Saturday, December 3, 2016

The 45SIS, No.3, 2016: Michael Pisaro

Anish Kapoor

Dear Readers,

[#a general remark#] I am very proud to present the third installment of the  45SIS (45 sentences, infinite sounds) featuring this time the american composer, guitarist and professor for Composition and Experimental Sound Practices at Calarts (California Institute of the Arts) Michael Pisaro. The 45 SIS is a questionnaire consisting of 45 sentences to be completed. This feature tries to close or at least bridge the gap between contemporary philosophical theories and contemporary sound-production by asking their most important contributors. The public reception and perception of sounds/music seems to be stuck in a weird consumer-convenience and commodity-oriented approach since ages. But music and sound are and should be more than this: an excess of the minimal and the maximal: the invisible and the secret, maybe. Over the months and years a serious encyclopedia of debatable positions in the aforementioned field will be build up by giving leading artists and theorists a space to present themselves without further commentary by the editor. 

[#the portrait#] The initial impetus behind the idea to start The 45SIS project was to unfold or map the event cluster Cage-Young-Oliveros-Scelsi-Feldman-Xenakis-Stockhausen ("naming" all abstract machines in a "devenir involutif"- this "event" remains of course legible  differenly using several different registers or lenses of formalization from Badiou, Benjamin, Deleuze/Guattari, Derrida, Jean-Luc Marion to Heidegger) giving the repercussive fringes or the nearly imperceptible swarm of micro-events following hard on the heels of this massive, non-unifiable and interruptive event-cluster a space to be addressed in and to be accessible and comparable open access - après coup (so to speak). Consequently I am really happy that Michael Pisaro one of my most admired composers today who is opening the CAGE for sounds world-wide in a highly refreshing and original manner was so kind to share his thoughts with my blog. In his very impressive, versatile and multifarious catalogue of works one can find a huge variety of multi-dimensional time-sound-silence-spaces composed in a highly inventive, subtle and often very cautious and tender manner. Always having an ear for open, non-manipulated co-operative processualities entering the porous distinction or foggy superimposition of pure chance and necessity (legible maybe with Jean-Luc Marion's formalizations of this as a "saturated phenomenon"), for the inaudible and the inaudible naming here the non- or sub-musical aspects of sounds, and for the subtle inter-actions and/or inter-faces that can take place all of a sudden planned or unplanned in between ear-brain-body-world-sound-communities rhizomatically in the form of objects (= momentary stasis), performers and audience (= as insubstantial ever changing, non-hierarchically organized relays) and events (= fluid transitions without possible subjectivity cores and/or expectation horizons) following maybe this line of thought presented by Gilles Deleuze in Le Pli : "L'événement est une vibration, avec une infinité d'harmoniques ou de sous multiples, telle une onde sonore, une onde lumineuse, ou même une partie d'espace de plus en plus petite pendant une durée de plus en plus petite. Car l'espace et le temps sont, non pas des limites, mais les coordonées abstraites de toutes les séries, elles-même en extension: la minute, la seconce, le dixième de seconde ..." In addition to or as an unfolding of his activities as a teacher, performer and composer he is part of the Wandelweiser Collective. In a recent interview Michael Pisaro has described the importance of this collective for his development as a composer:"Most decisive was meeting Kunsu Shim and then shortly thereafter Antoine Beuger and Jürg Frey in around 92/93, the beginnings of the Wandelweiser group. This literally saved years of my compositional life. I was moving tentatively in a direction which these gentlemen were already exploring in a much more radical way."(15 Questions). You can find a link to the Wandelweiser Collective in the section below this one. Please take also into consideration Michael Pisaro's collaboration with the german poet Oswald Egger. In a certain sense Pisaro seems to have staged the audible as the fringes of the inaudible pointing towards one of my favorite Hakuin poems giving a subtle hint towards the interpenetration of listening, sound and silence - in a  4'33''-Zen (if you like) -:"If only I could share it: the soft sound of snow. Falling late at night. From the trees. At this old temple". Sounds are in an almost paradoxical manner not necessarily audible or to put it differently they are in a very radical sense in-audibly non human. Sounds and non-sounds (maybe this is still an all too human distinction) are always already there pre-musically. In this sense listening has to grow necessarily Young-er (aiming at La Monte he(a)re of course) and younger always and forever re-versing or twisting all the possible timelines anti-dialectically "disposant d'un nombre incalculable d'âges, d'heures et d'années, d'histoires intempestives, à la fois plus grandes et plus petites les unes et les aures, s'attendant encore l'une et l'autre, nous serions sans cesse plus jeunes et plus vieux, en un dernier mot infiniment fini"(Derrida).

