Crossingsby Alvin Lucier;Digital Musicby Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta

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Crossings by Alvin Lucier; Digital Music by Emanuel Dimas de Melo PimentaReview by: Tim PerkisLeonardo Music Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1991), p. 112Published by: The MIT PressStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1513137 .Accessed: 16/06/2014 00:55Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. .The MIT Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Leonardo Music Journal.http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from 185.2.32.89 on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 00:55:50 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=mitpresshttp://www.jstor.org/stable/1513137?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspviolin and small chorus in hetero- phonic fashion creates an evocative and plaintive statement. The live passages on this cassette are clear and well balanced, if limited by their technologically simple record- ing media. In contrast, the recording quality of "Sekitar 12-14 Menit", completed by the staff of STSI, is over- modulated in several places. CROSSINGS by Alvin Lucier. Lovely Music, Ltd. LCD 1018. DIGITAL MUSIC by Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta. Mode Records mode 21. Rfrietl)ed by TimPerkis, 1048Neilsen, Albany, CA, U.S.A. Of all his contemporaries who came to public attention in the 1960s, Alvin Lucier has taken most seriously the prime edict of minimalism: find one simple idea and stick to it. His work, like the work of his contemporaries David Tudor, Gordon Mumma, Pau- line Oliveros and David Behrman, has largely been about redefining music in terms of a meditation upon the physical properties of sound. Work- ing often as composers/performers, these musicians also articulated a new social role for composers as solitary explorers, akin to the heroic stance taken by visual artists. In factn often- times their work would be presented in gallery or installation settings rather than in a traditional concert situation. Lucier's work has been built upon the minimalist faith that the world it- self provides infinite interest, and that the artist whether working in light, space or sound- can merely focus his or her work to present nearly natural phenomena as clearly as possible. In Lucier's case, this most American of ideas has worked out well. Over the last 25 years, one strand of his work has explored the acoustic properties of various objects by driving their reso- nances with the simple sine oscillator. He has explored the response of a brick wall in Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas, of an 80-foot-long steel wire in Music on a Long Thin Wire, and of a chest of violin and small chorus in hetero- phonic fashion creates an evocative and plaintive statement. The live passages on this cassette are clear and well balanced, if limited by their technologically simple record- ing media. In contrast, the recording quality of "Sekitar 12-14 Menit", completed by the staff of STSI, is over- modulated in several places. CROSSINGS by Alvin Lucier. Lovely Music, Ltd. LCD 1018. DIGITAL MUSIC by Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta. Mode Records mode 21. Rfrietl)ed by TimPerkis, 1048Neilsen, Albany, CA, U.S.A. Of all his contemporaries who came to public attention in the 1960s, Alvin Lucier has taken most seriously the prime edict of minimalism: find one simple idea and stick to it. His work, like the work of his contemporaries David Tudor, Gordon Mumma, Pau- line Oliveros and David Behrman, has largely been about redefining music in terms of a meditation upon the physical properties of sound. Work- ing often as composers/performers, these musicians also articulated a new social role for composers as solitary explorers, akin to the heroic stance taken by visual artists. In factn often- times their work would be presented in gallery or installation settings rather than in a traditional concert situation. Lucier's work has been built upon the minimalist faith that the world it- self provides infinite interest, and that the artist whether working in light, space or sound- can merely focus his or her work to present nearly natural phenomena as clearly as possible. In Lucier's case, this most American of ideas has worked out well. Over the last 25 years, one strand of his work has explored the acoustic properties of various objects by driving their reso- nances with the simple sine oscillator. He has explored the response of a brick wall in Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas, of