Saturday, April 28, 2007

[JFP] Recording the War

by Matt Saldaña
Image courtesy William A. Thompson IV
April 25, 2007

William A. Thompson IV, the Clarkesdale-born U.S. soldier whose alphanumeric acronym (WATIV) became his musical nom de guerre in Iraq, may be one of the first musicians to write, record and release material directly from a theater of war. Thompson’s “Baghdad Music Journal” is simply that—a musical journal that documents the sights and sounds of war. Using iPod-recorded samples of Iraqi radio transmissions, U.S. military-sponsored Arabic language tutorials, leaking air conditioning units and machine gun reports, Thompson does on “Baghdad” what all great jazz musicians have done before him—compose order out of chaos, brilliance out of darkness, “Alabama” out of Alabama.

“It’s a disturbing album, but it’s supposed to be,” he says. “I was trying to write music about the war that I was perceiving. I didn’t want to make any political statements. I wasn’t trying to say, ‘This is wrong,’ or, ‘This war is good.’ I just wanted to record (the war) in music, for what it was.”

[View the entire article at the Jackson Free Press.]