Sighs Too Deep For Words (2012)


Sighs Too Deep For Words (2012)

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Allos Documents 007

DVD/Film documentation of James's 2011 solo performance at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago. Hand-packaged in a limited release of 300 DVDs.

View an excerpt here. The entire film lasts approximately 54 minutes.

“ . . . the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”
   Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans       

When does sound, or the absence of sound, become language?
     Where do prayer and music become one?
        What is a moment?
           How can the self be controlled by the subconscious?

These questions are the heart of Sighs Too Deep For Words, an improvised composition held together by performance. The crafting of this work began almost as research, an investigation as to how I could create an environment for myself in which the improvised moment would be so heightened, so amplified, that I would be forced to concede to my subconscious mind. I wanted to push the boundaries of my abilities as an improviser and performer, when I would have to stay faithful to the concept of mindfulness and remain fully present in each moment. And I was interested in time, long time, when the clock ceases to be a consideration.

This film is one document of Sighs Too Deep For Words, captured in front of an intimate audience in a recording studio in Chicago on a chilly March evening. There were earlier performances in recital halls, schools, churches, galleries, jazz clubs. Each was a moment unto itself with successes and failures. This document is no different, there is nothing perfect here. Like the others, this performance simply exists, like a flame. I’ve never seen a wrong flame.

This is music, yes, but I believe it inhabits a space just beyond music, where sound and silence speak the language of prayer. This is an honest assessment. I mean no pretense. If I interpret the words of Saint Paul correctly, when words fail, sound and silence have the potential to become a kind of sigh and that sigh can reach the ear of God.

James Falzone
Easter Day 2012

Recorded live March 19, 2011 at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago
Engineered by Alex Inglizian
Mixed by James Falzone and Alex Inglizian at ESS
Filmed and edited by Ryan Nanni and Will Johnson 
Please Note: this is a live performance. No edits or overdubbing techniques were used. A few post-concert shots were “cut-in” but otherwise what you see and hear is what transpired in real time.

Thanks and Acknowledgements
Many thanks to Lou Mallozzi for inviting me to perform on ESS’s 2011 Outer Ear Festival and Adam Vida for coordination of the event.

Sincere thanks to Alex, Ryan and Will for documenting the event so thoughtfully and skillfully. 

An extra level of thanks to the souls who made up the listening audience on the night of the performance. This documentation would not have been possible without you.

This project is dedicated to my children: Giordana, Josette, and Luciano so that they will always have some way to know me.

I think of Sighs Too Deep For Words as a kind of conversation I’ve been having with other artists and works. Though not exhaustive, this list would include:

Olivier Messiaen
Thomas Merton
Andy Goldsworthy
Thich Nhat Hanh
Philip Groning’s remarkable film Into Great Silence
John Cage
Albert Lord’s The Singer of Tales