Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Fine Art of Poisoning

Jill Tracy's photo shoot with Michael Garlington, which included "Tea and Taxidermy" (1st image), the cover photo for The Bittersweet Constrain (2nd image), and "The Immortal" (3rd image).

How did I miss Jill Tracy?! I am embarrassed to admit that I was unaware of her music until she introduced herself to me recently by way of this blog. She sent me her cd Diabolical Streak and I quickly latched onto the song "The Fine Art of Poisoning":

Jill kindly agreed to share what suggested the song, which I have interspersed with quotes linking to interviews she has done:

My inspiration for the song "The Fine Art of Poisoning" (from the album Diabolical Streak) came from a fascination of the so-called "Slow Poisoners," popular in the 16th and 17th c. Since early medical science had no way of testing, poisons could be slyly administered at a dosage so slow, it would seem the victim died of natural causes. For the most part, this secretly-served revenge was done by women, to kill husbands and even children, hiding toxic substances in the evening's pork, custard, teas, and jellies. A powerful statement of the terrible circumstances women were trapped in at that time. Most felt it was their only recourse. Visits to gypsy women to procure these potions were often disguised as religious meetings for holy and 'pious oils.' Morbid curiosity is both the intrigue and bravery to seek out truth in dark corners, to allow yourself to venture between the cracks of convention and comfort. A little fear, a little magic, the unknown, the forbidden: that's what makes us feel most alive.

Throughout the animation, you will see subtle nods to famous poisoners - in paintings, faces, etc. (I even make an appearance in a floating photograph.) As in much of my work, there are hidden messages and symbols, etc. Usually not discussed by me, but it is a treat when fans discover these things. We all want to believe in magic. It keeps hope alive. Sometimes I feel that magic and the suspension of disbelief is the only thing that matters. I think that’s why my music resonates with people on such a deep level.

When I composed the song, I wanted it to have a sweet, sickly quality--strangely slow - much like the experience of the poison taking effect. I'm fascinated with conjuring moods from sound. It's magical. My work is uniquely transporting because the origin is not coming from stale rules, trends, or textbooks, but from the kingdom in my mind's eye. I love to take people there with me. Aural kidnapping. We recorded on vintage analog equipment, transferring the final mix back onto 2" tape for that lovely noise, and oddly altered the capstans and tension on the tape machine so the playback was just the tiniest bit 'off.' You barely notice it, but you react to it. It has a kind of lulling seasick quality.

I was an only child and always felt out of sorts with the world. It was things like Rod Serling and 'The Twilight Zone' and old Alfred Hitchcock movies and Jean Cocteau films, I wanted to live inside those worlds. I couldn't figure out how you get inside those worlds and I realized that it was the music also that was conjuring emotion and the mood.
Animator/director Bill Domonkos created his imagery to the song, which is the opposite of the usual score put underneath a visual. This is why it has such an overpowering emotional effect. Every action is musical - the hand opening to drop the poison as the cymbals swell, etc. The netherworld he created is absolutely brilliant- and just as intoxicating.

The award-winning video "The Fine Art of Poisoning" will be shown at the National Gallery in London on July 24th, and you can follow Jill Tracy on MySpace and Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.