Composed and performed by Kristin Hayter

Voice and Bowed/Treated Psaltery



STOCKHOLM SYNDROME began as a relatively simple prose poem with personally significant emotional content dealing with abuse, obsession, and absolution.

with hair is without arms. there are many ways to knock dog there are many hairs to split still. sit still split cord. cord to begin with gag of wood and then hair and then hair.


and again and again. haircutter this is myself as a child. this is my hair in a ring. afterward a table for the head that is left. with fork. to begin with straw or paper or fork.


i ache and stink and conduct the voltage with the stretched tendons in my legs and i love you. this attracts flies. this place is narrow.


love me with fork. i cannot stand. i retract my feet into. i flood with grease. from the mouth again. and again from the mouth with wood i am a throat conductor.


when without teeth into a fine mesh and wire for my other mouth. cord bound with wood in my throat. tongue’s flint.


i ache often and this is fine. there are many ways to knock wood and shove. hammer stomach on a black spindle. stomach cord with wood. hammer for my blunt side. palms up palms open.


without teeth i have more place for hair or wood. i have a line. a line is hung with me. when i am sad. when you paint me without eyes. without arms what can i do.


collar teeth at your throat. blunt side of the skull make me holy. liverbiter woodshover begin with a fat gourd. gore me from mouth.


blunt side of the skull. hammer stink from narrow. pluck cords in my sight’s harp. when i cannot stand or see i try but you paint me without eyes.


when i was a harp. when i was a child. when i was a harp.


harp is hair for hands holy holy holy conducted between the lines of legs against dog against dog dog within dog dog in a thick line against me to begin with. to begin with conduct the voltage from the socket in the dog. when the dog stunk for days.


blight and blight and where unto you my breath. where are my fingers gored of wood in liver. spat and emptied his grease spat black for days. i could not stand or see.


i flood the bed with wood. i dog up against the floor and ache. hold me. howl against palms up palms open on the floor. i flood and hang a line.


unto you. for hammer. unto you.

It then morphed into a much longer text piece generated using linguistic algorithms (Shannon’s nomenclature) and random sampling software which allowed the content to grow far more desperate and obsessive in tone.

This text became the foundation for the musical incarnation of STOCKHOLM SYNDROME. I could use ONLY what was available in the text to make music; if the word “holy” was used 18 times in the text, it must be used 18 times in the composition. Therefore textual constraints direct the musical form, thematic material, and harmonic complexity of STOCKHOLM SYNDROME.

Despite its process-based and anti-intuitive textual structure, STOCKHOLM SYNDROME is intended to approximate the fluidity and organic structure of a medieval courtly love ballad or minnesang. As a backdrop and anchor for my intentionally fragile vocals,  I used a drone created with processed and treated psaltery. I alternated between major and minor, and between eastern and western stylistic conceits.

The resulting work evokes placelessness, echoing the dissociative state of a person suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Something cohesive but disorienting, inherently recognizable but foreign, deceptively simple, lost.

This is the graphic score for STOCKHOLM SYNDROME, evolved from the electronically generated text. I wanted it to have the look of  a MAX/MSP patch, further reiterating the interdisciplinary nature of the piece.

stockholm score

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