An Introduction to Prattle and Din

In March, 1996 an 18-year old ambition, born in 1978 when I received a copy of An America Prayer for Christmas, came face to face with reality: I bought a 4-track cassette recorder and began to construct audio compositions consisting of my poetry and other sounds. Prattle and Din is a document of that adventure. Maybe I can help or inspire you on your own journey. Maybe I can even give pleasure and entertainment, whether through my art or the story of its creation. Maybe this blog is nothing more than a cautionary tale of why you should leave recording to the professionals.

My name is Michael Myshack. Online I am known as Swampmessiah. I was born in Duluth, Minnesota, 1957. I’ve lived in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region since 1984. I’ve been with someone since 1985 and we have two children, born in 1991 and 1996. You’ll get to know more about me as you get to know my art.

It is my intention to upload all my recordings, both audio compositions and the unadorned readings of my poems, and then to commence telling you the tale of the creation of each. As of 2014 there are approximately 80 audio constructions, which will be presented individually, and dozens of voice-only recordings, which were done as “books” and will be presented collectively.

When it makes sense to show you how a piece has developed I will include several incarnations (I call them drafts). Often I’ll focus my narrative on sound sources, when they seem interesting—things I’ve recorded myself, things not generally considered musical, things I’ve mangled beyond recognition. Sometimes I’ll focus on the content of the poem or rant. Perhaps too often for some readers, I’ll focus on the techniques and machinery of recording. Usually I’ll have something to say about all three.

I suppose you could say art is my calling. It’s more realistic to consider it an aspect of my thinking process, a way of working through whatever it is that’s on my mind. My habit has been to complete the work of art, while the thought itself continues to get tossed around for years to come, perhaps leading to more works of art. While I’ve made a point of not marketing what I make, so there’s no real need for an artifact, it’s only recently I’ve come to understand that my hands and body need to make something, to be part of the process, in order for me to think.

I do not write for the fallacy known as the general audience. Nothing here is rated G. My poetry and rants tend to explore the dark side of human nature and the insidious aspects of institutions and traditions. These works are not crude or explicit for shock value but are expressed in a manner that seems to fit the subject. I am an adamant believer in free speech, irreverence, and honesty—probably in that order.

Beyond that, all I can say is peruse, read, listen, think, create.

 

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