LMJ 19 CD COMPANION Contributors' Notes
Listening for Music through Community
Curated by Pauline Oliveros
See mitpressjournals.org/toc/lmj/-/19 for sound samples from the tracks on the LMJ19 CD.
Nameless Sound Youth Ensemble + Guests: Parenthesis 1
Nameless Sound Youth Ensemble under the direction of David Dove. Free improvisation by Paula Anicete (clarinet, voice), Chris Cogburn (percussion), David Dove (trombone), Ryan Edwards (guitar, voice), Juan Garcia (bass), Jason Jackson (saxophones, clarinets, other things), Matt Roberson (electronics), Jawwaad Taylor (trumpet MC/voice), July 2006. Contact: David Dove, 1458 Lawson, Houston, TX 77023, U.S.A. E-mail: email@example.com. Web site: www.namelesssound.org.
Norman Lowrey: In Whirled Trance(Formations)
Composed by Norman Lowrey, 1944. Performed by members of the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse (Viv Corringham, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.; Biagio Francia, Agropoli, Italy; Lief Inge, Oslo, Norway; Xisuthra Lomu, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Norman Lowrey, Madison, New Jersey, U.S.A.; Andreas Mueller, Regensburg, Germany; Pauline Oliveros, Kingston, New York, U.S.A.; Tina Person, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Liz Solo, St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada; Max D. Well, Regensburg, Germany; and Chris Wittkowsky, Regensburg, Germany). Performed October 2008. Recorded by Norman Lowrey. Contact: Norman Lowrey, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web site: www.users.drew.edu/nlowrey/.
The piece on the LMJ19 CD, In Whirled Trance(Formations) is a 5-minute excerpt from a longer work composed in late summer 2009 for and performed by the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse (AOM) in the virtual world of Second Life. This particular recording is of a mixed-reality performance in the Concert Hall at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey on 3 October 2009 for which I played several of my real-life Singing Masks while members of AOM located in British Columbia, Vancouver, Newfoundland, Norway, Norway, Germany and Italy played virtual versions of the masks. The event was hosted on Second Life by U21 Global on a server located in Singapore.
In Trance(Formations) is a simple conceptual piece calling for improvisation, "spontaneous order" (as Pauline Oliveros calls it) given a particular mindset described in the score. In this as well as other Singing Mask ceremonies, my interest is in listening in to the moment and using masks to connect with alternate realities; modes of cognition, if you will, or underlying fabrics and weaves of energies. Within this framework, everything is perfect. There is no need to worry about making mistakes. Everyone present is invited to simply remain aware of the basic conditions: listening, transforming, or in other words being in whirled trance (formation). The score reads:
Begin in quietude . . .
Imagine your whole being in both First and Second Life
as a "vehicle of transformation."
Breathe . . .
you are invited to
become entranced . . .
(trance)form yourself . . . by:
Sounding . . .
Moving . . .
Leaving space for quietude. . . .
You are welcome to wear singing masks or not
or to use any other means to sound/move/be still
Return to quietude, still listening . . .
Norman Lowrey is a mask make.r/composer and Chair of the Music Department at Drew University, Madison, NJ. He holds a Ph.D. in composition from the Eastman School of music. He is the originator of Singing Masks. The masks, both ceramic and carved wood, incorporate flutes, reeds, ratches and other sounding devices. Each mask has a unique voice. They have been exhibited in East Coast museums and galleries, including the New Jersey State Museum. Lowrey is a longtime student/colleague of Pauline Oliveros, is certified in her Deep Listening practice and is on the Board of Directors of the Deep Listening Institute. Lowrey has presented Singing Mask ceremony/performances in such diverse locations as Plan B and Site Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Roulette and Lincoln Center in New York City; The Deep Listening Space in Kingston, New York; the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton; and the site of pictograph caves outside Billings, Montana. Among his most recent performances was Into The Deep (Dreaming), presented in the concert hall at Drew University with Pauline Oliveros and The Deep Listening Band.
Sarah Weaver: Sema (excerpt)
Composed by Sarah Weaver, June 2008. Performed by Sarah Weaver (composer/conductor), Lesley Greco (voice), Anne Hege (voice), Sarah Paden (voice), Zevin Polzin (guitar), Margaret Schedel (electric cello) and Kevin Terry (guitar). Recorded live by Sarah O'Halloran at Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, Ireland, 4 July 2008.
Contact: Sarah Weaver, 111 E. 14th Street, PMB 279, New York, NY 10003, U.S.A. E-mail:
Sema is a Persian word that means "pure hearing." The term is used by various Sufi orders in reference to prayer, song, dance and other ritualistic activities. Sema dancing is also known as the dance of the whirling dervishes.
Sema utilizes a form developed in collaboration with composer and contrabassist Mark Dresser, uniting music palettes translated from metaphors with the gestural language Soundpainting as a processor indicating parameters for improvisation. There are four movements in Sema: Hovering, Appearing, Crossing and Sustaining. This excerpt is a segment from movements 3 and 4. The total piece length is approximately 30 minutes. I arrived at the title Sema through a personal process connected with traveling to Ireland. In my heritage I am one-quarter Irish, but I have had very little contact with my Irish side due to family tragedies in the previous generation. Over the years I have felt connection with my Irish grandmother, Catherine Rosemary Quinlivan, although I never met her. I wanted to write a piece within this ancestral connection.
During the compositional process, I consulted with my collaborator Mark Dresser about the title. I spoke with him about my grandmother's middle name, Rosemary. Coincidentally, this name consists of "Rose" and "Mary," which were the names of two aunts that had recently passed. Mark noticed "sema" in the middle of the name Rosemary and was reminded of the Italian word for seed, seme. I looked up sema and discovered that its meaning has a direct relationship to Deep Listening. Together the elements were perfect for the piece.
