The Merigars "The Language Of Now " ( 1995)
Released in 1995, The Merigars was the collaboration project of poet Joshua Peck ( from Tulsa) and Broca’s Area ( John Sosnowski and Mike Delany) who operated out of Buffalo at the time.
Peck had been working in the home taping arena already with especial focus on his earthy and personal writing and Broca’s Area was well known with their cinematic instrumental approach crafted out of drum machine, keyboards and guitar. This turned out to be a match made in heaven as the combination of artistic approaches certainly created more than the sum of the parts.
There are times when the music ( which was recorded first) sounds like it is responding to Joshua’s words. It is nearly telepathic. Much credit must be given to Peck of course because he intones the words on top of the existing music, planted like a seedling in a bed of mushroom compost. Rich, moist earth that will grow anything.
This is night time music, or perhaps dusk with the shadows dominating, the silhouettes…what were they? A run down old motel, some farming equipment, a lovers profile amidst a grouping of trees? The music carrying me to a place and life I did not expect or know myself. It is romantic and sensual but not cloying. It’s like the memory of the past, remembered in an elastic way, somehow nostalgic and sepia tinged. One of the greatest collaborations of its kind ever.
A poster made to include in the mailing of the tape.
by Joshua Peck
My main musical outlet during the early to mid 1990s was Grainfield— which was an acoustic/electric guitar project I did with my cousin Kendall Boling. These songs were spare, raw, literate and intimate. It might seem a strange pairing with my words and what John Sosnowski was doing, beneath the surface there was a real connection between myself and the musical side of The Merigars.
I’ve been an electronic music fan since my teens in the early 1980s and John’s dark, cinematic work really struck a bell with me. I loved what he was doing in terms of atmosphere and attitude with his music and he was one of my favorite home-tapers. His music just had a “film” quality to it that I appreciated (movies being another obsession) and thought that it might be the perfect vehicle for some kind of collaboration between us through the mail.
I was living in a tiny house in a semi-rough neighborhood in north Tulsa, Oklahoma and had a makeshift studio I’d dubbed “Latimer Picture Room” due to the many photographs/paintings on the walls and it was on Latimer Street. John sent me a bunch of tracks in 1994 he’d done in New York that were instrumentals and I started dubbing my stuff over the top of it using the Fostex 4-track that I had. It was up to me to put anything I wanted to put word-wise over the top of the songs and I jumped right in using new material I’d written or things that I’d already published in poetry chapbooks over the previous year or two. After I was finished, I sent the tapes back to John in NY and he mixed them for the finished product which we put out in 1995.
I remember trying to record my parts mostly late at night because the material just has the feel of night to me. This isn’t a listen during the daytime release in my opinion. At this time I was an intense guy in my mid-20s and The Merigars reflects some of my overtly romantic, idealistic and wear my heart on my sleeve feelings I was hoping to express by delving into topics such as memories, time, the night, love/lust and other sort of heavy subjects. Re-listening to the tape I’m surprised at some of the word-play but also just how ardent I was regarding some of the things I was writing about at the time.
The Merigars “Language of Now” was the only full-length collaboration by mail I did when I was involved in the home-taping world. I did a track here and there with people but never anything this long with a theme or name attached. It’s probably the most personal thing I ever recorded since the words were derived from poems/stories I’d written, a lot of it was filtered through real life and experiences. It’s sort of a no-holds barred look at the person I was in my early 20s and while it’s a little embarrassing here and there, it’s part of my creative fabric and I’m glad to have it available online via the Living Archive.