‘Life’s Odd Odyssey’: Poet, Musician to Perform Innovative Collaboration Oct. 24
poet Jan Carroll’s words and flutist Julie Majkowski’s live loops launch into new territory
Local poet Jan Carroll and Julie Majkowski, a flutist and live looper, are once again collaborating to bring you a fine evening of their blended talents. The Oct. 24 event at the Brewing Projekt, “Life’s Odd Odyssey,” will feature perhaps 10 different works in a unique format of interwoven recorded vocals, musical improvisation, and poetry.
In October 2022, Jan and Julie worked together on a program entitled “Underwater Photography.” Their new venture may remind some of that but takes a more varied and ambitious turn. It follows a different path while retaining some of the basic elements. Jan’s poetry with its surprising ricochets – if it were a baseball, you would say that it takes a bad hop – and Julie’s flute following the flight of a butterfly in a world more vibrant than ours. The form has evolved as they continue to revel in shared play and practice.
The sounds, strange and wonderful, were perhaps never contemplated by the synthesizer’s manufacturer. It comes from a different place than electronic-y, space age-y tunelessness.
I sat in with Jan and Julie as they prepared for the upcoming event. Eyes alight with excitement, they spoke of the joy arising from collaboration that works, a joining of their particular visions to arrive at something better than what they would produce separately. They explain that they have learned to be explicit about their individual concepts as they negotiate toward the final result, surprised at what has emerged from their joint efforts.
I enjoyed my sneak preview. One number is poetry that is infused with jazz concepts. Start with a header, add progressions and variations on the theme, drop elements, and pick them up again. The tension and flight of jazz, normally carried by musical notes, belong in this case to Jan's spoken words. It’s not rap, but maybe a second cousin of rap; some shared DNA with mixed-up genetic markers. Julie’s synthesizer loops in the background, providing a counterpoint.
In another number, Julie takes her looping pedal to places where these old ears of mine have never gone. The sounds, strange and wonderful, were perhaps never contemplated by the synthesizer’s manufacturer. It comes from a different place than electronic-y, space age-y tunelessness. For me, there was a rich, dreamlike quality, albeit from the weirder regions of dreamland. Distortion, yes, it’s there and makes you wonder if this is some kind of new normal.
I’m anxious to hear and watch the whole show. From my little peek, this is art that enters an unoccupied gap in what’s been done before. A name for it? Got me. I see it as an expression that defies category. I dare you to experience it and find the right label. For now, I will just say, “This is really cool.”
“Life’s Odd Odyssey,” a collaborative performance by Jan Carroll and Julie Majkowski, will be at 6:30pm Tuesday, Oct. 24, at The Brewing Projekt, 1807 N. Oxford Ave., Eau Claire. There is no admission charge.