a guide to the ruins: 70's
Bob Ashley's Music with Roots in the Aether: In the interview part of the portrait of David Behrman, we're on the top of Angel Island and the camera man, Phil Makanna, is in the center and David and I make a complete circle around the camera at quite a distance. Since it takes us an hour to get around, it's sort of like a clock. And the sound changes in this rather enormous scale depending on which way we're facing. We're walking together, basically David is following me, and each of my positions was in a different relationship to the wind. So what you get, basically, is four different qualities of speech that's modified by wind sounds.
Bob Ashley on Perfect Lives: First came the text, or the perfect song. In working on Perfect Lives I was able, almost for the first time, to direct speech, or the sound of myself talking to myself, into specific forms. In other words, to compose (after whatever is that period of time or accumulation of unbidden materials that allows the materials to make "intentions" recognized.) Those forms, in turn, were attached to (imitations of) the categories of the imagery that caused the words in the first place. These attachments or imitations I have called, because the meaning of the word is essentially visual, "templates".
Tony Gnazzo: Each of the pieces in the "Oakland Sextet" reiterates a single typewritten word across an entire piece of letter-sized paper (except for a one-inch margin on each border). One of them, entitled "Population Explosion" and using the word "bang," was recorded in the wind-off grooves of "10+2:12 American Text Sound Pieces Pieces" where producer Charles Amirkhanian said it provided many hours of pleasurable listening. (Presumably, it will play infinitely, offering one of the several summary expressions to date of minimal art: because it fails to change, it changes the listener instead.)
Stan Lunetta: I'd like to be a cyborg. I built a series of helmets to interface the Machine for Amra Arma. ... One way to work is to have the group accompany whatever the Machine does. We do a piece we call our "ritual piece," where I set the Machine up in advance to some setting, then I go through a sort of ritual with the Machine where I work with what it has and try to produce a sort of joint composition with it and myself. Then the other members of the group, once they find what direction I have gone, respond to the Machine, and the Machine through me responds to them, and we get a whole piece. Other times we have the Machine do specific things to go with specific things that the other musicians play. Then at times I adjust the Machine so that it is sensitive to sound that it hears, so that when the drummers play, the Machine accompanies them.
Jim Nollman: One of the great adventures: Nine times during the months of December and January in 1976-1977 I slipped into my wetsuit, draped my arms and legs around the Whalesinger drum, and slipped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The music that I made on the drum resonated out through the bottom and thus directly into the water. On several occasions it attracted the attention of passing gray whales who approached quite closely to check out the source of the sound. There is no warning. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a huge shape will roll across the surface just a few feet from me. When we are both at the crest of a swell, the sensation is of a fellow sightseer, inspecting the terrain. However, each of us is very much the central landmark of each other's view. When we are in the canyon between swells, it is as if we are sharing the most intimate space possible between man and whale.
Seven Years of Crazy Love: Music From the Center for Contemporary Music 1969-1976. Two of the great pieces of the early 70s: TOM ZAHURANCE: PLANT MUSIC (Oct. 1972) A broadcast over KPFA Radio, Berkeley, CA. of Tom's home-built plant/synthesizer interface circuit which demonstrates the "Backster Effect" of plant response to emotional stimuli, including telepathic transmissions. ROBERT ASHLEY: IN SARA, MENCKEN, CHRIST AND BEETHOVEN THERE WERE MEN AND WOMEN (1973) Text by John Barton Wolgamot. 128 stanzas, each stanza the same sentence with four variables, three of which are names or name groups or name constructions, the fourth, the adverb of the active verb.
Blockbuster issue cataloguing much of the scene in 1976. EAR, Vol. 4, No. 7, Fall 1976, MUSIC WEST, Charles Shere, editor. Northern California's expression of the arts has always been "organic," more humanistic, oriented toward the expression of life on earth, characterized less by intellectual expression or virtuoso display than by an eclectic, accepting spirit. The scene here is loose and forgiving, and it encourages the development of a large number of loose, sometimes short-lived, but enthusiastic groups. Their independence is vital; for the most part they are not the sort of group which can successfully join an established institution. But they contribute excitingly and fully to the expanding continuity of new music, and when they do achieve a simultaneous effort, as they do this fall, the result is extremely impressive.
3 flyers by Phil Harmonic 1974-75. America's newest mecca for living art in the real world, Art While-U-Wait, cordially invites you to share in a star-studded week of cultural events, featuring some of the Bay Area's most promising and energetic artmongers ever.
Martian Music Party: report by Beth Anderson. Patty Sliva showed several sculptures including Martian Pubic Hair and Martian Incarnation, that were a treat to all the Martian artifactologists. So many people brought musicologically sound field recordings of Martian Music that it is difficult to name them all, but some of them are: Jan Pusina, Charles Shere, S.J. Glebow, Peg Ahrens, Paul Kalbach, Ron Heglin and Jim Horton. Margaret Fisher's Martian Opera was well received in the performance area, the bedroom. Margaret's saxophone playing was only outdone by her dancing. A. J. Gnazzo dropped in after his favorite TV shows had gone off to make sure his amp was still in one piece and that his art was being viewed in optimal situations.
Hysteresis: pioneering women's group. TORERO PIECE, a text-sound music by Beth Anderson ended the program, as the fellow from Leo's Music Store took back his speakers. Sybl Chickenmint discussed the demise, as well as the rise of Sybl Chickenmint up until 1969 (when the equipment was about to be hauled off with or without our stopping, so we did stop). The other part of this duet is based on the numerological decoding of a paint-by-numbers scroll I found on the way to visit Pauline Oliveros.