Sema was written for the Quiet Music Festival Evenings at Triskel Arts Centre in Cork, Ireland. The festival took place at the conclusion of the 18th Annual Deep Listening Retreat, presented by the Quiet Music Ensemble. All performers participated in the retreat, rehearsed during it and then performed the piece at the festival. I specifically wrote in a way that would reflect the Deep Listening practice and would highlight an approach to the score by performers who were involved in the Deep Listening Retreat.
Composer/conductor Sarah Weaver works internationally with experimental music forms for large ensembles. A specialist in the conducted language Soundpainting for over 10 years, Weaver utilizes this language to process composed palettes through structured improvisation. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and based in New York; her work has been heard at venues including Roulette (New York City), the Stone (NYC), Lincoln Center (NYC), Now Lounge (Toronto), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Triskel Arts Centre (Cork), The Banff Centre (Banff), Directors Lounge (Berlin) and iMAL Center for Digital Cultures and Technology (Brussels). Weaver is a researcher and performer of telematic music---co-locating ensembles via the Internet---with primary collaborators Mark Dresser (University of California, San Diego), Pauline Oliveros (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY) and Chris Chafe (Stanford University, CA). She has performed with other contemporary music figures include Walter Thompson (originator of Soundpainting), Marilyn Crispell, Karl Berger, David Liebman and Stuart Dempster, among others. Weaver has given workshops and presentations at University of Michigan, University of Iowa, Northwestern University, The New School, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University College Cork, Association for Improvising Musicians Toronto, ANET II High Quality Audio over Networks Summit, and the United Nations Headquarters. Weaver is certified in Deep Listening and is on the Board of Directors for the International Society for Improvised Music. See also www.sarahweaver.org.
Seth Cluett: fleeting and massive
Composed by Seth Cluett, 2008. Recorded by Jennifer Eberhardt, 1 June 2008. Commissioned by the 2008 Movement Research Festival. Curated by Milka Djordjevich, Jeff Larson, Chris Peck and Anna Sperber.
Contact: Seth Cluett, 310 Woolworth Center, Princeton, NJ 08544, U.S.A. E-mail: email@example.com. Web site: www.onelonelypixel.org.
In rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania, just west of the Delaware River, sits the Ringing Rocks Park. Approaching the park along a trail through the deciduous forest that surrounds it, visitors encounter a mile-long boulder field with rocks made of a substance called diabase. Diabase, the igneous equivalent of volcanic basalt, has a high concentration of iron. What's more, the rocks ring when you hit them. Ringing Rocks Park is the largest such deposit in North America, and families from all over the country come to the park on weekends, sporting hammers and hunting the field for rocks that ring like bells. Visiting the field involves a commitment to climb, to explore, to use one's whole body to traverse the rough terrain in search of sonic gold. From dull thuds to shimmery chimes, Ringing Rocks is about exploration of the physical world at the juncture between action and reaction, between work and reward.
I created fleeting and massive for participants on a field trip to the Ringing Rocks Park that I had been asked to lead for the 2008 Movement Research Festival at Judson Church. The 24 dancers and musicians who came out that day were given scores that could be worn around the neck, leaving their hands and feet free to move. The score consisted of text-based instructions for hammering, moving and counting, which afforded an opportunity to engage with the group, the materials and the location through an oscillation between autonomous and social listening and movement. The title, as well as the social construction of the score, is derived from a quote from The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel de Certeau: "Politics should also inquire into the public ("democratic") image of the microscopic, multiform, and innumerable connections between manipulating and enjoying, the fleeting and massive reality of a social activity at play with the order that contains it."
Seth Cluett (b. 1976, Troy, NY) is an artist, performer, and composer whose work ranges from photography and drawing to video, sound installation, concert music, and critical writing. Engaging the boundary between the auditory and other senses, his work is marked by a detailed attention to perception and to sound's role in the creation of a sense of place and the experience of time. The apparent tranquility of Cluett's work---at once gentle and unnerving---is concerned with the rapidly shifting sensory landscape of technological development and urbanization. Cluett's work has been shown and/or performed internationally at institutions and festivals such as Kill Your Timid Notion at Dundee Contemporary Arts in Scotland; the 10th Rencontres Internationales, Palais de Tokyo Museum and GRM in Paris; Hebbel am Ufer Theater in Berlin; the Osage Art Foundation in Hong Kong; The Kitchen, WPS1/MoMA, Issue Project Room, and Diapason Gallery in New York; the Institute for Contemporary Art, Studio Soto, and Mobius Artist Space in Boston; the Betty Rymer, Heaven, Artemisia, and Deadtech Galleries in Chicago; and the Deep Listening Space in Kingston, NY. He has created dance and theater works with DD Dorvillier/Human Future Dance Corp, Hélène Lesterin/Atlas Dance, and Jen Mesch. His work is documented on Errant Bodies Press, Sedimental, Crank Satori, BoxMedia, Stasisfield and Wavelet Records. He has published articles for The Open Space Magazine, Leonardo Music Journal, 306090, Earshot, and Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.
Tom Bickley: Angelorum (excerpt)
Composed by Tom Bickley. Performed by the Cornelius Cardew Choir (Joseph Zitt, Tony Williams, Tommy Soden, Katherine Setar [cantor], Bob Marsh, Cathryn Hrudicka, Brad Fischer, Tom Duff [cantor], Dave Cowen, Tom Bickley [cantor] and Nancy Beckman), directed by Tom Bickley. Recorded live, Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, CA, 20 November 2005.
