You might remember that last March I had the good fortune to attend Willapa Bay Air in Oysterville, WA for a month-long composition residency.
While there, I was interviewed by fellow artist Gina Borg, a phenomenal visual artist, who also happens to host a podcast that interviews artists about their practice. Gina interviewed all of us at Willapa, and I am happy to report that my episode is finally available. You can hear my interview on Art Talks Again at iTunes, or over at the podcast website. If you are interested, you can subscribe and learn more about the other fabulous artists who I was in residence with.
I am really happy with the way the interview turned out. After listening to it, I found I could re-enter the creative mindset I was in while at Willapa Bay Air, which is proving to be extremely generative for my work this summer as I revise many of the compositions I composed in Washington.
via #11 – Tim Peck-composer, pianist
Here is a link to a great interview with John Medeski about his latest project, “DRKWAV,” a trio with Adam Deitch and Skerik. I had the good fortune to support this project as an organ tech for the recording session, with my own C3 and pedal board. All of which is on the record. Check it out!
John Medeski Talks Shop & DRKWAV (INTERVIEW) – Glide Magazine.
cloud piano from david bowen on Vimeo.
Are clouds passing overhead musical?
I found the cloud piano via a short article at Co.Design. I really enjoy the installation, if not the article I found it in. The author tries to link this art installation to the works of 20th century composer Arnold Schoenberg. I can understand how this piece sounds like the work of an atonal composer. Perhaps a better comparison would be with the works of John Cage. Cage tried to remove the composer—the ego—from his compositions, favoring chance operations. Mapping the movements of clouds overhead to a robotic armateur playing a piano below sounds pretty chance-like to me.
Is the I Ching musical?
Though I enjoy Cage’s music, I often struggle with his philosophical view of what music is, and how it should be created. Isn’t deciding to use chance operations in composition just as much of an ego/composer-centric decision as choosing which chords and pitches one wants to string together?
If anything, Cage and Schoenberg are linked by their conviction that there had to be more possibilities for musical composition than the 12 notes that make up the Western Classical Music tradition. Schoenberg developed a new theoretical framework for utilizing these limited resources. Cage expanded these resources by including all sounds as valid musical expressions.
Steve Reich took yet another approach: standard musical techniques applied to non-standard sounds. During one of my first years teaching, my students and I set up Reich’s “Pendulum Music” in a squash court for Family Weekend. This piece is created through the feedback tones created by swinging microphones above speakers. When gravity brings the mics to a stop, the piece is over. The most valuable part of the experience for me was setting up the piece; I felt like we were doing a science experiment! Unfortunately, the video from our performance was ruined when the camcorder battery ran out. We re-staged it before cleaning up the gear, missing just the very end of the performance due to YouTube’s old media length restrictions.
If you ascribe to the definition that music is nothing more than organized sound, it does not have to be pretty to be music. Hearing the myriad sounds around us in a new context is a unifying principle of all of these works, and one that helps keep an ever expanding musical culture alive.