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"During the “We Are All Mozart” project in 2007, I was doing some business in town—propane bill, electric bill, bank deposit, ash bucket, chocolate—when I passed a former restaurant turned into a Veterans of Foreign Wars post. I’d never taken notice, until this time, that its granite monument had been extended with another panel. On the grim grey blankness were engraved two words:
It was chilling. It was like the dogs of war had their mouths open, empty, hungry, salivating, waiting to be fed. I didn’t know how the VFW worked, whether they always anticipated the dead. But there it was, a monument once again to folly and hubris, waiting patiently for the names of the fallen to erase its blankness. I hoped it would stay blank, but the image wouldn’t leave. For all my anger over this war, I hadn’t felt this, this whatever-it-is that sucks the life out of its surroundings with an artistic de-animation akin to death itself.
The piece I had planned for the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, itself a lament, simply sputtered to a stop. It was overwhelmed by a sense of the disjointed but slow instrumental sounds, a kind of nonpop Albert Ayler Ghost, not classical in shape, but endlessly interwoven in simple shapes. I called it New Granite."