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The ideas behind the music

The word-phrase Ratsinkafka is from Amanda Stewart’s poem The thing of it. The iconic rat from Orwell’s 1984 (= state/corporate power), juxtaposed with the writings of Kafka (= the predicament and alienation of contemporary humanity), conjures up an image to me which reflects much of the twentieth century.

It is not that only ‘bad’ things occurred in the 20C, but it does rate as one of the bloodiest centuries. Has the eventual domination of unbridled Capitalism set the world on the best course for the future? Is a system based, not on sharing, but on winning (= domination), a just one? The rich and powerful attain more and more, while the poorer and less adaptable have their lot improved by feeding on the leftover scraps from the masters tables.

Music & words

The vocal sounds are extracted fromm Amanda Stewart’s CD I/T and I aim in this piece to express something of the essence of her work.

I and IT - the subject and object raises many issues in the relationship between lingistics, psychoananysis and science. However, my take on I/IT is towards the concept of cosciousness - dependent upon the relationship between the perceived ‘self’ and one’s perception of the perceived ‘self’. Or, as Descartes has been paraphrased: ‘I think that I think, therefore I think that I am”.

'Ma' - to me, the most powerful word in the English language after ‘NO” - has childhood associations of safety and protection as well as its reference to the earth as mother. The Australian aboriginal people are humanity’s longest surviving connection to the past. Their connection with the land in a spiritual and a practical sense is profound.

It’s all gonna change at the turn of the twentieth century... - whereupon we forget the past and move forward with the New order - or is it just the same loop repeating itself yet again?


Most of the music is computer realized with tenor saxophone - Sandy Evans - and alto saxophone - Paul Cutland - superimposed. I love to work with improvisor musicians/composers. They bring with them an individual ‘sound’ and imagination that enhances the notated music and breathes life into the improvised passages producing a merging of minds.

I also wish to acknowledge the brilliant producer-ear of Tony Gorman, especially in relation to the saxophones.

This piece is dedicated to Andrew McLennan, whose contribution to Australian music and aural arts in general, deserves to be honoured much more than by this small offering of mine.

Colin Bright April 2001