Walkabout, vision quest, walking in Dreamtime, all of it refers to a particular rite of passage from the indigenous Australians, but also in evidence in animist cultures throughout the world. The 1971 film of the same name narrates a young woman and her brother’s journey beyond their Western frame, but never quite able to follow the ancestor paths, or songlines, of the land.
Composer, dishwasher, hobo, fruit picker, sailor, microtonal theorist, instrument builder, writer, visual artist, philosopher, musicologist, iconoclast teacher Harry Partch was one of the first 20th Century composers to work with microtonal scales, writing much of his music for custom-made instruments that he built himself, tuned in 11-limit (43-tone) just intonation.
The Aboriginal Australian Rainbow Serpent meanders snake-like like a river across the landscape, sunlight reflecting the spectrum of colours. He inhabits permanent waterholes and controls precious oils and waters.
“Dream” (1948) was written for Merce Cunningham’s dance, minimal fixed tones of sustained resonance, influenced by Balinese Gamelan and divinations through the I Ching.