Angelorum translates into English as "of the angels." This is a 9- section choral work created as a meditation on angels in the Judeo-Christian tradition. All of the sections focus on the angels mentioned in I Enoch 20, and their attributes and responsibilities described there. The excerpts in this recording are Sections 5 (on Michael) and 8 (on Remiel). Michael, as archangel, protects human beings from forces that oppress us and that keep us from realizing our authentic wholeness. The three cantors intone the name "Michael" and are followed by the choir singing long glissandi symbolizing ascent to the heights of human potential and return to the deepest levels of consciousness. A chime cues the beginning of Section 5, on the angel Remiel, the cantors intone that name, and the choir and audience sing the names of people who have died. Each singer chooses people to honor in this way. In this manner we embrace the communities of our friends, family members, teachers, mentors, etc. who have contributed to our lives. This emotional component (awareness of both loss and gratitude) yields empowerment to be present and contributes to creative life on earth in the here (hear) and now. The first performance of Angelorum was by the trio Comma (Joseph Zitt, Matthew Ross Davis and Tom Bickley) in Washington, D.C., in 1997. Detailed notes may be found at .
The Cornelius Cardew Choir was formed on May Day 2001 in Berkeley, California, by Bob Marsh, Kattt Sammon and Tom Bickley. The ensemble sings at the intersection of inclusive community and experimental music, strongly influenced by Cornelius Cardew and his circle of the 1960s and 1970s in England. The choir also draws inspiration from the experimental music tradition and musicians such as Pauline Oliveros (and the practice of Deep Listening) and John Cage. A number of members have professional singing experience, while others have thought about singing and are using this to turn that thought into sonic action. People feel free to make suggestions about ways of performing a given piece, ask for help, try an approach to composing and performing to see it that works, etc. It is a diva-free zone (divo-free too). The Cardew Choir understands its mutually supportive work to be responsible, joyful and liberating political action, modeling a community of creativity that honors each person's abilities. As Bertolt Brecht noted, "Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it."
Tom Bickley listens to the world, always hoping to hear more and more fully. He grew up in the semitropical soundscape of Houston, sojourned in Washington, D.C. (studying music, religion and information science,) and came to California as a composer in residence at Mills College in 2000. Through study with Pauline Oliveros, Ione and Heloise Gold, he earned the Certificate in Deep Listening. He is the curator for the series Meridian Music: Composers in Performance in San Francisco. He teaches the recorder privately at his studio in Berkeley and at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. He is a member of the library faculty at CSU East Bay. He plays with shakuhachi player Nancy Beckman as Gusty Winds May Exist and with recorder player David Barnett as Three Trapped Tigers and co-founded and directs the Cornelius Cardew Choir. See www.myspace.com/tbickley for more information.
If, Bwana: Cicada #1: Version EHG 9'
Composed by Al Margolis, 2008. The sound sources are from a live performance by Lisa Barnard (voice), Monique Buzzarté (trombone), Tom Hamilton (Nord modular synthesizer), Jacqueline Martelle (flute) and Al Margolis (computer) at the Emily Harvey Gallery, New York City, 18 September 2008. Live performance recorded on an unattended portable digital recorder. Composition "assembled" by Al Margolis in late 2008. Contact: Al Margolis, 50 Ayr Road, Chester, NY 10918, U.S.A. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web site: www.pogus.com.
About 6 years ago I began composing the first of what became my Cicada series. This was a 10-minute drone intended to be used as a backing tape and was designed as a "discipline" piece for three of us to perform with percussion instruments. The instructions were that in the first minute of the work, each person played once, in the second minute twice, etc. The performers did not have to interact with each other (or they could)---but maintaining the discipline was the main point. I eventually recorded seven different drones for the series---all between 9 and 10 minutes in length. The piece seemed to work best with three performers or more (and has also been done with one musician and two dancers---I can actually foresee many different combinations, including video artists, etc.). When working with the dancers for the version performed with them, a major revision in my thinking about the instructions for the pieces occurred. I had been thinking very linearly about the performative aspect of the work---one action in the first minute, two the second and so on. Well, the dancers asked "What was an action? Could it be the same thing repeated? Or stretched for a longer period?" In agreeing that in fact those could be also defined as performative variations, the piece could still maintain its focus on discipline, while becoming a richer listening and playing experience. (I have also since discovered that I can even play this alone if need be---for instance while using Ableton Live---kind of cheating and yet it works.)
I have since been in the process of trying to get all seven of the Cicadas recorded. Cicada #1 is in fact the third to have a recorded version (and a fourth has recently been completed as well). The excerpted version presented here used as its live backing track Cicada #4, to which we performed live at the Emily Harvey Gallery in New York City. Since I already had recorded a version of Cicada #4, I decided that the live version we had recorded might work well as the drone for Cicada #1. The version here is a studio construct using nine versions of the live recording; each recorded track (action) being compressed into a shorter and shorter time frame so that beginning in the first minute of the piece one hears the Cicada #1 drone begin and then a 9-minute version of the (originally) 10-minute live recording of Cicada #4. In the second minute one hears an 8-minute version begin, and so on.
Al Margolis (b. 1955) was an activist in the 1980s American cassette underground through his cassette label Sound of Pig Music and was co-founder of the experimental music label Pogus Productions, which he continues to run. He has been active under the name If, Bwana since 1984, making music that has swung between fairly spontaneous studio constructions and more process-oriented composition.
Caterina De Re: The Gasholder Stupa: A Pilgrimage Of Sonic Illumination (excerpts)
Composed by Caterina De Re. Performers included Caterina De Re (director, producer, vocals, composer, video, sound design, set, audio editing),Michael Pestel (Birdmachine, flute), Elizabeth Panzer (harp), Ryder Cooley (accordion, singing saw), André Laurent O'Neil (cello), Brandon Seekins (laptop, MAX/MSP programming) and Marshall Trammell (pocket trumpet), Surajit Sarkar (consultation, projection). Venue: The Gasholder (or Gasholder House) in Troy, upstate New York. Photography by Wil Lindsay. Live recording by Alex Chechile, 29 April 2006. Edited by Caterina De Re.
Contact: Caterina De Re, PO Box 27294, Seattle, WA 98165, U.S.A. E-mail: email@example.com.
