Four Atmospheres, for Indeterminate Ensemble and 'Tape'

by Native Bells

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Four Atmospheres consists of two main components: 1. A 'tape' recording, and 2. A live performance. Ideas concerning the interaction of a tape and live performance were largely influenced by research of Steve Reich's New York Counterpoint.

The 'tape' is divided into four sections, each of which is dedicated to one or multiple musicians.

Performers were given little in the way of instructions:

Respond to the sound in the room.
Make every decision a conscious decision.

It is the second instruction that was informed by a masterclass with Pauline Oliveros. Among the various “exercises” that she conducted, one particularly stood out: Participants were to choose 3 sounds that imitated the instrument with which they were most familiar. Each of these 3 sounds could be used 3 times throughout the exercise, and could only be used in one of the following 3 ways: 1. Before someone else makes a sound, 2. Exactly when someone else makes a sound, 3. After someone else makes a sound. By prescribing these limitations, Oliveros effectively required the participants to consciously decide when and how they would react to what was going on around them.

This idea has been borrowed in order to give cohesion and purpose to this performance that might otherwise be difficult to attain.

In my time at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and at Berklee College of Music, the most fruitful performance experiences I have had have been “free” sessions with other students. I felt this very much affirmed when composer/theorist Benjamin Boretz visited a class in which I was a student. He briefly detailed a teaching technique that he used for years in which he and a few other musicians would freely improvise with no boundaries. He thought that this was the best way to communicate. I agree.


released April 17, 2013

Isaac Slutzky - piano
Daniel Durst - bass
Irvin Comanda: tenor saxophone, aux. perc, recorders, Rhodes
James Sudimak - drums, vibraphone, aux. perc, Rhodes
Sean Smither - drums, vibraphone, aux. perc, recorders, Rhodes

recording/engineering: Staff at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, incl. Kosta Galanopoulos, Andrew Campbell, and Chris Hoffman.



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