Skin and Bone
2008 (09:00)
String quartet

Skin and Bone
Some time ago, in an attempt to understand more about the topic, I sought out first-person accounts by writers who had been in the grip of a condition that compelled them to starve themselves. Their stories were chilling and distressing. Each of the writers had developed the condition as a response to internal and external chaos; faced with chaos, the condition had allowed them to impose control. The condition is damaging and terribly dangerous; the writers all described several times coming close to dying. Yet it still manages to evoke a certain awe in those affected by it and even in those around them. There is something grimly ascetic, even heroic, about how a mind can be made capable of such regulation and restraint that it can cause a body to disappear. Skin and Bone describes a battle in a war not yet won, between chaos and control. Over stable drones consisting of unstable rhythms, dissonant intervals find an uneasy equilibrium, then lines climb and fall in orderly but overwrought glissandi. While the texture is often airily light, at times it becomes clumsily heavy, and never quite strikes a balance. Importantly, a gently pulsing determination is maintained throughout the piece. The piece was first performed by the wonderful Silo String Quartet, to whom I am very grateful, in Melbourne, Australia, in 2009.
– WG, 2011

Skin and Bone . Catalogue 087 . Copyright © Wally Gunn . October 2008