"Do a vocal performance, involve community, use the gasholder." This was my inspiration for a structured improvisation called The Gasholder Stupa: A Pilgrimage of Sonic Illumination, which took place in Troy, upstate New York. Situated in my neighborhood of that time, the industrial building called The Gasholder is a vestige of Victorian architectural history. Like previous visiting artists and graduates from the Arts Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, I was magnetized to the site. The Gasholder's round shape and cupola top a potent acoustic space, with a distinctive lengthy reverberation, perfectly suiting occasional sound art performances.
Coupling Buddhist pilgrimage with an overly dusty industrial space might appear completely incongruous. However, layering seemingly disparate themes and spatial sources has often been my motivating force when composing soundscapes. Previously, I had lived in Kathmandu next to the dome-shaped Buddhist pilgrimage site called The Great Stupa of Boudhanath and, to consider it with the gasholder was, for me, an appropriate coupling of community spaces---both visually and for sound design.
Video artist Surajit Sarkar was a perfect collaborator throughout the process. As I edited video images, Sarkar suggested projections that reflected the circularity of the building. Various video pieces emerged, including spinning prayer wheels, myself dancing, birds in flight and a NASA space mission with astronauts bouncing around in space. These were hardly cohesive themes, but the bizarre choices worked brilliantly. The first time the performance team came together was an hour before the event itself, and only then did collaborators receive a "score"---a rough outline of the videos mapped to duos, trios or group sounding. The track is a compilation of extracts from the performance showing diverse moments. The first step in building audio components was offering Brandon Seekins a selection of my field recordings of people doing circumambulations at The Great Stupa, as well as other Asian sacred spaces. Using MAX/MSP programming, he improvised with these files, adding his own electroacoustic drones, and these sounds welcomed the audience when they first entered the space. Weeks before the performance I met separately with Elizabeth Panzer (harp), Ryder Cooley (accordion and singing saw) and André Laurent O'Neil (cello) to test their acoustic instruments together with my extended vocalizations in the gasholder. It was evident that the building itself was a perfect audio "processor." Michael Pestel's keen sense of environmental space was hugely advantageous, and he suggested the Birdmachine---a homemade instrument he describes as "a bevy of bird sounds among others." Together with his flute, his sounds supported my birdlike vocalizations. The finale of the "dueling horns" initially came to me in a dream. Marshall Trammel masterfully played his tiny pocket cornet, making a highly comical duo with myself on a massive Tibetan long horn. The direct experience of a pilgrimage centers on the energy gathered at a special site and the occurrence of all manner of coinciding actions. Spiritual teachers view these experiences as having a unique impact on one's consciousness. In The Gasholder Stupa, people gathered onsite to experience unconventional styles of video and improvised sound that unfolded pockets of information, allowing glimpses of narrative within abstraction. Sounding can impact the consciousness in individually significant ways, and the gasholder's powerful acoustic space is unmistakably felt as something unique. Improvisation is a risk every time because it champions the unknown and brings forth "new listening" in Cageian terms. In this performance, risk reigned supreme.
A participatory work suits the Buddhist principle of "interdependent connection." With this in mind, I created an event where people could feel connectivity by learning about The Gasholder's history, witnessing the building interior, and, for some, intrigue drew more involvement than just being in the audience. Walking the neighborhood months before the performance, I would chat with people on the streets, in the shops and at the Troy Farmer's Market. Inclusion was created through the delegation of related opportunities no matter how small. This process allowed a segue through which some locals could experience their first taste of performance and improvisation in this manner, and for others curiosity was a powerful draw card. Whatever the experience, the presentation allowed a way to consider The Gasholder as something other than an interesting building. Even years later, some locals fondly remember The Gasholder Stupa performance and the fun it generated. For me it stands as one of the most touching examples of caring community spirit and supportive generosity through performance art.
Caterina De Re uses improvised vocals, field recordings, electroacoustic composition, performance, video art, and meditation. After moving to Germany from Australia in the 90s she joined forces with one of Germany's most uncompromising sound artists according to John Peel of the BBC---Strafe FR. She has also collaborated with renowned improvisers including Peter Kowald, Butch Morris, Michael Pestel and Pauline Oliveros, and in 2003 became a certified Deep Listening teacher. Combining disparate themes, she is intrigued by the connectivity of perceptual dimensions. Since 1994 Caterina's interest in Tibetan Buddhist epistemology has been particularly evident in her work with performance and electronic art. While in Tibet, India and Nepal, she sonically and visually mapped spaces of spiritual activity. This rich reservoir has formed the basis of many installations, exhibitions, performances and compositions. Ongoing in her research is investigating the feminine aspect of Tibetan meditative practice where the understanding is of complementary and egalitarian embodiment. This research has offered her exciting insights into the mind/body connection with sounding. For Tibetans, the divine female---the "dakini"---can be vocal, noisy, and even capricious, and for De Re this perfectly fits meditation practice meeting her use of extended vocals and performance art. She holds two graduate degrees in Electronic Arts.
Doug Van Nort: DLCGO
Composed by Doug Van Nort, 2007. Performed by Tom Bickley, Monique Buzzarté, Scot Gresham-Lancaster, Al Margolis, Kim McCarthy, Kristin Norderval, Pauline Oliveros, Zevin Polzin, Roberto Rodriguez and Katharina von Rütte. Recorded by Zevin Polzin, 10 June 2007.
Contact: Doug Van Nort, Arts Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180, U.S.A. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2006 I invited composer Kim Cascone to come to Montreal to conduct his workshop on genetic algorithms for collaborative content creation. Participants would rate sound files, and more "fit" members of the population would be chosen for "mutation" (sound processing) and "mating" (essentially digital tape splicing). I was so struck with the experience of this process that I decided to evolve this working method into a fully fledged composition, which in fact has become a series of pieces. In these works this evolutionary paradigm is directed by compositional rules, including the nature of the beginning "gene pool" and the type of mutation/crossover. At the same time, the process directs the structure of the score itself, determining the number of sections, number of players in this section, which sonic "generation" each player can draw from and so on. Within these confines, the performance is improvisatory, drawing on each epoch of the evolved sonic gene pool. In this way, there are actually two pieces to speak of: The first is the process and experience of creating this pool---where the participants experience their own sounds and mutations interacting with other players over time. This is an anonymous process where identities and dialogues are formed completely through the digital media. The second piece is the performance and score, when this entire multiple day-or-week process of the pool's unfolding is collapsed into 20--40 minutes of a performance. Each performer at this point has an intimate understanding of the material and modulates this pool in attempt to convey this process to a new audience.
