Photo by Maggi Payne

Produced by
Electronic Music Foundation

Ear to the Earth 2006
Extended Worlds

Saturday, October 7, 2007 8pm
3ld Art & Technology Center
Greenwich Street

Composers extended realworld sounds, stories, and images into evocative video and sound art. Iannis Xenakis used the sounds of smoldering charcoal in Concrète PH, David Monacchi presented video images and transforms sounds from the Tiber River in Rome, Philip Dadson performed with stones from the coast of New Zealand, Maggi Payne's video projected transform landscapes and sounds, Luc Ferrari explored the sounds of night, and Joel Chadabe presented images and sounds from New York and New Delhi.

PROGRAM

Concrete PH ........................................................................................................................Iannis Xenakis

Stati d'Acqua ......................................................................................................................David Monacchi

Song/Stone Toktok.................................................................................................................Philip Dadson

Apparent Horizon ....................................................................................................................Maggi Payne
Presque Rien 2 Part 1.................................................................................................................Luc Ferrari

One World 1 ..........................................................................................................................Joel Chadabe

ABOUT THE MUSIC

Iannis Xenakis: Concrete PH
Although Le Corbusier, the most prestigious architect in France at the time, was the architect of record for the Philips Pavilion at the Brussels World's Fair of 1958, Iannis Xenakis had played a leading role in its design. Composer as well as architect, Xenakis had been working in Pierre Schaeffer's musique concrète studio in Paris, where he composed Concrète PH, a composition of less than two minutes duration which was played every day as an interlude between presentations of Edgard Varèse' Poème Electronique. Based entirely on the gritty sounds of smoldering charcoal, Concrète PH is one of the first compositions to derive its musical material from a single natural source.

David Monacchi: Stati D'Acqua
David Monacchi presents his transformed field recordings of the Tiber River in Rome and projects images relating to the sounds. The composer writes:

"Stati d'Acqua reflects the manifold mutations that water undergoes in its physical form. Motion, stagnation, evaporation, condensation, and falling are the states in which water gives rise to every life form. In creating this composition, I used experimental microphone techniques to record the sounds of water in the environment. I recorded springs, streams, waterfalls, water dripping in caves, and ocean waves. I found that water produces an infinite range of sounds throughout the entire range of audible frequencies, and that it sometimes creates melodies, sounding almost like human music. Listening to the melodies of water, I created a water tuning system that let me compose in homage to water and to its fluidity and its changing states. "

 

 

Philip Dadson: Song/Stone Toktok

New Zealand-based performance and sound-artist Philip Dadson performs with stones from the southernmost beaches of New Zealand. Dadson writes:

"Conversing with song/stones, i.e. playing them in numerous ways so they talk and sing, maybe including stone stories. A kind of archeology of stones. Toktok is Melanesian pidgin for conversation/dialogue. Just recently I was in Southland mounting an installation, 3 days indoors, and each day yearning for the stone beaches of the southern-most coastline, the bays of Ihaka, Colac, and Orepuki. I finally got there. Hired a car and sped to the beach early the same morning my flight was due to leave for home. The unique thing about these southern bays is the conglomeration of stones that make up the pebbles on the beach, as if the complete variety of glacial, igneous and sedimentary rocks shuffle their way down and around the coastline to end up in a sonorous multitude at the bottom of the island; the wild water currents swiping the shoreline with crushing waves, that stone on stone grind and wear rocks of every kind into a crystaline kaleidescope of sun-refracting granules; schist, quartz, argylite, serpentine, basalt. The best foley pebble floor on the planet."

Maggi Payne: Apparent Horizon

Maggi Payne collected video images of earth landscapes from earth and space perspectives and combined the images with sound to bring us into a new aural and visual reality of a world in which we are the aliens. She writes:

"My idea was to slowly reveal information in various landscapes by holding still on an image for several seconds, then zooming in or out or panning to reveal more detail, an unusual vista, rock formation. Then it occurred to me that it might also be interesting to see what is 'revealed' from an overhead view, so I incorporated NASA footage taken by the Space Shuttle and Apollo series astronauts. It is at times difficult to distinguish earth views from space from those taken on the earth's surface, especially since many of the earthbound shots are of rather 'alien' landscapes - those where I, as a human being, don't really fit in. In these often desolate places the only sounds one hears are wind, insects, a scant number of birds and animals and a rare rainstorm. In an attempt to convey the sensations I experienced, as well as those sensations I imagined the astronauts experienced, I took transmissions from space shuttle and Apollo missions, satellite transmissions, and shortwave radio broadcasts, and transformed them into sounds reminiscent of the sounds in the landscapes to which they are attached."

Luc Ferrari: Presque Rien 2 Part 1
The first Presque Rien (in English, "Practically Nothing") was composed in 1970. Subtitled "Sunrise near the sea", it was an early example of what Ferrari called 'anecdotal music', by which he meant music that tells a story. During a visit to the Dalmation Coast in Yugoslavia, he set his microphones on a window sill pointing out to the Adriatic Sea, recorded the sounds of the place including people, animals, a motor starting, cicadas ... and later, in his studio, transformed the recording into a composition.

The first episode of Presque Rien 2, composed in 1977, is heard in this concert. Subtitled "Thus the night continues in my 'multiple' head", this composition is more personal, something like a diary of his exploration of a nocturnal landscape. Carrying his microphones, Ferrari is talking quietly with his wife Brunhilde as he walks through the night and imagines as well as records the sounds.

Joel Chadabe: One World 1

A dynamic composition of projected images and sounds from New York and New Delhi. Chadabe writes:

"The primary concept behind One World is that we all, whatever the specifics of our different cultures and beliefs, share the same world through a common human bond.

"At the same time, it seems clear at this moment in history that the idea of sharing one world through a common human bond is a utopian goal rather than a current reality. It is one of the major problems of our age that inundated with information, much of it disturbing, we view the world today as a complex, turbulent and chaotic system of different nationalities, religions, cultures, and politics, as if the world were one large crowded city overwhelmed by urban noise. We all face the same dilemma. How do we interact with this world? How do we extract humanity from the chaos to focus on individual lives?"

The field recordings and images from New York were done by Benjamin Chadabe. The field recordings and images from New Delhi were done by Shankar Barua. One World 1 was composed with support from the New York State Council on the Arts.