On “In What Language,” a Different Kind of Airport Music

I’m listening to the composer Vijay Iyer and poet/rapper Mike Ladd discuss their collaborative song cycle, “In What Language,” on WNYC’s Soundcheck. It explores the inner lives and thoughts of people in international airports, and it rocks.
Iyer and Ladd composed the multi-layered, improvisational music/vocal suite in response to the experience of an Iranian filmmaker who was detained, harassed and deported at JFK a couple of years ago.
The first scene of my first short, Souvenir (November 2001), is in Charles deGaulle, where the new security rules spur the story into action (such as there is). Clearly, I’m pre-wired to like “In What Language,” which was first performed in May at the Asia Society, and is out on CD, the launch of which is being celebrated at Joe’s Pub Jan. 20.