These series of pieces are collectively titled Genetic Orchestras, generally being named X Genetic Orchestra, where X is the name of the ensemble. They have been performed on at least seven occasions, including at the International Society of Improvised Music conference in 2007 and in performance with the Florida Electronic Arts Ensemble (FLEA), directed by composer Paula Matthusen at various festivals in the Miami area. The recording presented on this CD is the very first performance, which was commissioned by the Deep Listening Institute for the Deep Listening Convergence event in June 2007, which brought together 40+ musicians over the Internet in a 6-month-long "virtual residency" before the final convergence of performances. As such, this version is titled Deep Listening Convergence Genetic Orchestra (or DLCGO). This version was special not only because it was the first but also because we evolved the piece completely over the Internet and over such a long time period. The piece truly spanned a great deal of time and space and was realized in a communal effort. The final performance, in High Falls, NY, was our first single-room experience of the piece, adding another layer of meaning for the performers. While later pieces involved software written for performance, this version was free in terms of digital instrumentation, ranging from my own custom granular performance system to Ableton Live to playback in Audacity, which can be heard in the textures, loops and unaffected sounds of this recording. The excerpt that I have chosen merges the beginning with a later moment that I feel serves as a nice coda until the next time one can experience one of these performances in the flesh.
Marc Jensen: Patterns of Living and Sounding
Composed by Marc Jensen, 2006. Recorded in live performance by the University of Oklahoma New Improv! Century Ensemble, April 16, 2008.
Contact: Marc Jensen, 1525 High Trail Rd., Norman, OK, 73071 U.S.A. E-mail: email@example.com.
Patterns of Living and Sounding is a piece that exemplifies composing by creating rules for behavior and interaction rather than composing fixed material. As a social experiment, the piece revolves around exploring and sonifying individual circadian rhythms and then combining them together into a social whole. Each player is asked to select a set of events or personal activities and then keep a 24-hour-long journal, noting when any of those things occur during their day. This journal becomes their part, with the day's information compressed into a 12-minute timeline. Each player selects a sound to represent each of that player's events, and all of the players come together for the first time in performance to play their parts. No rehearsal is allowed, and the conductor simply acts as a clock.
This piece has been realized many times by different ensembles, and although the sound surface is always unpredictable, the deep structure of the piece comes through with surprising clarity. The 24-hour period tracked in this piece always starts and ends at midnight, and while there is often a general bell curve of activity over the span of the piece, this is not always the case, since many of the people willing to perform this piece also tend to stay up very late. However, with every realization of this piece yet performed, the general form that results can be described as a loose arch: initially establishing a nighttime texture, transitioning through gradual changes into the daylight hours and then gradually returning to the nighttime texture as the piece ends. The nighttime textures are often, but not always, very sparse, largely silent or populated by drones.
As a composed piece, Patterns of Living and Sounding gives the performers very concrete instructions to follow in preparing their parts and yet leaves these instructions open to the possibility of creative listening. Coming together as a whole, the activities of individual performers that seemed so isolated and independent during the journal process come together to create a statistical shape that reveals the connecting tissue of society. It is also a great exemplar of what John Cage called the "interpenetration and non-obstruction" of sounds, the ideal state of being and allowing-to-be in his reading of anarchist philosophy.
Marc Jensen is a composer, performer, and improviser, who received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of Minnesota. Much of his work is oriented around composing relationships rather than specific sounds---setting up situations in which performers follow simple sets of rules to interact and produce an unpredictably complex whole, structures without content. His principle teachers have included Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Curran, Fred Frith, and Alex Lubet. Jensen holds a teaching certificate through the Deep Listening Institute, and has edited several books on Deep Listening. As well as directing the Oklahoma Composers Association and the New Improv! Century Ensemble at the University of Oklahoma, he is an active performer with the improvisation ensemble earWorm. He has published articles in the journals Perspectives of New Music, Tempo, 1/1, the Musical Times, and Cinema Journal.
Kathy Kennedy: HMMM public performances
Recorded by David Gutnick, June 2005.
Contact: Kathy Kennedy, 7243 rue Berri, apt. B, Montreal, QC, H2R 2G4 Canada. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This recording is part of an audio documentary of my multilayered ongoing performance piece HMMM, made along Toronto's busy Queen St. In each HMMM, participants hum for about 30 minutes on extended tones. Most are carrying portable radios tuned to a broadcast of an earlier humming session. The sound of these many voices humming is like that of a sonic wash of soothing, organic tones across the urban soundscape. Neighborhood merchants also participate by playing the broadcast in their stores and restaurants, so that the sound is enveloping and omnipresent and yet never loud in any place. The audience strolls through, experiencing constantly changing sonic mixes of vocal sound.
HMMM is also a performance project informed by 2 years of weekly workshops of the same name, devoted to vocal improvisation and listening skills. Many ideas and exercises are drawn from Deep Listening. A community was formed out of a weekly practice of humming, used as a means of meditation, of vocal warmup and of physical well-being. "Humming is like massaging from the inside out" is how I like to describe it. The ears seem to benefit from humming; an overwhelming majority of participants report their sense of hearing to be improved after a session. This has also been the case in the street performances, generally in a noisy urban environment in many Canadian cities as well as Lima, Peru. The general noise level goes down as passersby inevitably become curious enough to listen. Participants learn to use humming as a means of echolocation, to find themselves inside a sonically complex setting.
