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Topic: Joshua Trotter

Backslash Icarus: Portamento Poetics in Joshua Trotter Mission Creep

“I’m trying,” we read early in Joshua Trotter’s captivating Mission Creep, “to make my words as portamento as possible here.” Befitting the collection’s title, ‘portamento’ is the ‘gradual slide’ (literally, ‘carrying’) from note to note, often in a style between ‘legato’ (smoothly unbroken) and ‘staccato.’ And this, indeed, is the tempo, an unnerving semi-fluency in which all 12 ‘pieces’ in the book are played, leaving the reader, at least this one, both riveted and drained, thirsting for more varied pacing. Why, in fact, would Trotter want to make all his music as ‘portamento as possible’?