1. Ricefall (2) (72:00)
(released October 10, 2010)
ricefall (2) (2007)
Michael Pisaro - composition
Greg Stuart - percussion, recording, mixing, mastering
design by Yuko Zama
ricefall (2) is a 72-minute piece for 64 separate tracks of rice falling on objects. This recording is the second part of a trilogy of the first disc length works by Stuart and Pisaro (an unrhymed chord is the first part, and A wave and waves is the third). The dynamic range of the recording is extremely wide. In the second of the four sections, there is a storm of falling rice that is certainly the loudest music the duo have made; the final section is an unbroken 16 minutes of lightly falling, slightly pitched sounds. The release features a short essay by Pisaro on working with Stuart.
Yuko Zama, view from elsewhere
Michael Pisaro's music has changed my way of listening to sounds completely. And especially after listening to "ricefall (2)", my ears were opened more widely for the subtle sounds in the environment that I used to miss before - like the almost inaudible sounds of water quietly running through the pipe over the ceiling suddenly started jumping into my consciousness, with a hint of a harmony formed by faint echoes. This is the thing that always fascinates me when I listen to "ricefall (2)". Behind the thick or thin wall of the sounds of rice falling at different speeds on the surfaces of 64 percussion instruments (sometimes it sounds like an intense squall, sometimes it sounds like a sparse raindrop hitting on the roof gently), some microscopic harmonies echoed behind the sounds of the rice falling gradually start to grow in my ears over the course of the 72 minute piece - like some transparent fragments of lights start to turn to subtle colors. The harmonies behind the rice fall sounds are almost inaudible - like flickers of tiny lights, but the subtlety and the distant feel (which feels like the echoes were coming somewhere far distant from the reality) attract me, gluing me to the sounds throughout the whole piece.
The simple sounds of falling rice gradually start to be heard as more musical every time I listen - like it was performed by an orchestra (of gravity, rice, and many different surfaces of percussion instruments, with Greg Stuart as the conductor.) The way the density and sparseness of the falling rice changes minute by minute is mesmerizing - it was thoughtfully composed by Michael Pisaro to give the whole piece a perfect balance, not to fall into a chaotic mess at all. It evokes in me a pure white light that keeps changing its brightness and softness over the course of time - sometimes a dazzlingly powerful sunlight, sometimes soft, delicate flickers of light. The ever-changing textures of sounds give me a positive feel of tremendous vitality of life and strong awareness. Greg Stuart's delicate and skillful control of dropping rice brilliantly realizes Pisaro's composition as a phenomenal piece of music, using the simple power of gravity. (10/24/2010)