Found Sounds & Field Recordings
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Artists' Co-Operative Gallery
Johnny Chang, Documentation (3) - 30 seconds of...
Samuel Beckett, Quad
Rudolf Kamper, Number 25
Steve Reich, Pendulum Music
Devin Maxwell, Music for Spaceships (The Battle of Los Angeles)
Samuel Beckett, Breath
Robert Erickson, Nine + a Half for Henry (and Wilbur and Orville)
John Cage, Radio Music
Joe Drew, Arena
Velvet Underground, The Gift
During ARTSaha! 2006, The Blue Barn's Witching Hour performed a gripping version of Samuel Beckett's Quad as part of our centenary retrospective on the playwright. If ANALOG had not had such a talented partner in that production, our version of the play would have looked more like the one you see tonight: Four walkers moving in space, distinct sound patterns attached to each. But what is intentional and what is accidental? Are the sounds of shuffling feet coming from the performers or the guy who's getting to the concert late?
The blurred lines between noise and notes, actions and accidents is at the hear of Found Sounds, which premiered earlier this year in Los Angeles. This wide ranging program uses field recordings from busy streets and crowded subway platforms to create a different kind of music where noise is given a seat at the head of the table. As Luigi Russolo wrote in his manifesto "The Art of Noises" (1913), "Every manifestation of our life is accompanied by noise. The noise, therefore, is familiar to our ear, and has the power to conjure up life itself."
The sound of a baby's first cry juxtaposed with a dying man's last breath traces the circle of life in 30 seconds in Beckett's Breath. In John Cage's Radio Music, that ultimate radicalizing artifact, the transistor radio, is tuned by an ensemble of musicians who create a virtual symphony of static and broadcast signals. On Found Sounds, we recast noise as music so that the next time you find yourself stuck in traffic, you just might find yourself humming along. -- Rene Edmunds