a guide to the ruins: LongDuration
Stan Shaff's Audium: a melodic line acquires a starting point, a determined pathway, a measurable speed and a point of conclusion: areas in space become launching sites and meeting stations for converging sound lines: melodic convolutions can be physically felt as they flow along spatial planes -- vertical, horizontal, diagonal, circle, and any desired combinations thereof. The choice of the appropriate spatial course for a particular sound sequence becomes essential in defining its shape and character.
Jim Horton: (Oct 20 1976) "Euler Music" at the Exploratorium. My first computer performance playing the machine as a real-time interactive semi-autonomous musical instrument. The program played Leonhard Euler's theory of just intonation.
Charles Amirkhanian: text-sound composer and top notch New Music activist. Dutiful ducks dutiful the drano ducks collide and mercy gater-collide-like fancy tension pow-wow dutiful dutiful ducks than double Elly Macy treetops pray the signal hay in may says dutiful dutiful ducks __ dutiful __ dutiful dutiful ducks __
ROVA Saxophone Quartet: This TIme We Are Both. In this disc of their last Soviet tour their splintered lines weave together like arcs in a Pollock drip painting.
Paul Dresher: Dark Blue Circumstance: The work is performed on an elaborate 4 channel tape machine with 3 playback heads located at various points in the path of a single loop, which allows live multi-track recording, mixing, processing and immediate playback of any sounds produced by the performer(s). This instrument was my principal performing tool for most of the 1980's.
Paul DeMarinis: Using a laser salvaged from an early model grocery checkout scanner, advanced by an incremental stepper motor, DeMarinis bounces the laser light off the grooves of the record, picking up the reflected beam with a photo diode. For Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, DeMarinis employs a Geiger counter to control the advance of the scan. Liebestod is dying, frozen in time, released by the radioactive decay of uranium -- the myth of eternal, ever modulating Wagnerian love fantasy parceled out atom by atom by the death of the uranium sample (commercially produced Fiesta-Ware, in the bright orange glaze, found in a thrift store). Substituting the light beam for the stylus greatly delays the deterioration that repeated playing would effect upon the tracks, prolonging the metaphor interminably.
Terry Riley: This morning I was practicing raga, and at one point I was singing a long tone and I became very peaceful and still. I thought this is really the highest point of music for me; to become in a place where there is no desire, no craving, or wanting to do anything else, just to be in a state of being at the highest point. For me, that is what music is. It is a spiritual art. It is a form to that place. Listening to music is as high as singing or playing it. If a great singer is singing and you think gee I would like to sing like that, you are being foolish because you are listening to the thing you really want anyway, so why think you want to do it. It is the thing, the thing itself that is really important. Although I have a personal greed about playing music, I really enjoy the tactile thing of playing an instrument, but I'm coming from back in 1935, when that was the way you made music, there was no other way to do it, so I have a lifelong habit of doing music this way. But if I was 20 years old today, I might not have that orientation, I would probably be out sampling music like everybody else.
John Adam's Fearful Symmetries was the high point of ensemble music in the 1980s by composers identified as Minimalist. But of his compositions, the best known and most widely discussed is his opera "Nixon in China", given its premiere in 1987 and winner of the 1989 Grammy for Best Contemporary Composition. With "Nixon in China", the composer, along with director Peter Sellars, librettist Alice Goodman and choreographer Mark Morris, brought contemporary history vividly into the opera house, pioneering an entire genre of post-modern music theater.
John Chowning: In Turenas, I used only the FM technique for generating the tones. As the sounds crossed the space they underwent a timbral transformation. Sometimes there were very slow transformations from harmonic series timbres to other harmonic series timbres -- from rich double-reedy sounds to flutelike sounds. In that case, there was a gradual change in modulation index. Other kinds of transformations in the piece had to do with changes from harmonic to inharmonic spectra or the inverse, through a gradual change in the carrier-to-modulator (c:m) ratio.
Jan Pusina's Recycled Radio is a live radio piece for one or more tuners, synthesizers and electronic circuit that chops incoming FM radio signals and oscillator tones into short, periodic sound parcels, whose frequency of occurrence varies according to the dynamics of the program material being received.
Ned Lagin and Phil Lesh made several appearances at Dead shows opening the second sets of their final week at Winterland with a section of apparently formless electronic cacophony -- high tweedles, rumbling bass notes that vibrated the entire hall, waterfalls of swooshes, bleeps and assorted noises that defy onomatopoetic description.
Charles Shere's "Tongues" struck an elemental, primal nerve somewhere deep in species memory. Glossolalia, the gift of tongues, is not limited to religious ecstasy. Poet Andrew Hoyem "witnessed" to the Arch Ensemble's sounds. One recognized the meaning of everything Hoyem said without understanding a single word. He muttered, purred, babbled, growled and raved and went from the gentlest to most violent gesticulations. The finale's rondo elements was three short hysterical dialogues between Hoyem and horn/amplified cello, trombone, and lastly with full ensemble full-blast.
John Bischoff: The process by which AUDIO WAVE was constructed is characterized by bottom-up design and the empirical method. It is generally thought that programmers implement their ideas on the computer with as few unforeseen developments as possible. Ideas are thought to flow in one direction, from the operator to the machine. From the vantage point of an artist, though, it is just as easy to see the flow going in the opposite direction: the medium reveals itself as the artist proceeds and those material details shape the direction in which the artist continues.
Lou Harrison: For myself, I cannot imagine how it would be possible to be an American musician and not have an interest in world music. Over 85 percent, nearly 90 percent, of the music that I experience during a week is not western music. It is not current practice. It's Javanese gamelan tuned in just intonation. That's what I spend twenty hours a week teaching, and I hear a whole orchestra of it in my house all the time.
Warner Jepson: The best video tapes from this period include Bill Gwin's and Warner Jepson's Irving Bridge. There is only one camera shot of a woods scene with a bridge. It begins "straight": you can recognize the scene and hear natural "woods" sounds. Very slowly both the visuals and the sound are altered electronically so that in the midst of the tape one is seeing an electronically colored equivalent of the woods and hearing electronic equivalents of bird sounds. Then just as slowly it changes back again.
Herb Bielawa: The "Bay Area Synthesizer Ensemble" (B.A.S.E.) were four seperate electronic music studios connected to each other by special telephone lines and to the master mix at KPFA where they were broadcast in real time.
Maggi Payne: AHH-AHH (ver 2.1) was composed in 1987. It is the music portion of a performance work, called QUEUE THE LIZARDS, done in collaboration with video artist Ed Tannenbaum, and was the result of a National Endowment for the Arts Interdisciplinary Arts Grant. Very early in the collaboration, when we were first tossing around ideas, he mentioned that he would like to work with sounds of water, snakes, and whips (for gestural and spatial possibilities). He later denied saying anything of the kind.
Richard Felciano: "In Celebration of Golden Rain" for pipe organ and Javanese gamelan continues Felciano's recent preoccupation with suspended time sense and with the endless vistas of beauty contained within the tiny spaces of small, adjacent sounds. The music comes close to suspending all formula, all compositional technique. Objective, freed of human egos, it has a hypnotic quality but is not "stoned".