Michael Pisaro/Greg Stuart - Closed Categories In Cartesian Worlds (CD)
CD inside a cardboard folder with liner notes by Michael Pisaro, transparent plastic cover.
1. C#6 / 1141, 1117, 1057, 1103 (18:00)
2. F#6 / 1622, 1412, 1586, 1492 (18:00)
3. D7 / 2357, 2340, 2347, 2364 (18:00)
4. G#7 / 3415, 3399, 3105, 3575 (18:00)
(released November 14, 2013)
Closed Categories In Cartesian Worlds (2011/2012)
Michael Pisaro: composition and sine tones
Greg Stuart: crotales
mastered by Michael Pisaro and Joe Panzner
produced and designed by Yuko Zama
GW010 features a recording of Closed Categories in Cartesian Worlds for crotales and sine tones.
The piece was written at the request of Greg Stuart in 2011/12. (Greg plays the crotales with the subtlety of a bowed string instrument.)
The premise is simple: a crotale is played for sixteen minutes, and one by one, four sine tones in the same register are placed against the sound of the crotales (with some variance of dynamics).
What results is not simple. This is music that sounds differently every time the listener moves their head or moves around their room. Also, the resultant “extra” (i.e., combination) tones evolve and change with each pairing.
The possible relationships here are so numerous and unpredictable, that the score created ten versions (i.e., ten different sets of sine tones) for each of the 25 crotales of the two octave range. That is, there are 250 possible 16-minute pieces. For the disc we selected four pieces, with as wide a range of effect and affect as we could find.
The physics of the crotale are very interesting, since like all metal instruments, its actual motion is relatively chaotic. It is not the absolutely stable and regular sound that it appears to be, but has fluctuating character, perhaps a bit like the reflected glare of any shiny object. This might be the best analogy for what the sine tones accomplish: each provides a singular mirror (with a distinct tint) to the ongoing sonic relationship between performer and object. (Michael Pisaro)
Robert Kirkpatrick, A Spiral Cage
This one was one of those I got late in the year but I am sure glad I did. As a long time fan of pure tone music from the clinical precision of Alvin Lucier to the all encompassing intensity of Sachiko M, to the piercing interiority of Mitsuhiro Yoshimura (not to mention my own explorations) this has long been a domain I’m fascinated with. Hewing closer to the Lucier mode of operation (and indeed the piece is dedicated to him) with a very precise composition utilizing electronic sine tones of specific duration in concert with the inherent variability of bowed metal. Michael Pisaro put it this way on his blog:
The physics of the crotale are very interesting, since like all metal instruments, its actual motion is relatively chaotic. It is not the absolutely stable and regular sound that it appears to be, but has fluctuating character, perhaps a bit like the reflected glare of any shiny object.
The piece was composed at percussionist, and frequent Pisaro collaborator, Greg Stuart’s request and his performance here is nothing short of inspired. The combination of the bowed crotals and the uncompromising electronic tones is just a shear physicality. Those of us who already appreciate Sachiko or Lucier already know that sine tones of sufficient cycles beat in your ear and undermine your sense of balance as well as subtly varying and shifting as you move around and this album delivers these effects in spades. But it isn’t nearly as clinical as Lucier often comes across as though it is as precisely defined as his pieces. The crotales I think are the special sauce here and Stuarts virtuosity. (2/10/2009)