Text of Light does not perform soundtracks to the films of Stan Brakhage. Rather it uses the film as a further element for improvisation, almost as a fifth (or sixth) performer. While Brakhage intended for these films to be screened silently as films , when framed in and of themselves in a movie theatre,in Text of Light presentations they are
being juxtaposed with the music, in a kind of real-time performance, mixed-media collage. Any of the Text of Light performers may or may not be viewing the film as it unspools, and may or may not be reacting to what's happening on screen--just as they may or may not be reacting to the sounds of any of the other individual performers. AMM used to loop the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" and improvise with the loop running, but they would not necessarily be "accompanying" the song, or even reacting to it. Derek Bailey would prepare a tape of silences broken by brief interludes of guitar and perform solo improvisations with it, never knowing exactly when the taped guitar would come in. Text of Light represents an extension of these free improvisational experiments into an intermedia environment. What is exciting is when certain members are engaged in a kind of dialogue with the film, and the others are just reacting to this, setting up a chain of events that is unique in audio/visual performance situations. Also of note is the role of records and the turntablist, which is crucial to Text of Light.