Moving About, Humming,
Still Our Flowers are Blooming,
Under the Old Portcullis

CD Liner Notes
Dan Plonsey
Summer, 2001

Keywords: CD Liner Notes, El Cerrito

"The Music of El Cerrito: Volume 2" consists of the Kingdoms Diptych. This is Volume 2a, entitled, Moving About, Humming, Still Our Flowers are Blooming, Under the Old Portcullis (nicknamed Portcullis). Volume 2b is a two-hour piece called The Wise King Taken by the Foolish One (nicknamed Wise King).

It is not my belief that liner notes can "explain" a piece to a listener, nor that they are a corolary to the music. Rather, these words -- along with the album artwork, and titles -- are intended as accompaniments for one another, part of a package of thoughts and images which seem to have come from similar sources, and to a similar person. The notes which follow are culled from lengthier essays.

If there is a basic theme, it would be two-(out of three or more)-ness: e.g., plants and animals. The Kingdoms of Plant and Animal divided from one another long ago, all the way back, one might say, but they have remained interdependent upon one another to this day. The history of the evolution of animal and plant species is really a single history.

The title (which came to me in two pieces, from two dreams) may be parsed as follows: Animals are "Moving About," plants are "Still." "Humming" is music, and humming is at the origin of this piece, an hour-long hummed melody, which remains as its center. Music is also a metaphor for language, and a metaphor for that which is intermediary among and between plants and animals: it is "About" their relationship. "Our Flowers" refers to whose flowers? A shared, diverse collection belonging equally (both as a source of nourishment and as storehouse of history) to every individual animal and plant. "Blooming Under the Old Portcullis": A portcullis is the iron barred gate to a castle; an "old" castle apparently abandoned and neglected, with flowers growing under it. Or: "Blooming Under" as a slow, surreptitious, even unconcious means for entering a Kafka-esque castle by the simple process of growing blooms right under the bars.

The music of Portcullis encompasses both the stasis and movement of "blooming under." Within movement there is that which is linear (the ever-changing melody, moving about humming) and that which is cyclic (the short, still patterns, which make up the accompaniment). Ultimately, though, this is more animal music than plant: music for a processional outwards from a castle, by people and animals -- including elephants. The elephant shit-shovelers daringly dart in and out of the parade to the special appreciation of the children: the cheer which is raised on their behalf is at least as loud and prolonged as for the King and Queen. Lately, the shit-shovelers have been doubling as clowns, musicians, dancers, and ministers of this and that. They're taking over.

-- Dan Plonsey, El Cerrito, August 2002


Dan Plonsey: c melody sax, oboe, voice, harmonica
Carol Adee: piccolo
Zephyr Adee: guitar
Michael Zelner: clarinet
Tom Djll: trumpet
Tim Madden: trombone
Tom Yoder: trombone
Tom Swafford: violin
Sarah Willner: viola
Danielle Degruttola: cello
Randy Porter: guitar, saz, cumbus, gong, porterphone
John Schott: guitar
John Shiurba: guitar
Ashley Adams: bass
Matthew Sperry: bass
Erling Wold: keyboard
Lynn Wold: keyboard
Mike Pukish: percussion

L-remix created by Robert Horton.

Analog recording and mixing by Myles Boisen at Guerilla studios.
Digital editing and mastering by Myles Boisen at the Headless Buddha Labs.
Produced by Dan Plonsey, with Myles Boisen.