Gavilán Rayna Russom has shared a new piece of music, it’s called “Trans Feminist Symphonic Music” and she shared it via Longform Editions.
Movement I: Elegy
Movement II: Expansions
Movement III: Beauty
Movement IV: Truth
Gavilán Rayna Russom shared this about the piece: ” I was very excited to receive the proposal from Longform Editions because of the way in which both time and temporality have consistently formed a central theme in my work. The possibility to create something in the neighbourhood of an hour spoke to my interest in the cumulative and cyclical nature of time. The specific spark that opened the door for this work was a documentary I watched about electronic music. Although the documentary was uplifting in certain ways, upon finishing it I was left angry and depleted at its failure to deeply engage the relationship between synthesis and gender at a deep level, and its neglect of the connections between trans femininity and composition with electronic sounds. The opening movement of my work for Longform Editions is a kind of elegy for the trans women who have been relegated to the shadows, or similarly negated through forms of hypervisibility. This includes myself and the piece directly references many works I have been involved in that were credited to others. This initial elegy and meditation on trans invisibility opened the gates for the remaining three movements that delve more deeply into music’s power to dismantle conventional ideas about gender and categorisation in general and in particular to express a femininity that is not beholden to opposition to masculinity nor to binaries of any kind. Primary in all four movements is an extreme attention to detail in terms of harmonic and timbral relationships. Sounds are placed against each other in such a way that their relationships stimulate additional resonances not present in the source, what are often referred to as “difference tones”. The piece uses the difference tone as a model for internal experiences of gender that exceed the fixed categorisations male and female. These categorisations were introduced as a way to attempt to regiment society and create a rigid climate of harmony which negates the complexity of human experience of gender. The difference tone approach socially models the way that gender, in my experience is fluid and infinitely rich and polyvalent. Limiting it to a binary, especially an oppositional one is violent. The harmony the gender binary attempts to create is a false and unsustainable one. The difference tone expresses the beauty of complexity without the need to regiment it. The difference tone is everything that happens when authentic human experience dances with authentic human experience. This is the power of the trans feminine.”
She continued: “For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the listening experience. Throughout times of deep emotional distress I’ve returned to focussed listening as a healing practice. For some time, maybe 30 years, I’ve made little distinction between listening to the world around me and listening to music, and have attempted to develop a deeper and deeper relationship to the audible as a way of being present for my own life and the web of relationships that define it. Attention is what creates the specificity of an experience, and specificity is what awakens time for the surging and powerful living entity that it is. Dancing is listening, listening is dancing. The relationship between the audible and the body is undeniable. I’ve found the depths of what is transmitted in sound, be it musical, conversational or natural are actually unfathomable. There’s always more to hear, more to understand, more to absorb. The ideal for me is when I can climb inside some sound and also let it climb inside me. Extended time frames help with that, it gives space for the first waves of resistance to pass on through. For me it’s often about permission, letting go of the idea that I need to be productive and that attention is not a productive or worthwhile pursuit. Which is really just fear. It’s one of the reasons I love clubs and DJs and raves so much, there’s not that pressure of a concert or a lecture to perform attentiveness, and within that I’ve found a much more nurturing drift as I allow myself to listen in ways that make sense to my body rather than ways that are dictated by some standard of what it means to pay attention. Like, for me, school was an exhausting mess and I couldn’t focus on anything, but the walks my friends and I would take through downtown Providence on our way home from school were uplifting, rich and genuinely educational. More and more for me everything is about relationships, and that extends to my relationship to what I listen to. What are the qualities of that relationship? What are we exchanging? Is there space for me to stretch out and expand in my relationship to what I listen to? Does it nurture me, awaken me, excite me? As a composer, even the act of listening is a form of composing, assembling the elements in my environment in such a way that they are meaningful and of service. And composing is also a form of listening, so I’m really interested in these relationships and what can come of them when they are given time and space. Also, oddly, I have found that listening to something which takes up a great deal of clock or even calendar time actually troubles the hegemony of the Eurocentric linear timeframe. Listening at length and depth opens up the ways in which time is all happening at the same time and the past, present and future are simultaneous in the experience of even a single moment.”
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