LOON SONGS updates the Romantic song cycle trope of the wayfarer into a contemporary context, tracing a day in the life of a backpacker arising in the morning chill to the end of his journey. In the Romantic song cycle, the wanderer has lost his lover and (presumably) seeks a tree to die under from heartbreak – suffering is posed rather than physical, a flight of bourgeois fancy. Stephen’s LOON SONGS cycle transposes the trope of wayfarer to contemporary adventurers seeking last vestiges of unspoiled beauty and reflecting upon their role and place in the world.
Conceived as a hybrid performance art song cycle piece, LOON SONGS plays on the dual meanings of “loon” to bracket Man’s commodification of nature even amongst “nature-lovers” (as recreation, as memento, as conquest etc.), as well as raise questions on the loss of sanctuary and spirituality in the decimation and rationalization of nature as resource.