HMMM is also an opportunity for nonverbal communication integrated with normal civic life. There is no visual spectacle, and performers are not obvious, since humming is done with the mouth closed. Anyone can join in with even the smallest level of commitment. Some just listen; some match the notes of others or hum in their own private universe. Citizens begin to interact with each other on the basis of sonic, nonverbal cues as opposed to the normal state of stasis from information overload. The everyday sidewalk becomes transformed by mellow human sounds, and everyday life carries on just as before, except perhaps a little slower and quieter as people begin to listen critically. At its best, being in a HMMM feels like swimming in a sea of vocal sounds.
The metaphor of the body and radio seems unavoidable in my works. The body is an essential element, and the radio is generally used to remind the audience of the natural range and quality of sound diffusion. The radio expands the scope of audio transmission but only to a degree that reminds us of the natural limitations of physical space. There is usually a kind of magic and wonder around the fact that certain bodies in the piece are, in fact, connected to other bodies some distance away. Because I use many small sound sources, as opposed to a central one, my use of radios is also strategically intended for individual bodies, to be controlled individually. The radio is generally used as an extension of the body, a bridge from one body to another. HMMM seems to encapsulate my relationship with low-watt radio in how fragile and physical it is. Like a voice, it is ultimately individualistic and subject to so many kinds of suppression.
Being part of the Deep Listening community has inspired me to see through this long-term work, where making sound and listening are integral parts of each other. The transcendence we all strive for in art-making is definitely there in these pieces. We are all making and tasting a beautiful mix together, experiencing the physical world as a place of wonder and discovery.
Kathy Kennedy is a sound artist with formal training in visual art as well as in classical singing. Her art practice generally involves the voice and issues of interface with technology, often using telephony or radio transmission. She is also involved in community art and is a founder of the digital media center for women in Canada, Studio XX, as well as the innovative choral groups for women Choeur Maha and Esther. Her large-scale sonic installation/performances for over 100 singers and radio, called "sonic choreographies," have been performed internationally, including at the inauguration of the Vancouver New Public Library and at the Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Series. Kennedy currently teaches electroacoustics and audio art at Concordia University in Montreal. She frequently gives lectures and workshops on listening skills, acoustic ecology and vocal improvisation. Her solo performances include a high level of improvisation over lush soundtracks of painstakingly mixed vocals and other sounds to create an immersive world of different voices.
Paula Matthusen: lathyrus
Composed by Paula Matthusen, 2007. Performed by members of the Florida International University Laptop & Electronic Arts (FLEA) Ensemble (Pedro De Faria, Erik DeLuca, Juan Espinosa, Jaclyn Heyen, Daniel Lepervanche, Nayla Mehdi and Jaime Reveles) and recorded by Erik DeLuca, 2009.
Contact: Paula Matthusen, 124 Mendoza Ave #8, Coral Gables, FL 33134 U.S.A. E-mail: email@example.com.
lathyrus is a structured, improvisatory, game-like piece modeled much like the Choose Your Own Adventure books. The ensemble travels down various "musical paths" in search of a suitable ending. Multiple endings are possible. Some may be intriguing, others sudden; still others are undesirable if not dangerous. The performers must self-organize, interrupting the navigation of the score, until agreeing upon a path. Each musical choice is negotiated, forming a balance between coherence and surprise.
The group traverses musical timbral areas by performing from a specific bank of samples described roughly as "drone," "instrumental," "field recordings" and "rhythmic." They then process the samples using simple procedures that grow in complexity over time as the group determines which musical path they are following.
This musical excerpt is from a live performance at the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center at Florida International University by the FIU Laptop & Electronic Arts (FLEA) Ensemble. This group has played lathyrus many times and has developed their own internal language of various hand signals as a way of communicating with one another while performing the piece.lathyrus was commissioned by the Berlin Laptop Orchestra and is dedicated to them. The samples utilized in the performance feature field recordings made in Berlin during my studies at the Studio für Klangkunst und Klangforschung at the Universität der Künste—Berlin, made possible as part of a Fulbright Fellowship. During that time, I had the great fortune to work with and record a number of musicians. In particular, I would like to thank Linda Buckley, Annika Handrock, James Orsher and Daniella Strasfogel for their contribution to the development of this piece by allowing me to record them and use their samples for this piece. I would also like to thank Xenia Helms, Keith O'Brien, and Tom O'Doherty for their consistent feedback throughout the development of this work.
Paula Matthusen writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realizes sound installations. She has written for diverse instrumentations such as run-on sentence of the pavement for piano, Ping Pong balls and electronics. Her work often considers discrepancies in musical space---real, imagined and remembered. Her music has been performed by Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), orchest de ereprijs, Ballett Frankfurt, noranewdanceco, Dither, Object Collection, Kathryn Woodard, James Moore, Jody Redhage, and Todd Reynolds. Her awards include a Fulbright Grant, two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers' Awards, First Prize in the Young Composers' Meeting Composition Competition, the MacCracken and Langley Ryan Fellowship and a Van Lier Fellowship. Matthusen has also held residencies at create@iEar at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, STEIM and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Matthusen recently completed her Ph.D. at New York University---GSAS and is now assistant professor and Director of Music Technology at Florida International University.
Monique Buzzarté: Mouth Piece
Composed and performed by Monique Buzzarté (trombone), Kristin Norderval (voice) and Viv Corringham (voice). Recorded by Scot Gresham-Lancaster at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY, on 8 June 2007, the first of three culminating Deep Listening Convergence concerts.
Contact: Monique Buzzarté, 110 Seaman Avenue, Apt 5L, New York, NY, 10034, U.S.A. E-mail:
Mouth Piece (2007) began its development in Minneapolis in February 2007, when Monique, Viv and Kristin---who were all performing at the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts---spent a glorious time improvising in a parking garage very late one night after a concert. As all three artists had also been invited to join the Deep Listening Convergence residency in June that same year, they decided to form an ensemble for that event and continue their improvisation.
