Thursday, December 21, 2017

Gravity Wave 2018

(Photo of the eastern shore of Syros by Michael Pisaro)

After a hiatus of about three years, Gravity Wave will swing back into action in 2018 with three releases (containing seven discs total).

(Photo of Étant donnés, Marcel Duchamp, exterior, by Yuko Zama)

 Étant donnés (GW 014) is a six-track disc based almost entirely on samples.

1. give me your sines (2’44)
2. rounds most pinched, most arched (10’00)
3. bass never smiles (4’04)
4. sympathy for 11 (11’00)
5. escape from new chords (6’24)
6. shosty riot (5’34)

(Photo of Fifty Days at Iliam, Cy Twombly, by Yuko Zama)

Shades of Eternal Night (GW 015) is largely derived from piano recordings by Reinier van Houdt. It contains several field recordings made on Syros (Greece) as well. The piece is in three sections as follows:

I. Ghosts of the Site (7'00)
II. Event Storm (20'00)
III. The Poem of Names (17'00)

Both of these will be released early in 2018.

(Photo of the ancient fortress of Kastri, on Syros, by Michael Pisaro)


(Along the Grosse Mühl, Austria. Photo by Michael Pisaro)

Before the end of the year, the label will release a 5-disc box set titled Nature Denatured and Found Again (GW 016-020)

The piece is derived from field recordings made along the Grosse Mühl River, Neufelden, Austria, from 2011 to 2015 (during the flussaufwärts project created by Joachim Eckl, Marcus Kaiser and myself). Alongside the recordings of the river as it flows down from Neufelden to the Danube, are performances by Antoine Beuger, Jürg Frey, Marcus Kaiser, Radu Malfatti, André Möller, and Kathryn Pisaro. I’ve been working on the piece since 2011 and will be very happy to have it finally see the light of day.

Disc 1: Fissures in Green (2011)
Disc 2: Pathsplitter (Yellow-Red) (2012)
Disc 3: Landscape in Black and Grey (2013)
Disc 4: White Light Under the Door  (2014)
Disc 5: Hellgrün (Small New World) (2015)

Each disc will be 72 minutes long.

(Jürg Frey playing during Flussaufwärts in 2011. Photo by Emmanuelle Waeckerle)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Michael Pisaro European Tour (May 2016)

Detail from score for fields have ears (10).


Tectonics Glasgow 2016 Festival, Hosted by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
City Halls and Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, UK

Sunday, May 8, 16:45, Grand Hall
Premiere of Lucretius Melody for soprano, viola, two guitars and electronics (35’).  Based on the fourth book of Lucretius’ de rerum natura (and the fourth of six pieces in a series based on that work).

Jessika Kenney, soprano, Eyvind Kang, viola, Neil Davidson and Michael Pisaro, guitars

Sunday, May 8, 18:15, Grand Hall
Premiere of fields have ears (10) (constellation, monarch, canyon) for piano and orchestra (25’), also features works by Alvin Curran and Alwynne Pritchard.

John Tilbury, piano, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov, conductor

On May 7, I will be playing Annea Lockwood’s Jitterbug, along with Eyvind Kang, Jessika Kinney and John Tilbury, (16:30, Grand Hall)

Recording at Césaré near Reims, France 

With Stéphane Garin (percussion) and Didier Aschour (guitar).

We will be recording two pieces for guitar, percussion and electronics for the Paris-based label Potlatch: Hearing Metal (4) (Birds in Space) (2010/2011) and Grounded Cloud (2015).


Concert at Instants Chavirés, May 13, 21:00 (9pm)
Les Instants Chavirés 7, rue Richard-Lenoir 93100 Montreuil

Hearing Metal 4 (Birds in Space) and Grounded Cloud
Didier Aschour, guitar
Stéphane Garin, percussion
Michael Pisaro, electronics

San Sebastián/Donostia, Spain

Workshops and Concertsat Tabakalera, May 14 and 15
Centro Internacional de Cultura Contemporánea
Plaza de las cigarreras, 1, 20012. Donostia / San Sebastián

With Stéphane Garin and Dider Aschour

The concerts will include Hearing Metal (4), Grounded Cloud and melody, silence (1) for guitar

Haan (near Düsseldorf), Germany

May 19, 20:00, Concert with Antoine Beuger at the Atelier im Hof, Wilhelmstraße 21, 42781 Haan

Music and texts by John Ashbery, Antoine Beuger, Jürg Frey, Alex Mah, Michael Pisaro and Christian Wolff.


