Damn the Flood
CS, Digital
Regional Attraction
Adrian Knight Music
Total Time


01    Damn the Flood
02    Flood Prototype One
03    Flood Prototype Three 
04    Flood Prototype Two 
05    Bottomlands   


Andy Meyerson
vibraphone, percussion
Travis Andrews
electric guitar
Adrian Knight
Juno 6
electric guitar
David Lackner
Matt Evans
gongs, bowls
Michael Advensky
Tom Henry


As with so many of my works, 'Damn the Flood' began as a series of prototypes: scaffolds of harmonies, rhythms and formal contours, a dimly neon-lit fog bank full of promise, the faintest outlines of some great discovery pulling me forward and inward. A circular maze of great ambiguity emerging, I felt strangely captivated and yet distant from my own creation: how did I end up here? And how do I proceed? How to get out? The resulting work was in answer to such questions, but it also carried the mutant gene of ambiguity out of the laboratory into the exalted chambers of 'the work'. The fleeting nature of running water and the timeless, malleable concept of an impending 'flood' were images that helped curate the selections made for the final version. Meanwhile, the prototypes receded back into oblivion, only to be rediscovered several years later.

In a way, the unearthed prototypes are like items lost in some mythical flood, preserved for future times by archivists. They are lenses through which 'the work' can be reappraised, redefined and contrasted. The sustained harmonies cruise undisturbed over endless bottomlands, gathering a multitude of instruments in its wake, gravitating toward a settlement. If in 'Damn the Flood' the findings have been consolidated, distilled and groomed, folded up to conserve time and space, the prototypes present those same findings unfurled, uncompressed. The sum total of these constituent parts yet again aligns with the flood metaphor: the materials thoroughly inspected, their possibilities probed, the maze flooded as the only means of escape.

The start and end points are by definition elastic. Captured here is the entire flood expedition, the prototypes naked in their infancy, the outcome incomplete in its ambition. A fragmentary assemblage of impressions, the work is as partial a vision of some great discovery as a clockface is to the expanse of time – caught in the drift, this too is destined to be dwarfed, absorbed and washed away.


‘Damn the Flood’ was commissioned by Post:Ballet and was premiered on March 3, 2017 at SOMArts, San Francisco as part of a dance performance choreographed by Robert Dekkers, with Brett Conway and Kar Will, and costumes by Christian Squires.

The work is in one continuous movement with five distinct harmonic areas. Throughout, melodic fragments from ‘Here’s That Rainy Day’ gently obstruct the chords, foreshadowing the unexpected cameo of an invisible (prerecorded) saxophone towards the end.

The work is part of a series of works written for The Living Earth Show with or without additional instruments: ‘Humble Servant’ (percussion solo), ‘Family Man’ (electric guitar and percussion with electronics), and ‘Damn the Flood’, culminating in the massive 12-movement ‘Idea to Life (Success Stories)’ (alto sax, electric guitar, percussion, Rhodes/synth), in which the formerly invisible David Lackner is now given the lead.

Copyright © by Adrian Knight 2023.