Brad Garton

I came across Brad Garton’s blog via Tim. It starts:

Last week I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a fairly bad cancer of the bone marrow. The good news is that I am relatively young to be diagnosed with this disease and it seems that it was detected early. The bad news is that, well, it’s a ‘bad’ cancer to have. I think I’m about to embark on yet another life adventure. Hmmmmmmm.

It is a very interesting and thought-provoking read, making you reflect on life. While reading, I have also been listening to the two pieces he has composed lately (mm-1 and mm-2 snow), two slowly evolving ambient pieces built around a simple concept:

With mm-1, for example, I use four chords. Me, Jill, Lian, Daniel — my immediate existence. They cycle, chaconne-like, I don’t want them to end. For the choral sound I start out with a simple recording of my own voice singing “aaaah”. Why? It’s me. It’s my voice. I want to live forever. I don’t want to die. I slather on a lot of reverberance, it gives the sounds a location, a distance, a space. Paul Lansky challenged me to write a piece without reverb and echo, but for now I want to take refuge in the cathedral. Then I focus on the timbre by centering several digital filters. Get it? Focus on parts of life? This actually makes sense to me! The ticking of the marimba-like counterpoint, the workings of existence, it all fits into my bizarro metaphor-world. Totally arbitrary to be sure, and totally divorced from any musically-grounded structural system, but it all seems like it is real.

Brad’s music resonates very well with his story.

Published by


Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.

2 thoughts on “Brad Garton”

  1. Hi, Brad — I’m a fellow myeloma patient, age 70 and was diagnosed in November, 2002. The docs started me out on thalidomide + dexamethasone, which lowered my IgA to an acceptable level for a stem-cell transplant in April, 2003. The transplant was successful in lowering the IgA further, and thalidomide was used to keep me in a good partial remission.

    I started relapsing in October, 2006 with the IgA climbing to 1600 by December — I’ve had 2 cycles of Velcade, Cytoxin and Dex, and the IgA has plunged to 153! I’m gonna do one more cycle which hopefully will put me into complete remission!

    I share this with you so you’ll know that MM is not a death sentence, is very treatable and there’s some good, new drugs now available for use. Since you’re young, you have an additional advantage and the probability of enjoying a long life.

    Best wishes to you — Burt R.

Comments are closed.