May 22, Maze Festival, Splendor, Amsterdam
Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat 116, 1011 LX, Amsterdam

19:30: Here 2/3, Dante Boon and Reinier van Houdt, pianos
20:00: Preconcert talk with Michael Pisaro and Samuel Vriezen
20:30: MAZE plays Michael Pisaro (festhalten, loslassen) and Yannis Kyriakides (Oneirocriticon)


Angelica Festival, May 25, 21:30, Centro di Ricerca Musicale, Teatro San Leonardo, Bologna

Music of Michael Pisaro
entre-moments: constellations & the earth and the sky (2005)
White Metal (Grey Series No. 2) (2012/13)

Performed by Reinier van Houdt (piano, electronics) and Michael Pisaro (electronics)


May 27, recording for erstwhile records with Keith Rowe at APO-33.

May 28, 20:30, Plateforme Intermédia, La Fabrique, 2 boulevard Léon Bureau, Nantes
ONsemble with Keith Rowe and Michael Pisaro

Monday, July 27, 2015

Forthcoming, 2015/16 (Pisaro projects including releases from other labels)

Detail from Cy Twombly's "The fire that consumes all before it" (FIFTY DAYS AT ILLIUM)

It has been quite a while since this blog has been updated, so we thought it might be nice to provide an overview of the releases I’m working on, until the end of 2016.

A mist is a collection of points (New World Records), October 2015

A three movement, hour long trio for piano, percussion and sine tones, composed in 2014/2015 and premiered by Phillip Bush, Greg Stuart and myself at the Columbia Museum of Art (South Carolina) in February, 2015.  It was recorded in Columbia at the University of South Carolina School of Music, shortly thereafter (with Jeff Francis, engineer and Joe Panzner, mastering engineer).

Here’s a text I wrote about the piece:

A mist is a collection of points – but every mist has a context. There are the individual droplets, but then there are the forces that hold them in suspension and with enough proximity that we recognize coherence. Inside the mist there might be places where it seems to disappear altogether, where it becomes atomized and separate, even though, from a distance away one is still in the midst (of the mist). There might also be places where the mist becomes so dense that is more like a wall. We live in a kind of mist as well, in a world where there is neither absolute clarity nor absolute opacity. There are only degrees or intensities of these.

This is the situation that I hoped, with the help of Greg Stuart and Phillip Bush, to create, in various ways in this piece. Each of the three parts presents a distinct kind of mist and each part has one moment of change or temporary clarity, where the mist either disappears (Part I), reappears (Part II) or changes character (Part III). (Sometimes it occurs to the mist that it has no foundation.) The constitution of each mist state is a different music, but there is (musically speaking) also a kind of continuity from one state to the next, as if one had come back to the same location, but one hour (or one day) later.

Phillip Bush, Michael Pisaro and Greg Stuart at the "Mist" sessions.

Duo with Christian Wolff (erstwhile), March 2016

In November of last year, while I was teaching at Harvard University for the Fall Semester, I invited Christian Wolff (who studied and taught Classics and Comparative Literature at Harvard from the early 50’s to the early 70’s) for a short residency. We took advantage of his visit to record in historic Paine Hall, with Christian on prepared piano and me on electric guitar. Christian’s playing is really impressive, radical in structure (like many of his recently composed pieces), but evoking some ghosts from his musical past, that must surely still haunt Cambridge. The disc will consist of two pieces of 28’10” each.

A glimpse of Christian's piano preparations for the Harvard session.

