Julia Holter ‘Lucette Stranded on the Island’

I wrote a song recently called “Lucette Stranded on the Island”, inspired by a character in a short story by Colette called “Chance Acquaintances”. Lucette is a side character in the story, but a devastating one. She is brought to sea by a lover she doesn’t know well, and he attacks her, steals her emeralds, and leaves her stranded on an island. Later on, she dies of blood-poisoning from the wound he inflicted upon her. The brutal scenario seemed so relevant—all the violence and greed of the world—a timeless classic subject, sadly.  Continue reading “Julia Holter ‘Lucette Stranded on the Island’”

James Saunders ‘Things To Do’

Each of the constituent pieces in my series things to do (2014) uses a set of instructions in different categories (such as noises, pitches, devices and processes) which are spoken by players and other participants during the performance and which govern the actions made by the players. In a performance, the players respond to instructions they can hear by realising the defined actions as soon as possible after they are spoken. They may use any instruments, sound-producing objects, devices or sound processing equipment (digital, analogue, or acoustic), and performances are characterised by the wide range of personal choices brought together as a group. Continue reading “James Saunders ‘Things To Do’”

Daniela Cascella ‘Lakes, Sounds, Sculptures, Really’

One of the works of sound art that years ago sharpened my awareness of the sonic realm beyond the audible, is the Concert for a Frozen Lake by Rolf Julius. At the time, in the early 2000’s, I was struggling with the demands to write long articles for a music magazine in Italy, and in this specific instance the struggle was caused by having experienced Julius’ work only through a series of CD’s—bought in one of many highly anticipated visits to the Gelbe Musik shop in Berlin—through the Small Music (Grau) monograph published in 1995 by Kehrer Verlag, and through a low quality VHS copy of a video, documenting an installation at the Hamburger Bahnhof. In other words: I’d never actually experienced a work by Julius on site. Imagine the difficulty in trying to put all of those representations together, to somehow elicit, evoke, make-believe the experience of a place through sound—which I felt was the core of Julius’ work and at the same time the missing element in my knowledge of it. I had to find another way into those sounds and this way came through reading. I had to find a site for those sounds, and this turned out to be the actual site of my imagined listening, the historical site of my presence.  Continue reading “Daniela Cascella ‘Lakes, Sounds, Sculptures, Really’”

Sarah Hughes ‘The Continuum of the Field’

The final essay in About Looking, a collection of John Berger’s writings published in 1980, is a short and generally overlooked text called ‘Field’.[1] Although first written in 1971, in this context one is tempted to read the essay in conjunction with the others that surround it. Such a reading places the essay within Berger’s prolific writing practice and in relation to his inquiries into a broader art historical context. More specifically, when encountered in proximity to Berger’s critique of painters such as Jean François Millet and Seker Ahmet, ‘Field’ can also be understood in relation to landscape painting. Continue reading “Sarah Hughes ‘The Continuum of the Field’”

Daniel Barbiero ‘Stillness-Energy-Sound: Notes on Negative Space’

“I am interested in stillness, in the silence that emanates from objects. I see this stillness as a form of energy that these objects radiate.”–Reiner Ruthenbeck[1]

If stillness is a form of an object’s energy, then its sound is the realization of that energy in its active form.

Consider stillness as the sound latent in objects. Sound is released from stillness the way energy is released when, for example, an atom’s nucleus is disturbed. In a more prosaic, musical context, disturb the string by plucking it or pulling a bow across it and a series of vibrations is released, which we receive as sound. Continue reading “Daniel Barbiero ‘Stillness-Energy-Sound: Notes on Negative Space’”