Large geographical distances separated the artists (in New York, Oslo and Minneapolis), so Skype was used for discussions for the conception of the piece and for some of its rehearsals. One initial concept was inspired by a statistic from Women in Media. According to Women in Media, women own less than 2% of the radio and television airwaves, and almost 90% of "expert opinions" are voiced by males. In an early version of Mouth Piece, in a deliberate attempt to explore and contrast the role of vocalists (typically female) with the role of spokespersons used by the media to voice the viewpoints of a third party (typically male), Monique played her trombone (a traditionally male instrument) by buzzing through a brass mouthpiece, and Kristin and Viv vocalized sound bytes of statistics from Women in Media through "mouthpieces" of various types, some concrete and some abstract. In the final version of Mouth Piece, however, no texts were used, and the implications of the original title were obscured. What remained was a newspaper---used as both a prop and a filter---and the subtext for our improvisation, namely the political implications of projecting one's own voice versus being a mouthpiece for those in power.
Monique, Kristin and Viv are all certified to teach the meditative improvisation practices of Deep Listening.
Monique Buzzarté is an avid proponent of contemporary music, commissioning and premiering many new works for trombone alone, with electronics, and in chamber ensembles. Buzzarté's most recent recording, Fluctuations with Ellen Fullman (Deep Listening 38), was honored by The Wire magazine as one of their Top 50 Records of 2008, and in 2008 Meet the Composer also selected her as one of eight "Soloist Champions" in recognition of her long history of commissioning and premiering new repertoire. Recent commissions included Subtle Winds for the Downtown Ensemble's Flexible Orchestra, Here Right Now for the Telematic Circle, three ensembles geographically based in Troy, NY, San Diego, CA and Stanford, CA, and Sub/veillance for the Zanana live processing duo and video artist Katherine Liberovskaya for the Electric Eyes: New Music and Media Festival in Minneapolis, MN. Buzzarté has also developed a unique slide-mounted interface for live processing, and her advocacy work for women in music includes coordinating efforts that led to the admission of women members into the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 1997. She performs in the electroacoustic live processing chamber music duo Zanana with Kristin Norderval. More information is at www.buzzarte.org.
Acclaimed as a singer, improviser and composer, Kristin Norderval has premiered numerous new works for voice and presented original compositions incorporating voice, electronics and interactive technology at festivals and concert houses in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Many works---including five chamber operas---have been written specifically for her. A number of these works have been recorded on Aurora, CRI, Deep Listening, Eurydice, Koch International and New World Records. Her own works are featured on Deep Listening and Koch International. Norderval's compositions include works for concert, stage and film. A two-time recipient of the Norwegian Artist's Stipend and a 2005 recipient of the Henry Cowell Award from the American Music Center, Norderval has also received support from the Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer, Harvestworks and RPI. Commissions include works for Den Anden Opera in Copenhagen, the Bucharest International Dance Festival in Romania, jill sigman/thinkdance in New York City and the viol consort Parthenia. Norderval holds the degrees of Doctor of Musical Arts from Manhattan School of Music, Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Bachelor of Music from the University of Washington. She performs in the electroacoustic duo Zanana with Monique Buzzarté. More information at www.norderval.org.
Viv Corringham is a British vocalist, sound artist and composer who has worked internationally since the 1980s. Articles about her work have appeared in Organised Sound (U.K.), Musicworks (Canada), Playing with Words (U.K.) and For Those Who Have Ears (Ireland). She received an MA Sonic Art with Distinction from Middlesex University, England, and has had many awards, including a 2006 McKnight Composer Fellowship. Recent work includes installations and performances at Abrons Arts Center New York City, Meridian Gallery San Francisco, MCAD Gallery Minneapolis, Galata-Perform Istanbul, Rochester Art Center Minnesota, Binaural Artist Residency Portugal, Women in New Music Festival Los Angeles, Soundworks Festival Ireland, Minnesota-Sur-Seine Festival St Paul, Strange Strolls Festival Australia, Placard Headphone Festival London, Hearing Place Australia, Placard Headphone Festival London, Hearing Place Australia and Sound Art Museum Rome. Work has been heard in Britain on BBC Radio 3 and 4, Resonance FM and Channel 4 TV, and in the U.S. on WFMU, WMSE, MPR and NPR stations. More information at http://vivcorringham.org.
Shannon Morrow: The Listening Garden
Composed by Shannon Morrow, spring 2007. Performed by Juditta Musette (voice and percussion), Jude Casseday (percussion), Jay Cartwright (accordion), Wendy Spitzer (oboe), Nicolette DeGroot (coconuts), Erin Bailey (saw), John Barrile (cello), Steve Burnett (electric upright bass), Christopher Thurston (double bass), Amy Wilkinson (bass clarinet), Susanne Romey (bamboo flute) and Katherine Gill (violin). Recorded live in Durham Central Park in Durham, NC, by Joyce Ventimiglia and Dan Overby, audio engineers, 28 September 2008.
Contact: Shannon Morrow, 801 N. Duke St., Durham, NC 27701, U.S.A. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project was partially funded by the Durham Arts Council, with funding from the state of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
In 2006 I began to take an interest in creating compositional ideas that engaged participants in listening to their environments and interacting with nature. As a Deep Listener, I am interested in fostering environmental awareness through the listening sense gate. The Whirligig Music Project was conceived after a visit to folk artist Vollis Simpson's Whirligig Farm in Wilson, NC. I was transfixed by the towering scrap metal structures and sat like an ant at the corner of the field watching the wind engage the giant spinners in a variety of colorful performances.
