Here is the excerpt:
For some time now, beginning well before hearing September, the title of the forthcoming ErstLive011 (Erstwhile Records), I have sensed an affinity between elements of Rowe's solo documents, particularly the four released in the last five years, and the prose sensibility of mid-life Samuel Beckett, particularly that found in the 1951-1953 trilogy Molloy/Malone Dies/The Unnameable. It has grown insistent, while remaining difficult to identify with specifics. I have mentioned it here and there to the few people I imagine would be interested in the notion, Jon Abbey and my long-suffering wife among them. I initially said things like Rowe is moving along a line of self-erasure, and Rowe is, like Beckett at a much younger age, reducing and abstracting his art until nothing will remain but pure consciousness. Stuff like that.
September has arrived, and has only clarified this idea further for me. I have no earthly idea if Rowe has read Beckett, esteems or is indifferent to Beckett, or what he might say about any of the corollaries I am setting out to make here. I know, intuitively, that listening through Rowe's gripping solo releases - The Room (2007), ErstLive007 (2008), Concentration of the Stare (performed in 2008, released in 2011), and now September (performed in NYC on the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 tragedy) - is akin to reading through Beckett's prosody of subtraction and loss. In two years and three novels, Beckett subtracted plot, external referents and multiple voices and points-of-view (even in Molloy the two principals - Molloy and the detective Moran - are clearly two facets of one consciousness), until we reach the radically reduced state of things in The Unnameable - the boiled down recollections and emotional states of the narrator. Are they advancing towards muteness? Hardly - Rowe, like his literary kindred spirit, begins each new solo work from a state of muteness, from an existential ground zero, intentionally making art of aporia (more on this turning word later), expression through subtraction. Rowe, from a 2007 interview: I was inspired by a quote from Poussin, a painter from the 1600s. In a letter he wrote "I who make a profession of mute things", which always struck me as a fantastic way of describing the role of an artist.There is an inherent muteness about things, that an artist brings out the possibilities from muteness. Beckett, referring to his necessary annihilation of Joyce's influence on him, said Joyce was always adding to it (prose)..I realized that my way was in impoverishment...and in taking away, in subtracting rather than adding.
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