Michael Pisaro/Taku Sugimoto

Michael Pisaro and Taku Sugimoto are not generally closely associated, but have quite a bit in common. Both are composers whose primary instrument is the guitar, both have close ties to the Wandelweiser collective (Pisaro is a longtime member), and both have pursued their unique paths without much concern as to how the rest of the world will perceive them. 2 seconds/b minor/wave marks their first collaboration, but these aesthetic overlaps allow their independently conceived recorded parts to fit together remarkably naturally.

Michael Pisaro has been associated with the Wandelweiser collective since just after their formation in the early nineties. The departure points for his music were John Cage’s ideas of the durational frame, Ben Johnston’s work with alternate tunings, Christian Wolff’s opening of the relationship between composition and performance, and Alvin Lucier and James Tenney’s use of scientific hypotheses to explore sound phenomena. Pisaro has spent much of the last decade making field recordings, and occasionally using them in his work. Much of his recent composition, and especially the work with his primary collaborator, percussionist Greg Stuart, has concerned the massing and then the spatialization of sound to create ‘homemade’ environments. Pisaro lives in Southern California, teaching at the California Institute of the Arts, running the Experimental Music Workshop, and curating his own recently launched recording imprint, Gravity Wave. This is his first recording for Erstwhile.

Currently Sugimoto's interest focuses on composition and its performance, rather than improvisation. With Taku Unami and Masahiko Okura, Sugimoto organizes the almost-monthly Chamber Music Concert at Loop-Line and the irregular Taku Sugimoto Composition Series at Kid Ailack Art Hall, both in Tokyo. He runs the label Slub Music, which in addition to Sugimoto's own recordings has released CDs by other Japanese musicians as well as Wandelweiser mainstays Radu Malfatti and Antoine Beuger. He has just issued the first four discs compiling the abovementioned Composition Series, a strong statement on two double CDs documenting his work over the past few years. This is his second recording for Erstwhile after 2000's seminal The World Turned Upside Down, and he also took part in the AMPLIFY 2002 festival in Tokyo and is featured on the box set of that event.

2 seconds/b minor/wave is a long distance collaboration, with each musician composing and recording their own parts, before hearing what the other had done. Pulse, pitch and wave were the three areas they wanted to explore on the three pieces, and loose rules/guidelines were agreed on beforehand, as follows: '2 seconds' was a unit of pulse, either as a basic unit or a point of departure; 'b minor' was a key, with Sugimoto playing harmony and Pisaro playing melody: and 'wave', with no further details, simply whatever that word brought to mind. This was the extent of the specific discussion between the two, and thus the entirely fluid melding of the results is a testament to their deep understanding of the other's aesthetic/s. Yuko Zama's intuitively empathetic design is a perfect symbiotic fit for the music contained within.