My own experiment began shortly afterwards. The current installation model with which I am working is a series of lightweight spinners installed in natural environments. Participants (musicians currently) engage in the composition by listening with presence in the environment and responding with sound when the wind blows their assigned spinners. The Listening Garden is an excerpt from a public performance of the Whirligig Music Project. We were lucky to have gusty winds blow up at performance time on an otherwise still day. There was the possibility that we might have a truly environmental sound performance that day if no wind blew the spinners. Although I am interested in having an audience assemble for an hour of listening to what there is to listen to, I was relieved that the wind gave the performers the option of sharing their incredible talents with our audience.
I do not consider myself a composer, but rather more of an instigator or organizer of ideas and projects that bring people together to relate creatively. As someone who has played music with others for 17 years, I am always thrilled and fascinated by what each individual brings to any musical experience. Most of my favorite collaborations with other musicians or sound artists have been less than well received, but are dear to my heart because of the sincerity of the contributions each of us offers up to the others. The Listening Garden excerpt is, to me, beautiful and successful as a musical composition, but the true strength of the project as an installation is that the architecture imposed just enough structure to allow the participating musicians to interact as desired based on their common experience of listening in the installation space. The aspect of the spinners as conductors (bringing musicians in and out) served well to prompt interactions between random groupings of those participating. Video footage of the Whirligig Music Project, along with more information and comments from visitors to the site can be found at my web site: www.shannonmorrow.com.
Shannon Morrow has been focusing on creative music for 17 years. Her early training in visual art (BFA Painting 1992) inspires her search for spontaneity and expressiveness in music and sound. She is a percussionist, improviser, Soundpainter, Deep Listening Instructor and rhythm circle facilitator. She is also a creative re-use visual artist. Her current focus in visual art is using discarded materials to create interactive installations in outdoor public spaces. She combines her visual practice with her interest in sound, music and improvisation to create a variety of multi-arts projects. She believes that the foundation of sounding begins with the practice of listening. She is certified to lead workshops in Deep Listening. In 2008 she received an Emerging Artists grant from the Durham Arts Council to create The Whirligig Music Project and The Listening Garden, a public art installation/musical composition in Durham Central Park, Durham, NC. She also received an Indy Arts Award for her work creating inclusive community-based music experiences for musicians and non-musicians alike. Her current musical projects include Triangle Soundpainting Orchestra (she is founder, director and percussionist), and Scene of the Crime Rovers rag-tag community street band (she is founder, first director and percussionist).
Kristin Norderval: Skolelyder (ja, ja, hey)
Sound collage created from field recordings made of and with grade-school children in the arctic region of Norway, under the auspices of Musikk I Finnmark (MIF). Composed and recorded by Kristin Norderval, 2000.
Skolelyder (ja, ja, hey)---school sounds---is a sound collage created from field recordings I made of and with grade-school children in the arctic region of Norway in 2000, under the auspices of Musikk I Finnmark (MIF). MIF had hired me to be part of a school concert tour with a trio focusing on improvised music. For one piece, I used binaural microphones mounted to headphones, which various children tried out in turn. They were asked to search for interesting sounds in their school, and I followed them, literally connected to their ears with my DAT player. The children both found and created sounds, often commenting on what they were hearing. At each school I would create quick loops from the field recordings with which we improvised in concert after our explorations. At the end of the entire project I selected some of my favorite sounds to create this collage. Since it was recorded on binaural microphones, listening on headphones is especially fun; it gives the feeling of literally getting into the heads of the children who were wearing the microphones.
English translation of the Norwegian voices heard on the recording:
did you hear something?
look he hit
ha, ha, ha
this is a really fine sound
they look so mischievous
they're looking for sounds
ja, ja, hey
watch out, watch out
can I borrow some sounds here?
ha, ha, ha
Acclaimed as a singer, improviser and composer, Kristin Norderval has premiered numerous new works for voice and presented original compositions incorporating voice, electronics and interactive technology at festivals and concert houses in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Many works---including five chamber operas---have been written specifically for her. A number of these works have been recorded on Aurora, CRI, Deep Listening, Eurydice, Koch International, and New World Records. Her own works are featured on Deep Listening and Koch International. Norderval's compositions include works for concert, stage, and film. A two-time recipient of the Norwegian Artist's Stipend, and a 2005 recipient of the Henry Cowell Award from the American Music Center, Norderval has also received support from the Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer, Harvestworks, and RPI. Commissions include works for Den Anden Opera in Copenhagen, the Bucharest International Dance Festival in Romania, jill sigman/thinkdance in New York City, and the viol consort Parthenia. Kristin Norderval holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Manhattan School of Music, a Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Washington. She performs in the electro-acoustic duo Zanana with Monique Buzzarté. More information at www.norderval.org.
Elainie Lillios: Listening Beyond . . . The LMJ Mix
Composed by Elainie Lillios, 2009.
Contact: Elainie Lillios, E-mail: email@example.com. Web site: www.elillios.com.
Listening Beyond . . . The LMJ Mix explores the relationship of sound and silence and their intersection in space while simultaneously merging my interests in Deep Listening and electroacoustics.
Elainie Lillios's music focuses on the essence of sound and suspension of time, conveying different emotions and taking listeners on "sonic journeys." Influential mentors include Jonty Harrison, Pauline Oliveros, Larry Austin and Jon Christopher Nelson. Commissions from ASCAP/SEAMUS, International Computer Music Association, La Muse en Circuit, New Adventures in Sound Art, Réseaux, Kalamazoo Animation Festival International, LSU's Center for Computation and Technology, saxophonist Steve Duke and soprano Diane Ragains; Grants from Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Board of Regents and National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts; Awards and recognition from CIMESP, Russolo and IMEB among others. Her music has been presented internationally, including at guest invitations to the GRM, Rien à Voir, festival l'espace du son, June in Buffalo and Mountain Computer Music Festival. Lillios's music is available on the Empreintes DIGITALes, StudioPANaroma, La Muse en Circuit and SEAMUS labels and on New Adventures in Sound Art's Radio Art Companion.
LMJ18 CD Contributors' Notes
Updated 25 November 2009