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  • mattcam
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mattcam on 1/25/2012


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Kurt Vonnegut reads one of the best bits from Slaughterhouse Five, with music by Simon Haselev. So it goes.


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Kurt Vonnegut / Simon Heselev

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mattcam

The vocals throughout this track are taken directly from Chapter 4 of Kurt Vonnegut's recording of of "Slaughterhouse Five."

mattcam

The vocals throughout this track are taken directly from Chapter 4 of Kurt Vonnegut's recording of of "Slaughterhouse Five."

mattcam

Although this excerpt doesn't mention a storm, I like the composer's implication that the weather was partly to blame for keeping Billy up.

mattcam

Billy Pilgrim is the protaganist of "Slaughterhouse Five." Vonnegut made it reasonably clear, both within the text and in interviews, that Billy is a "Mary Sue."

mattcam

(A "Mary Sue" is a sort of idealized [or in this case, less-than-ideal] author surrogate.)

mattcam

This version of Chapter Four has been heavily abridged (possibly re-recorded entirely by the author), and does not mention that Billy knows that he is about to be abducted by the Tralfamadorians in about an hour.

mattcam

Maybe a lazy "Alice in Wonderland" reference, given what happens to Billy immediately after this.

mattcam

"So it goes" is the most prevalent of several recurring motifs in "Slaughterhouse Five." It most often follows some mention of or reference to death.

mattcam

"So it goes" is the most prevalent of several recurring motifs in "Slaughterhouse Five." It most often follows some mention of or reference to death.

mattcam

Billy's swinging the bottle "like a dinner bell" is both a perfect word-picture and a way to help us see Billy for the bumbling naif that he is.

mattcam

Billy spends most of "Slaughterhouse Five" "unstuck" in time, simultaneously experiencing a number of events at once. I've always thought this device is presented as a sort of natural mechanism for coping with the horrors that Billy/Vonnegut witnessed dur

mattcam

Billy spends most of "Slaughterhouse Five" "unstuck" in time, simultaneously experiencing a number of events at once. I've always thought this device is presented as a sort of natural mechanism for coping with the horrors that Billy/Vonnegut witnessed dur

mattcam

I kind of love/hate this echo effect... I understand why the composer went for it, but Vonnegut should really be allowed to speak for himself.

mattcam

Kurt Vonnegut really, really hated WWII. Mostly because he lived through it.

mattcam

Vonnegut's Gedankenexperiment: What do you get when you watch a war movie backwards?

mattcam

Answer: A pacifist fantasy.

mattcam

Haselev's backbeat brings out the energy of this set piece without downplaying the heartbreak.

mattcam

Vonnegut is a master of irony, but he really hits his peak here when he really gets into the idea of reframing a bleak war movie as a story about hope and pulling together to save lives simply by running it backwards.

mattcam

Bombers as gatherers.

mattcam

Bombers as gatherers.

mattcam

The jazzy piano interludes worked for me the third time I listened to this.

mattcam

AA guns as anti-anti-aircraft guns.

mattcam

"...and made everything and everybody as good as new." Gets me every time.

mattcam

Rosie the Salvager?

mattcam

I like how the wordless vocals seem not-quite-human.

mattcam

"...so they would never hurt anybody ever again." Remember that the person who both wrote and is reading this personally witnessed one of the most ruthless firebombings of WWII.

mattcam

"...that wasn't in the movie; Billy was extrapolating."

mattcam

"So it goes."

mattcam

I like to think that Heselev's backbeat and piano perfectly capture the quiet fatalism of the entire novel.