lunch music

3 male voices, 3 percussionists, live electronics.

lunch music performance
Photo by Reyer Boxem.

lunch music is a set of pieces inspired by the notorious book “Naked Lunch” by William Burroughs. It has been composed for the dance performance of Club Guy and Roni (Choreographers Guy Weizman and Roni Haver) with the participation of Slagwerk Den Haag and VocalLab.

The texts in the piece are created using frequency analyses of different chapters of the book, where the list of words are often presented in order of most to least used. These are used both in the text of the singers but are also sometimes encoded in the fabric of the percussion score.

Additional texts were written by Oscar van Woensel based on themes from “Naked Lunch” and this forms the theatrical basis of the staged work. These texts are seldom used directly in the musical material, but the music is sometimes used to counterpoint some of the texts, spoken by an actress in the staged performance.

The concept of the music revolves around the idea of the polyphony of voices in “Naked Lunch”. Voice deconstructed into sound, text, utterance, and communication gesture. There is often the effect used of one voice speaking through another, in how the live electronics controlled by the percussionists is modulating source material. Just like in the narrative sense in Burroughs work, the voices in this piece are transmitting through interchanging persona, and in contrast to the corporeality of the subject matter are often presented through some form of disembodiment. Influential in the development of this approach for the piece was Ian MacFadyens essay “The Mouth Inside: The Voices of Naked Lunch”, where he draws up a list of vocal states that are somehow conjured in the book: key words such as Merging, Mouthing, Ventriloquizing, Shapeshifting, Desanitizing, Elegizing, Telegraphing and so on.

There are several pop songs from the 50s and 60s used in the work and these are: “Shakin' All Over” by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, “I've Had It” by the Bell Notes, and “Greenfields” by The Brothers Four.

lunch music

  • 1. Smell Down Death (7″)
    tutti voices - stones - bass drum - turntables
  • 2. Spaced I (3″)
    duo: bass-baritone - bass drum with brush - needle bouncing
  • 3. Boy (5″)
    tenor solo - autotune-keyboard - turntables - timbila
  • 4. Fats World (7″)
    tutti voices - small objects duo - turntables elec
  • 5. Shakin (2″)
    turntable remix of 50s rock n roll song
  • 6. Spaced II (4″)
    duo: tenor-bass - megaphones - bullroarer - radio
  • 7. Like Replicas (7″)
    baritone solo - bull roarers
  • 8. Speed Days (6″)
    tutti voices - timbal - box kit - sampler
  • 9. Delirium (4″)
    timbila, percussion, electronics
  • 10. Spaced III (4″)
    duo: tenor - baritone - silent keys - quiet metal
  • 11. Gut Thoughts & Greenfields (7″)
    bass solo - autotune keyboard - metal percussion and song on vinyl
  • 12. Interzone (8″)
    tutti voices - telegraph keys and percussion
  • 13. A step further (6″)
    trio perc and song
  • 14. La la la (5″)
    tutti voices and elce

performance history

  • 24 October 2013; Premiere at the Oosterpoort, Groningen.
  • October 2013 → February 2014; 20 date Dutch tour.