Two Timing was written using the first few pages of text from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake (1939). When I began working on this piece I was aiming to combine my interest in early Dada with my fascination with Finnegans Wake. Then, at a crucial point in this process, I heard John Cage’s beautiful solo rendition of the mesostics written for Roaratorio, an Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake (1979). (The solo recording is known as Writing for the Second Time Through Finnegans Wake and available from Mode Records, Mode 28-29). This was the key that opened up the process I was using to create the score for Two Timing.
I have worked with texts from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (1939) on several previous occasions in other pieces, but in Two Timing I bring together these particular influenceson my music for the first time (Dada, text-sound composition, improvisation, Cage, etc).
I did not use mesostics. My process involved separating all the vowels and consonants in the first few pages of Finnegans Wake. The I-Ching was employed to determine the length of every sequence of vowels and consonants respectively that would then be paired of in performance, using a very simple looper.
In short, Two Timing is a solo vocal performance of the manipulated material from the first few paragraphs of Finnegans Wake.