This work is the result of an ambivalent relationship to notions of country and belonging, and the rituals that manipulate aesthetics and sentiment, in order to bind us to our in-groups. For example, I am appalled by the profligate spending that goes into fireworks displays, until the first rocket launches then I am entranced; I am revolted by everything the military stands for, but picture myself looking terrific in the uniforms; I refuse to stand for the anthem but harmonize under my breath at the good parts.
In order to alleviate this tension between contempt and pleasure associated with the trappings of patriotism, I commission my own anthem. Something bombastic but unburdened: an ANTHEM FOR 1.
In the spring of 2020, I commission composer Shi-An Costello. We collaborate. I give him an existing composition to start with: a piece of music that is already part of my morning ritual. Some of you may recognize it.
I choose vinyl because some ideas require an object.
Through the winter, other projects draw my attention away and it takes months from initial concept to finished recording, then 10 weeks to get the vinyl pressed, then there is a mistake with the label and the record has to be sent back, the label has to be reprinted. So by luck, the final product arrives in the mail on July 3, 2021.
Anthem For 1 is released on the Fourth of July. I celebrate my own Independence Day.