Amplify 2011: stones will happen in New York from September 1st to the 17th. While I imagine the entire (amazing looking) festival is likely of interest to people who purchase Gravity Wave discs, the label itself will celebrate a “mini-festival” under this larger umbrella at The Stone, on September 14th and 15th. A wonderful group of performers will be participating, including GW stalwarts Greg Stuart and Barry Chabala, along with two superb players of low instruments: Dominic Lash, contrabass and Katie Porter, bass clarinet.
Wednesday, September 14
7:30 PM: A cloud drifting over the plain (Michael Pisaro, Greg Stuart, Barry Chabala, Dominic Lash)
This is the final piece from my larger cycle, Four Pieces for Recorded Percussion (2008). Most of the sounds on the recording (played back on Amplify’s excellent sound system) emanate from drops of water falling on all manner of objects (including many percussion instruments). Greg Stuart recorded eighty separate tracks of these sounds, which were then overlaid to create surprising rhythmic aggregates. The quartet of live performers move in and around the sustained rainfall of Greg’s fantastic recording.
9 PM: mind is moving (I and IV) (Michael Pisaro, Dominic Lash)
This is a duo version of this piece from 1996, the first time it will have been performed in this arrangement. The solo mind is moving I was one of my first recordings on the Edition Wandelweiser label (EWR 0106). The piece concerns the relationship between quiet, but often quite complex, overtone constellations and their surrounding silence.
10:30 PM: fields have ears (6) (Barry Chabala, Michael Pisaro)
This piece has been evolving steadily over the last couple years. The core of the work is a solo piece for electric guitar – which lays down a kind of harmonic grid (in combination with sine tones). The piece has with each performance accumulated new sounds: from turntables, radios and the performance locations themselves (including at this point Munich, Seattle and A coruña). It is something like an overgrown garden, where the rectilinear format of the original planting is at times covered and distorted by layers of overgrowth.
Thursday, September 15
7:30 PM: A transparent gate with ten panels (Greg Stuart solo) (double length set)
This 100-minute work will receive the premiere of the complete version during this festival. The basic set-up of the piece is solo percussion playing along with eight small speakers, laid out in an arc across the stage. The sounds in the speakers are derived from the same instruments (as performed by Greg) as those that are played live, creating a variety of “reliefs” between the live sound and the layered versions of itself being played back. It is organized into ten “panels” of 10 minutes each (with silences between the panels), a structure loosely based on Ghiberti’s “Gates of Paradise.”
10:30 PM: asleep, street, pipes, tones (Michael Pisaro, Katie Porter)
A live version of GW 004! Performed for the first time by Porter, bass clarinet, and Pisaro, electric guitar, at Experimental Intermedia in December of 2009, the piece is dedicated to Phill Niblock. The electronic parts consist largely of samples and field recordings and will (I hope) make full use of the Amplify sound system.
Two other nights might be of special interest to Gravity Wave fans.
The kick-off of the festival is on Thursday, September 1st at The Stone (a Wandelweiser evening):
10 PM: Michael Pisaro-hinwandeln, augen zu (premiere) both sets performed by the trio of Barry Chabala/Dominic Lash/Ben Owen
The full title, hinwandeln, zwischen himmel und erd, is taken from Hölderlin. It refers to the movement, back and forth, between waking and dreaming. The score simply gives indications of the number of melodic/harmonic events in a certain sequence, asking the performers to create, under these conditions, a harmonious community on the spot. augen zu, picks up, more or less where hinwandeln leaves off: on it's way to steady state, with eyes closed. The score was written specifically for this trio.
The day before the Gravity Wave festival starts, Radu Malfatti and I will perform two sets, each one devoted to music we wrote for our duo.
Tuesday, September 13 (at The Stone):
8 PM: Claude Lorrain 2 (Malfatti)
10 PM: Ascending Series (6) (Pisaro)
Radu and I first performed this pair of pieces in Munich a couple years ago. We knew we wanted to write two duos for the same concert, but said nothing about what the contents might be. We were both pretty shocked at how much overlap there was been the two scores, given the different directions our music has gone in the past few years. The two instruments, trombone and electric guitar, seem like an obvious, natural combination.
Please come and hear us live, if you can, and of course, Gravity Wave discs will be on sale at the festival.