Joined: Feb 13, 2014
Location: Atlanta, GA USA
Audio files: 1
|Posted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:47 pm Post subject:
Coalescence: A Sound Performance for Shortwave Radios
Subject description: Featuring four shortwave radio operators "playing" a composition by David Lee
|Greetings. Although I have been an interested lurker and listener for quite some time, this entry marks my first post on the electro-music forum.
I first met Howard Moscovitz several years ago when he participated in an electronic music festival in Atlanta, Georgia, called City Skies, which was produced by Jim Combs. As a freelance music writer, I wrote an article about the event for a local magazine. More recently, I was introduced to Howard's brother, David. As David and I were exploring all the things and people we had in common, his brother's name came up. I mentioned our prior encounter, and told David about a performance piece in which I participated some 23 years ago. To make a long story briefer, that conversation inspired me to join the forum and post the recording you will find attached.
Coalescence is a composition for four shortwave radios written by David Lee, an Atlanta-based artist. In spring/summer 1991, two live performances of Coalescence were presented neither of which was recorded. Since Lee was primarily interested in exploring the nature of improvisation and music-making, he insisted on not turning on a tape recorder. The notion being that chronicling the performance should be handled by memory, itself an improvisational exercise, rather than codified by an immutable document.
In many ways, making Coalescence was a transformational experience for the four performers, which included the composer and your correspondent (the other participants were Susan Eldridge and Angela Bowyer). Both performances were enthusiastically appreciated by the audience. It would be nice now to go back and listen to the proceedings. Happily, seven Coalescence rehearsal sessions were recorded on cassette tape. Attached here is the first of these rehearsals, which transpired over a period of months during winter 1990/spring 1991.
The score of Coalescence calls for four performers each of whom is listening to a shortwave radio using headphones. The audience is seated in the middle of a square defined by the radio operators sitting at their stations in each corner. Each radio is equipped with a loudspeaker. At first, the audience cannot hear the radios; the room is quiet.
* The performers are instructed to "play" a particular type of sound, which they must find within the vast shortwave radio spectrum.
* All sounds are found in "real-time." In other words, the performers are at the mercy of the radio soundscape at the time of the performance -- reception and propagation conditions, time of day, weather, and the room itself are all factors in the mix.
* Once the appropriate sound is located on the dial, the performer disconnects the headphones and brings up the volume so the audience can hear.
* According to the score, the sounds are held for a specified duration, sometimes as a singular contribution, sometimes in unison with one or more performers/radios.
* Up until the final movement of Coalescence no voices are allowed, no regular broadcast programs, no speaking or singing. Only the abstract textural weirdness -- the phantasmagorical humming, whistling, thrumming and clicking sounds endemic to the shortwave bands -- is used to create the "music."
* For the final movement, the performers find a voice broadcast and bring up the volume of all four radios at once, thus ending Coalescence in a confluence of humans talking.
As previously noted, the attached recording was made during a rehearsal, which took place in an open loft/studio apartment at the Mattress Factory warehouse in downtown Atlanta. Consequently, the breaks and pauses between passages contain a lot of unplanned ambient sounds. So what? By nature, Coalescence lends itself to just about any input including trains and buses passing by, car horns honking, alarms going off, doors opening and closing. During one rehearsal, someone down the hall cranked up a circular saw.
I hope you enjoy listening to Coalescence. I would love receiving feedback from forum members and will be happy to answer questions.
If anyone is interested, I can post one or more of the remaining six rehearsals each of which lasts about 35-40 minutes.
Thanks in advance for listening.
|Coalescence -- Rehearsal #1
|| Coalescence R1 MP3.mp3
|| 30.49 MB
|| 984 Time(s)
Last edited by OleSenna on Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:44 am; edited 4 times in total