an 80-foot-long steel wire in Music on a Long Thin Wire, and of a chest of violin and small chorus in hetero- phonic fashion creates an evocative and plaintive statement. The live passages on this cassette are clear and well balanced, if limited by their technologically simple record- ing media. In contrast, the recording quality of "Sekitar 12-14 Menit", completed by the staff of STSI, is over- modulated in several places. CROSSINGS by Alvin Lucier. Lovely Music, Ltd. LCD 1018. DIGITAL MUSIC by Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta. Mode Records mode 21. Rfrietl)ed by TimPerkis, 1048Neilsen, Albany, CA, U.S.A. Of all his contemporaries who came to public attention in the 1960s, Alvin Lucier has taken most seriously the prime edict of minimalism: find one simple idea and stick to it. His work, like the work of his contemporaries David Tudor, Gordon Mumma, Pau- line Oliveros and David Behrman, has largely been about redefining music in terms of a meditation upon the physical properties of sound. Work- ing often as composers/performers, these musicians also articulated a new social role for composers as solitary explorers, akin to the heroic stance taken by visual artists. In factn often- times their work would be presented in gallery or installation settings rather than in a traditional concert situation. Lucier's work has been built upon the minimalist faith that the world it- self provides infinite interest, and that the artist whether working in light, space or sound- can merely focus his or her work to present nearly natural phenomena as clearly as possible. In Lucier's case, this most American of ideas has worked out well. Over the last 25 years, one strand of his work has explored the acoustic properties of various objects by driving their reso- nances with the simple sine oscillator. He has explored the response of a brick wall in Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas, of an 80-foot-long steel wire in Music on a Long Thin Wire, and of a chest of drawers in Job's Coffin; in other pieces he has used ice, water, briefcases, teapots and a canoe. With the pieces on this disc, Lucier drawers in Job's Coffin; in other pieces he has used ice, water, briefcases, teapots and a canoe. With the pieces on this disc, Lucier drawers in Job's Coffin; in other pieces he has used ice, water, briefcases, teapots and a canoe. With the pieces on this disc, Lucier has returned to the fold of classical . . . . . . muslcal practlce ln an ldlosyncratlc way, bringing his decades of work with standing waves and other acous- tic phenomena to works for players of classical Western instruments. All three pieces reproduced in Crossings are based on one trick: instrumental- ists play sustained tones or chords against a fixed sine-wave oscillator that never varies in volume. In two of the pieces, "In MemoriamJon Higgins" for solo clarinet and "Crossings" for small orchestra, the oscillator is very slowly sweeping up throughout the piece; in "Septet for Three Winds, Four Strings and Pure Wave Oscilla- tor," the oscillator is just fixed at middle C. The impact of these pieces is physiological: the unrelenting sine waves cause a strong trance effect. The combination tones, beatings and other interferences between the sine tone and the players form the heart of this music. At a certain point, the difference between changes in the music and changes caused by the listener swallowing, moving his or her head or moving across the room be- come indistinguishable. The sound has the remarkable property of seem- ing to happen right in the ear and, certainly, some of the perceptible effects are caused by breakdowns and hallucinations in the brain's sound- localization apparatus. The effect is unlike anything one is likely to have heard in normal life or in normal music. The results are fascinating, but this is a warning: some listeners may find it an unpleasant, even nauseating experience. But there is another beauty and power in this music, rooted in the in- tense concentration these pieces oW viously demand from the performers. Lucier's live solo performances always gained power from the intensity of Lucier himself, who was often moving through the space, exploring and set- ting a standard for the audience as the chief listener. In these pieces, that sense of heightened attention takes on a new delicacy, as we become aware of the extraordinary concentra- tion and skill required from the musi- cians to control their instruments. The performers meet this challenge well, and ably carry out the slow and has returned to the fold of classical . . . . . . muslcal practlce ln an