Two Half-Wits and a Jester


It’s all a hazy dream. Dancers commissioned me to compose a piece of music.

Believe it. I was not hit by a car. I was recording music for a commission, post mortem. Here’s what happened. It’s all a hazy dream at this point. “Samson Y Hiss, can you compose a piece of music for me and my dance partner?” There was a dinner party and shimmering lights on the windows. “It should be quirky and unexpected, do you have anything like that?” People were laughing and tumbling out the doorway into the hall. “I want the music to be minimalist and danceable you know?” The room started spinning and my mouth began flapping open and closed. “But I need it by January. That’s a month away. Can you do it?” The hum in my ears came to a screeching halt. I finished eating a truffle off my neighbor’s plate and asked, “What’s the pay?”

Through trips, and trips to the doctor the piece of music was finished and I got paid. But in the end the creative direction changed and the dance duo left it in limbo. And there it sat for nearly a year, on the edge of a precipitous castle wall waiting to be blown off. Finally after reading a blog post by Dale Trumbore about her monthly newsletter habit, I decided to record it and release it. I made some calls, taped up my broken melodica, and we went to work.

The cover art is a spoof of an existing cover for the orchestral suite “The Comedians” by one of my favorite Russian composers, Dmitry Kabalevsky. I wish I could say we colluded, but he’s dead. Finding out the name of the castle on his cover was no easy feat. It wasn’t until I turned to Reddit did it come out. It’s the Monea Castle in Ireland. See?


Enough tonguing. Here is “Two Half-Wits and a Jester” finally. Who’s who in this three-way masquerade? I’m not going to say. But the room spun, stilts were walked and wits were tested.


Rob Reich - Electric Organ
Samson Y Hiss - Piano, Melodica

Recorded by Matt Cohen at Studio 69.
Mixed by Myles Boisen at Headless Buddha Labs.


Shadow work by Seth Astle.
Type treatment by Henry Choi.

Thank you, Roxanne Gray and Melanie Colvin (not two half-wits) for the commission.