The Fungi from Yuggoth Project – Origin Story

Why am I sitting at my desk, banging my head, trying to create a hard-to-make, hard-to-listen-to album of H.P. Lovecraft’s poetry?

For my peeps, that’s why.

Let me explain: I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of H.P. Lovecraft stories in both written and audio form for a few years now, and I started wondering whether there was some common ground between T.S. Eliot, Franz Kafka, and Lovecraft…but that is for another post.

Then one day I discovered that Lovecraft had written poetry as well as prose. The Fungi from Yuggoth consists of 36 sonnets and embody more or less the same elements of “cosmic horror” that run throughout his stories. There have been a few print editions of the poems, the most recent one was done in 2013 and is illustrated by D.M. Mitchell.

There have been a few audio recordings done as well. The most recent that I can find is from 2009  by Pixyblink & Rhea Tucanae. They used electronica soundtracks and soundscapes for background music to wonderful effect. I bought it, and I thoroughly enjoyed their version – but it only covered eleven of the 36 poems.

There are some older audio CDs of the complete set of sonnets – I found one by Colin Timothy Gagnon in the Internet Archive – and there are more than likely others. The poems are in the public domain, so there should be quite a few versions out there.

So I got this idea in my head to make my own version – and I was going to use my programming skills to create the music.

I also needed cheap birthday/Xmas gifts that were made from the heart…for my peeps…

For the sake of keeping this post short, here’s the high-level overview of what I hope to do:

  1. Create a program that turns a poem into a musical piece as it is typed.  I’m calling this the “rendered” part.
  2. Record the spoken version of each poem.
  3. Combine the rendered part with the spoken part.
  4. Perform additional audio processing (I’m using Audacity) .

As of this writing, I’ve already worked on ten of the poems. I’ll talk about how they came out in a later post.

Welcome to Intimate and Intricate

Hello, and welcome to Intimate and Intricate. I am your host, Bryant O’Hara.

This is a blog that will feature my thoughts about – and experiments in – science fiction poetry, music, programming, making, and the intersections of these subjects.

Currently I have a SoundCloud page where I post my music and poetry, and this blog will serve – at least initially – as a “behind the scenes” look at what goes into the making of the pieces. Going forward I hope to start describing what I’m doing as I do it.

I look forward to all feedback.

Hope you enjoy!