ldlosyncratlc way, bringing his decades of work with standing waves and other acous- tic phenomena to works for players of classical Western instruments. All three pieces reproduced in Crossings are based on one trick: instrumental- ists play sustained tones or chords against a fixed sine-wave oscillator that never varies in volume. In two of the pieces, "In MemoriamJon Higgins" for solo clarinet and "Crossings" for small orchestra, the oscillator is very slowly sweeping up throughout the piece; in "Septet for Three Winds, Four Strings and Pure Wave Oscilla- tor," the oscillator is just fixed at middle C. The impact of these pieces is physiological: the unrelenting sine waves cause a strong trance effect. The combination tones, beatings and other interferences between the sine tone and the players form the heart of this music. At a certain point, the difference between changes in the music and changes caused by the listener swallowing, moving his or her head or moving across the room be- come indistinguishable. The sound has the remarkable property of seem- ing to happen right in the ear and, certainly, some of the perceptible effects are caused by breakdowns and hallucinations in the brain's sound- localization apparatus. The effect is unlike anything one is likely to have heard in normal life or in normal music. The results are fascinating, but this is a warning: some listeners may find it an unpleasant, even nauseating experience. But there is another beauty and power in this music, rooted in the in- tense concentration these pieces oW viously demand from the performers. Lucier's live solo performances always gained power from the intensity of Lucier himself, who was often moving through the space, exploring and set- ting a standard for the audience as the chief listener. In these pieces, that sense of heightened attention takes on a new delicacy, as we become aware of the extraordinary concentra- tion and skill required from the musi- cians to control their instruments. The performers meet this challenge well, and ably carry out the slow and has returned to the fold of classical . . . . . . muslcal practlce ln an ldlosyncratlc way, bringing his decades of work with standing waves and other acous- tic phenomena to works for players of classical Western instruments. All three pieces reproduced in Crossings are based on one trick: instrumental- ists play sustained tones or chords against a fixed sine-wave oscillator that never varies in volume. In two of the pieces, "In MemoriamJon Higgins" for solo clarinet and "Crossings" for small orchestra, the oscillator is very slowly sweeping up throughout the piece; in "Septet for Three Winds, Four Strings and Pure Wave Oscilla- tor," the oscillator is just fixed at middle C. The impact of these pieces is physiological: the unrelenting sine waves cause a strong trance effect. The combination tones, beatings and other interferences between the sine tone and the players form the heart of this music. At a certain point, the difference between changes in the music and changes caused by the listener swallowing, moving his or her head or moving across the room be- come indistinguishable. The sound has the remarkable property of seem- ing to happen right in the ear and, certainly, some of the perceptible effects are caused by breakdowns and hallucinations in the brain's sound- localization apparatus. The effect is unlike anything one is likely to have heard in normal life or in normal music. The results are fascinating, but this is a warning: some listeners may find it an unpleasant, even nauseating experience. But there is another beauty and power in this music, rooted in the in- tense concentration these pieces oW viously demand from the performers. Lucier's live solo performances always gained power from the intensity of Lucier himself, who was often moving through the space, exploring and set- ting a standard for the audience as the chief listener. In these pieces, that sense of heightened attention takes on a new delicacy, as we become aware of the extraordinary concentra- tion and skill required from the musi- cians to control their instruments. The performers meet this challenge well, and ably carry out the slow and subtle transformations that are the body of this music. Tom Ridenour, the clarinetist for whom "In MemoriamJon Higgins" was written, is the most remarkable. In Lucier's subtle transformations that are the body of this music. Tom Ridenour, the clarinetist for whom "In MemoriamJon Higgins" was written, is the most remarkable. In Lucier's subtle transformations that are the body of this music. Tom Ridenour, the clarinetist for whom "In MemoriamJon Higgins" was written, is the most remarkable. In Lucier's work the most microscopic of changes has obvious consequences, and Ridenour's playing, consisting of long, precisely pitched tones, bathes the music in an aura of attention. Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta is of a younger generation of com- posers, strongly influenced by the works and life ofJohn Cage and by the possibilities inherent in computer technology. Pimenta is a Portuguese architect in his 30s, who is also a com- poser. He has worked with Cage, and Cage's influence permeates the work. In fact, if one imagines a body of work built upon the implications of Cage's early computer-music collabo- ration with LeJaren Hiller, HPSCHD, then one gets a pretty good idea of the ground Pimenta is covering. The pieces are architectural, all long, very static spaces, which form simple arch structures if they develop at all. Development is clearly beside the point in this music: the music is lush, jangly, complexly textured, and, like Lucier's work, provides a certain field for aural hallucination. Although Xenakis in not mentioned in the liner notes, I hear a strong kinship with his music here: there is a sense that the composer is trying to create a texture complex enough to energize the acoustical field so that listeners will be able to find, or project, whatever they will into the depths of this texture. The sound material for most of the pieces seems to be completely synthe- sized. The notable exception, and one of the strongest pieces on the disk, is "Rozart", which uses record- ings of the voice of Caruso. This voice, like Einstein's brain or Elvis's comb, has a certain totemic value, but what Pimenta does with it is a cut above any of the sample-manipulation cliches we have been hearing lately. There is something like demon con- juring in this piece, the invocation of a really spooky and powerful presence. This music is not mere technical fid- dling, as too much computer music seems to be: the power and integrity of Pimenta's vision is palpable. SMALLTALK by Paul Lansky. New Albion Records, 1990. work the most microscopic of changes has obvious consequences, and Ridenour's playing, consisting of long, precisely pitched tones, bathes the music in an aura of attention. Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta is of a younger generation of com- posers, strongly influenced by the works and life ofJohn Cage and by the possibilities inherent in computer technology. Pimenta is a Portuguese architect in his 30s, who is also a com- poser. He has worked with Cage, and Cage's influence permeates the work. In fact, if one imagines a body of work built upon the implications of Cage's early computer-music collabo- ration with LeJaren Hiller, HPSCHD, then one gets a pretty good idea of the ground Pimenta is covering. The pieces are architectural, all long, very static spaces, which form simple arch structures if they develop at all. Development is clearly beside the point in this music: the music is lush, jangly, complexly textured, and, like Lucier's work, provides a certain field for aural hallucination. Although Xenakis in not mentioned in the liner notes, I hear a strong kinship with his music here: there is a sense that the composer is trying to create a texture complex enough to energize the acoustical field so that listeners will be able to find, or project, whatever they will into the depths of this texture. The sound material for most of the pieces seems to be completely synthe- sized. The notable exception, and one of the strongest pieces on the disk, is "Rozart", which uses record- ings of the voice of Caruso. This voice, like Einstein's brain or Elvis's comb, has a certain totemic value, but what Pimenta does with it is a cut above any of the sample-manipulation cliches we have been hearing lately. There is something like demon con- juring in this piece, the invocation of a really spooky and powerful presence. This music is not mere technical fid- dling, as too much computer music seems to be: the power and integrity of Pimenta's vision is palpable. SMALLTALK by Paul Lansky. New Albion Records, 1990. work the most microscopic of changes has obvious consequences, and Ridenour's playing, consisting of long, precisely pitched tones, bathes the music in an aura of attention. Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta is of a younger generation of com- posers, strongly influenced by the works and life ofJohn Cage and by the possibilities inherent in computer technology. Pimenta is a Portuguese architect in his 30s, who is also a com- poser. He has worked with Cage, and Cage's influence permeates the work. In fact, if one imagines a body of work built upon the implications of Cage's early computer-music collabo- ration with LeJaren Hiller, HPSCHD, then one gets a pretty good idea of the ground Pimenta is covering. The pieces are architectural, all long, very static spaces, which form simple arch structures if they develop at all. Development is clearly beside the point in this music: the music is lush, jangly, complexly textured, and, like Lucier's work, provides a certain field for aural hallucination. Although Xenakis in not mentioned in the liner notes, I hear a strong kinship with his music here: there is a sense that the composer is trying to create a texture complex enough to energize the acoustical field so that listeners will be able to find, or project, whatever they will into the depths of this texture. The sound material for most of the pieces seems to be completely synthe- sized. The notable exception, and one of the strongest pieces on the disk, is "Rozart", which uses record- ings of the voice of Caruso. This voice, like Einstein's brain or Elvis's comb, has a certain totemic value, but what Pimenta does with it is a cut above any of the sample-manipulation cliches we have been hearing lately. There is something like demon con- juring in this piece, the invocation of a really spooky and powerful presence. This music is not mere technical fid- dling, as too much computer music seems to be: the power and integrity of Pimenta's vision is palpable. SMALLTALK by Paul Lansky. New Albion Records, 1990. Reviewed by Nick Didkovsky, 171 East 99th St., Apt. 20, New York, NY 10029, U.S.A. Smalltalk is an easily digestible collec- Reviewed by Nick Didkovsky, 171 East 99th St., Apt. 20, New York, NY 10029, U.S.A. Smalltalk is an easily digestible collec- Reviewed by Nick Didkovsky, 171 East 99th St., Apt. 20, New York, NY 10029, U.S.A. Smalltalk is an easily digestible collec- 1 12 Current Literature 1 12 Current Literature 1 12 Current Literature This content downloaded from 185.2.32.89 on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 00:55:50 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditionshttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspArticle Contentsp. 112Issue Table of ContentsLeonardo Music Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1991), pp. 1-122Front Matter [pp. 2-94]Editorial: The Future of Music/The Future of Leonardo [p. 1]Editorial: The "Leonardo Music Journal" and "Leonardo" Compact Disc Series [p. 3]Perspectives on Experimental MusicAustralian Experimental Music 1963-1990 [pp. 5-10]Contributor's ArticleTrends in New Acoustic Musical Instrument Design [pp. 11-16]17 Gloomy Sentences (And Commentary) at the Turn of the Millennium (In the Form of an Editorial) [pp. 17-18]"Komposisi Baru": On Contemporary Composition in Indonesia [pp. 19-24]Artist's ArticlesThe "Airplayer" Series: Manipulation of Light, Sound and Space through Technology [pp. 25-30]Chaos and Creativity: The Dynamic Systems Approach to Musical Composition [pp. 31-36]Software as Sculpture: Creating Music from the Ground up [pp. 37-40]Low Brass: The Evolution of Trombone-Propelled Electronics [pp. 41-44]From Notebooks #2 [pp. 45-50]Nature, Networks, Chamber Music [pp. 51-53]Theoretical ArticlesA Catalog of Statistical Distributions: Techniques for Transforming Random, Determinate and Chaotic Sequences [pp. 55-70]Relative Ratio Tuning: An Intonational Strategy for Performance Systems [pp. 71-73]CD Companion: Contributor's Articles and NotesIntroduction [pp. 75-76]"Don Giovanni" and Other New Electronic Operatic Works [pp. 77-80]"Transmission Two: The Great Excursion (TT:TGE)": The Aesthetic, Art and Science of a Composition for Radio [pp. 81-88]Local Conditions and Perceptual Concerns: Notes on Several Sound Works [pp. 89-93]Contributors' Notes [pp. 95-102]Music/Science ForumNotes from the NetJam Project [pp. 103-105]Entre/Sortie [pp. 105-106]Current LiteratureBook ReviewsReview: untitled [pp. 107-108]Review: untitled [pp. 108-109]Review: untitled [p. 110]Recording ReviewsReview: untitled [pp. 110-111]Review: untitled [pp. 111-112]Review: untitled [p. 112]Review: untitled [pp. 112-113]Review: Recommended/Further Readings [pp. 113-114]Review: Books Received [p. 114]Review: Cassettes/CDs Received [p. 114]Publications ReviewsReview: untitled [p. 115]Review: untitled [pp. 115-116]Review: untitled [pp. 116-117]Review: untitled [pp. 117-118]Software ReviewsReview: untitled [p. 118]Review: untitled [p. 119]Review: untitled [pp. 119-120]Leonardo Music Journal Glossary [pp. 121-122]Back Matter

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