[#discography/links/contacts#] I highly recommend to take a deeper look into Michael Pisaro's catalogue of works. An large collection of examples you can find when you take a also look at yesterday's Sounds of the Day (here). Please risk an ear or two. It is highly rewarding. Michael Pisaro's label Gravity Wave Site you can find here and here (facebook). For example you could order here the impressive 3 cd set called Continuum Unbound (2014). For a more comprehensive look on Michael Pisaro's impressive list of releases you can click here for discogs. For more information about the Wandelweiser Collective you can click here containing a personal page here giving further explainations and a selection of texts written by Michael Pisaro. His Calart profile you can find here. This is a link to the collective Flussaufwärtstreiben-Project click here. And I also highly recommend to read Pisaro's 2015 text about Toshiya Tsunoda called: Membrane – Window – Mirror. (The folded worlds of Toshiya Tsunoda) here.

[#the presentation#] The white font shows the grid of my 45SIS-questionnaire, that will remain unchanged for each featured artist. This makes each contribution at once singular and comparable. The answers by each featured artist in this case Michael Pisaro will always be presented in green font.


This is The 45SIS, No.3
brilliantly completed
by Michael Pisaro

[1] “Music” and “Musician” are not just concepts but subjects of the real world. Music exists before the musician.

[2] The term “Sound-Art” is meaningless.

[3] A Sound Artist becomes pretends they are not making music.

[4] Inventing/finding sounds is not an alternative tool at all. It is simply daily work for musicians.

[5] Nothing forced me to make sounds.

[6] There are no obvious tensions between classical systems of musical notation and composition, sound-sourced field-recordings, free-improvised-real-time-composition, and technology based sound processing – this realm is completely fluid.

[7] Composition is not writing alone, it is an assembly that includes playing and listening – the sea composes.

[8] The main theoretical aporia, existential tension or trigger that keeps me producing and/or made me produce (and/or: writing about) sounds music is the disturbance that is neither physical nor mental. 

[9] The immense scope and variety of musical inventions forced into/onto canonized music history and its basic distinction of music and non-music in the XX.Century (say) since “Arnold Schoenberg” and the counter-explosions of new underground music paradigms, non-europeans traditions and playing techniques since the 1940’s inspire me.

[10] Time and Space both have Volume.

[11] A musical instrument is just another object technology.

[12] The musical encounter of my dreams would be to sing in Ockeghem’s choir.

[13] The point zero doesn’t exist, except as an abstraction, a vanishing point.

[14] Sounds become invisible sculptures (that’s obvious), maybe less obvious are things that are not sound and that shape the „sculpture“ as much as the things that do sound.

[15] Sounds(capes) should be preserved at all cost.

[16] Sounds and destruction are unrelated - sounds cannot be „destroyed.“

[17] The human voice will hopefully never disappear.

[18] Listening is good.

[19] The commodity factor of dogs: don’t buy a dog from a puppy mill, get one from a shelter.

[20] Programs and algorithms are antiquated metaphors for composition.

[21] Names, words and titles of compositions: a big apple that fills the room, as Magritte knew.

[22]Duplication, sampling, sound-sourcing and manipulation : thanks, Dr. Dre, The Bomb Squad, J Dilla and so many others.

[23] Replay-Machines playing cassettes of old Yes albums, negating architecture except Venturi, the listening ear floods McLuhan and Louis Kahn.

[24] Knowledge is nothing, it sometimes interferes with exploration.

[25] The materiality of sounds should learn to read Jane Bennett.

[26] To connect sound and psychology, yes, indeed, as Freud taught us, is to turn the ear inward.

[27] The eye, the ear and the brain made a good lunch for Georges Bataille. 

[28] Sonic processes interrupt mimesis.

[29] Life and Death are simultaneous with silence.

[30] My deepest doo-doo, as George HW Bush would say, is almost audible.

[31] The distinction sound/music/noise is a movable feast.

[32] The Meditation in preparation for lifelong riverboating leads to a constant underestimation of the stream itself.

[33] Live performances with more than one person enter into the face to face of the interfaces.

[34] Sounds and objects travel from hand to hand, ear to ear, through space and time in a mystical realm on the back of a mosquito hovering over terra firma.

[35] I bought the score 4’33” after having seen it in a dim shop window in New York.

[36] Privacy, Secrecy & Sounds should learn to use a VPN.

[37] Singularity, originality are abstractions independent of musical genres.

[38] The total liberation of sounds begs the question of what „liberation“ could possibly mean to a sound.

[39] Free form music or sound turn into the stripes of Daniel Buren.

[40] Cryptic minimalisms of the techno-ant.

[41] Outsiders make sounds that insiders sell in a gallery.

[42] Electronics, electro-acoustics, Modular Synths and so on, conjure interstellar space for the layperson.

[43] Sounds predict time-space manipulations by our ear-attachment devices.

[44] I would be interested to know the severest misconceptions about me and my sounds, my music, and my theories.

[45] The sentence(s) I wanted to see published for an eternity is/are in the hands of Ozymandias.

Cordial thanks for everything,
Michael Pisaro !
 A huge amount of soundexamples
you can find