Testimonium Songs collects the song cycle composed by Joan of Arc (Tim Kinsella, Bobby Burg, and Theo Katsaounis) to be performed live in Testimonium, a work of performance by well-respected experimental theater ensemble Every house has a door.
Testimonium responds — both in substance and in style — to Charles Reznikoff’s monumental work Testimony, a translation into poetry of courtroom transcripts of witness and victim testimonies in criminal cases and cases of workplace negligence, in the US, spanning the years 1885 to 1915.Performances of Testimonium incorporate modern dance, theater, and original songs written and played by Joan of Arc.
In a departure for the band, these highly structured compositions, developed over a two-year rehearsal period, emulate Reznikoff’s poetics by shaping themselves according to a mosaic method – rotating a fixed set of musical units in warping permutations.
The lyrics re-invent the strategies of Objectivist poetry, by turns surreal, ordinary, testimonial, and explosive, releasing the undercurrent of emotion in the poems while (almost) never quoting them directly.
Beyond collecting the Testimonium Songs, the record has a life of its own, with the contributions of stellar musicians David Grubbs, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Michael Zerang, and Jim Baker, additional vocals by Melina Ausikaitis, and musical material not included in the performance. The album does not feature recent Joan of Arc contributor/member, Victor Villarreal, as he and Kinsella are currently working towards the completion of a new Owls album.
The cover art was made by renowned Chicago artist Jason Lazarus.
The album will be released via Polyvinyl Record Co. July 30, 2013 on limited edition CD, hand-numbered LP (500 magenta, 500 black) as well as through all digital outlets. Testimonium Songswill also see a limited edition release of 100 purple tinted cassettes on Joyful Noise Recordings.
To showcase Testimonium in a live setting, Chicago Cultural Center presents, in association with Every house has a door, the world premier performances of Testimonium, October 17 – 20, 2013 at The Storefront Theater, Chicago.
Testimonium Songs Tracklist
2. I’d Expect Babies Should Fly, If Not at Least Float Away
3. Mosaic of Bolts
4. Stephen’s Song
5. The Bird’s Nest Wrapped Around the Security Camera
6. Jury Duty