Piano (performed by Reinier van Houdt) (ErstClass) September, 2016

In May/June the amazing Rotterdam-based pianist Reinier van Houdt came to Los Angeles and we spent two weeks recording material for a 3-disc retrospective of my music for solo piano.

The oldest piece recorded was Akasa, for a mixture of piano harmonics and normal playing, written in 1994. The most recent work is Green Hour, Grey Future, a 73-minute piece for piano and electronics written for Reinier in 2014/15. (This will be the entire third CD of the set.) Also included in the set will be fade (2000), the earth, the sky (2005/6), fields have ears (2) (2008/9), Les Jours, Mon Aubépine (2012) and several shorter pieces. We explored a huge range of recording techniques in the making of the set, in line with the works recorded and with experiments Reinier has carried out in his own practice over the past 30 years.

Reinier van Houdt with a local field recordist (Valencia, CA)

Gravity Wave 014 and 015, early 2017

Detail from Étant donnés (Marcel Duchamp)

Gravity Wave is taking a break this year, after the release of the 3-disc Continuum Unbound in November of 2014. But we will be back with two new releases in early 2017. Both pieces are dedicated to masterworks I encountered for the first time on a single trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in January of 2013.

Étant donnés (GW 014) is formulated as a response t0 Marcel Duchamp’s work of the same name (his final, long secret and still controversial installation). The CD will consist almost entirely of musical found objects.

Shades of Eternal Night (GW 015) takes its title from one of the paintings of Cy Twombly’s symbolic re-telling of The Iliad in his FIFTY DAYS AT ILIAM.  The backbone of this piece is a series of chords which Reinier van Houdt recorded (from a sketch I gave him) during the ErstClass sessions.

"Shades of Eternal Night" from FIFTY DAYS AT ILIAM

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Early October

The release of the next Gravity Wave project, Continuum Unbound, is imminent: we expect it will be ready to ship by the beginning of October. 

It is a box with three discs – 3 hours and 36 minutes of music total – and our biggest project to date. 

In addition to the box, each disc has its own cover, and there is a booklet with score excerpts, photographs and extensive liner notes. (Scroll down to the previous entry, if you are interested in the musical contents. I'll just add that the contributions from Greg Stuart, Patrick Farmer, Joe Panzner and Toshiya Tsunoda, were incredible.) 

We're very excited to get this out, but it is expensive to produce, so pre-orders would be very welcome. (This can be done using the button for the box on the right side panel.) Thanks to everyone who has already pre-ordered and for the support of the label in general.

I've reproduced the box cover above, and the three CD covers below. 

Box cover collage and the photos for 011 and 012 are by Greg Stuart. The photo for 013 is by myself (Michael Pisaro). Yuko Zama designed the whole set. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Continuum Unbound, Fall 2014

In the Fall of 2014, Gravity Wave will release three CDs comprising the new work Continuum Unbound, the largest project we have undertaken with the label.

It is a piece in three separate parts, each 72 minutes long, each one disc.

Kingsnake Grey is a field recording of sundown in the Congaree National Park in South Carolina. The beautiful and erratic sonic transformation that occurred over the 72 minutes was the model for the other two pieces. (GW 011)

Congaree Nomads takes as its basis 24 three-minute recordings Greg Stuart and I made in the park, along Cedar Creek and the Kingsnake, the Weston Lake and the River trails. It is a “nomadic” series that moves very gradually from the Creek to the Congaree River. Instrumental “fogs” (harmonies made by Pisaro and Stuart) overlay the field recordings. (GW 012)

Anabasis is a composition in 72 parts for five musicians, loosely based on four kinds of materials: Sand, Wind, Tone and Wave. The musicians featured on this recording (in addition to Pisaro and Stuart) will be Patrick Farmer, Joe Panzner and Toshiya Tsunoda. (GW 013)

Continuum Unbound, as the title implies, attempts to hear how the apparent continuum of the sounding world is actually a series of states that are as fragile and discontinuous as they are solid and connected. (Discrete continuity is one of the ways we have of understanding contingency.)

The three discs will be available  in a box (along with a printed essay).

(Photos are by Greg Stuart and Michael Pisaro)