL SHUTE
“Only The Imprint Of An Echo Remains” (KSE #247)
released November 2012
Marcus: A lot of my work is concerned with exploring the full sonic potential of a particular sound or instrument. I’d been interested in composing a piece that applied this notion to the voice for a while, and an initial impetus/inspiration for “Only the Imprint of an Echo Remains” was the work of Robert Ashley, but I quickly saw a completely different direction that this project could take when I heard Carl Stone’s piece “Shing Kee.” In Stone’s piece, a single snippet of a Schubert song is continually shortened or lengthened while being looped and the effect is absolutely spellbinding. The idea of creating an electronic piece out of a single audio snippet was very much in line with my aesthetic, and I thought that applying a similar idea to speech could prove really interesting. I approached Bill about the project because I’ve always been a fan of his poetry and I thought that it would be interesting to sample his speech on the spot during a live performance and warp it so that it became a sort of accompaniment to his reading. Instead, he suggested that we make an album (much to my delight!) and that we divide it into tracks of unaffected/unaccompanied poetry and compositions derived entirely from his speech. The poems that Bill picked for this record were absolutely perfect and each contained a section that I looked at as a manifesto for the compositional aspects of each work. Additionally, Bill’s naturally musical and resonant speaking voice wound up being ripe for creating new sounds out of. Inspired by the texts of his poems, I chose to affect/alter his speech differently on each track to fit with the mood of each text. Therefore, the manipulation ranges from granular synthesis to spectral reduction to running the texts through a Kaoss pad,etc… In the end, the results pleasantly varied from the initial inspiration of Stone/Ashley but the idea of creating the maximal sound from minimal materials is definitely still at play. This was one of my favorite compositional projects that I’ve worked on and the combination of Bill’s texts and voice made this (in my opinion) a really synergetic combination!
The texts in the spoken-word tracks (2, 4, 6) used as the raw material for Marcus’s compositions (1, 3, 5, 7) were composed and originally published in 2007-2009. ONENESS AND THE SUN was written in Lubbock, TX, hence the paranoid and claustrophobic feel (think “Jackson County Jail,” thirty years later); OBJECTLESS was dedicated to and inspired by the painter Kazimir Malevich and the piece uses no nouns or pronouns (hence, no OBJECTS); THE TWENTY-FIFTH LIFE OF ALCYONE was inspired by the two volumes of THE LIVES OF ALCYONE, where C.W. Leadbeater claimed to have channeled 48 past lives of the then-young J. Krishnamurti. I thought I’d add another one to the mix.
(Marcus, channeling his inner-Noah Howard)
Get your copy now. $8 ppd. in the US ($10 outside US if ordering only one item) payable via paypal to
And while ordering, why not sample some of our other experimental music CDR’s and spoken-word CDR’s:
full-sized CDR’s ($8.00 each, ppd. in US—add $2 postage if outside the US and ordering only 1 item)
KSE #247 (CDR), MARCUS RUBIO & BILL SHUTE, “Only The Imprint Of An Echo Remains” (poetry and electronic music album, recorded in San Antonio, TX)
KSE #237 (CDR), MICHAEL BARRETT & MIKE GRIFFIN, “Birtual Seme-Alabak” (the long awaited PARASHI/BELLTONESUICIDE duo album!)
KSE #238 (CDR), DANIEL HIPOLITO/EVA KELLY/BILL SHUTE, “Fascination”
KSE #235 (CDR), BOOK OF SHADOWS, “Chimaera”
KSE #228 (CDR), UNMOOR, “Night Driver”
KSE #226 (CDR), DEREK ROGERS, “Born Into Systems”
KSE #223 (CDR), ALISTAIR CROSBIE, “A Campfire In The Snow”
KSE #214 (CDR), SABRINA SIEGEL,”Bottlecaps”
KSE #207 (CDR), ALFRED 23 HARTH & CARL STONE, “Gift Fig”
KSE #206 (CDR), ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE, “Emilio “
KSE #222 (CDR), MASSIMO MAGEE, “Sopranino Solo, “ cover art by MP Landis.
KSE #220 (CDR), MATT KREFTING, “Sweet Days of Discipline”
KSE #208 (CDR), ANTHONY GUERRA & BILL SHUTE, “subtraction” (limited USA re-press of CD originally issued on Black Petal Records, Australia)
KSE #213 (CDR), Bill Shute, “Junk Sculpture from the New Gilded Age.” (2nd spoken-word poetry album)
KSE # 210 (CDR), HEATHER LEIGH, “Empire”
As always, thank you for your support of independent DIY micro-labels and small presses…