On 20 September 2020, I created five sound pieces and sent them on audio cassettes to five elected officials. The pieces were created in a way that their public statements from the past would be revealed in a spectrum analysis of each piece, bracketed by the repeated phrase “You are bound by your own words.”
The five pieces have only been heard by myself and a cat who often resides in my studio. You will not be able to listen to them unless they have served their purpose; that would rob them of their impact. For that same reason I will not name the five elected officials here.
I don’t think the spectrum analyses have the same weight, as they are documentation and not pieces on their own. If you are interested, here they are. Each has the text twice, one for the left channel and one for the right channel.
Loma Editions is thrilled to announce its first physical release, Ando by Alex Keller and Sean O’Neill.
All proceeds from Ando, whether through purchase of the physical CD or digital downloads, will be donated to the Austin Justice Coalition: austinjustice.org.
Keller and O’Neill, longtime stalwarts of the Austin experimental music community, have collaborated in performance and installation pieces since 2015, when they worked together to create a subsonic environment for Christine Sun Kim’s Bounce House and quickly found common ground in their use of repurposed and found technologies. Using field recordings, vintage telephone test equipment, magnetic oscillators, light and space, their work has addressed the agents and artifacts of change in the urban and acoustic realms.
In 2017, following a tour across the American Midwest, a discussion about the work of Japanese architect Tadao Ando led to the development of the piece that would become “Ando.” Keller and O’Neill created a score, divided into five sections that would take shape according to seven distinct parameters related to Ando’s work: contrast, motion, perspective, exterior/interior, texture, functionality, and the corridor as transition. Using a random number generator, they determined to what degree each artist would focus on each parameter across each section of the piece. They would generate this script anew for every performance, thus creating a unique interpretation of the piece every time.
“Ando,” the first of two tracks on this Loma Editions release, is a fixed version of the piece. The second track, “The Island That Is Not There,” captures a performance, recorded live at Thomas Bey William Bailey’s Third Rail series, that employs a similar methodology. Composed of field recordings, live performance recordings, electromagnetic oscillators, and analog and digital synthesis, Ando is an expansive and immersive sonic exploration of movement, space, and form.
released June 5, 2020
Alex Keller and Sean O’Neill: Field recordings, live performance recordings, electromagnetic oscillators, and analog and digital sound synthesis.
Photography of Tadao Ando’s Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art by Vanessa Gelvin. Cover design by Sean O’Neill. Mastered by Alex Keller.
Featuring electromagnetic field interference sound recordings made by Erin Hannan and Lily Swift on Saturday, May 30, 2020, between 8 and 10 PM, in the Austin State Hospital Cemetery in Austin, Texas, and electronic voice phenomenon recordings made by Michael Esposito.
Ash is a selection from Michael Esposito’s Pandemic Response Divisionproject. Based on EVPs and Field recordings taken from a variety of pandemic related sites. Contributions from artists will be uploaded to album as they come available. When album is finished they will be released on a limited edition fully printed USB card. All contributions will be collected and sent to a COVID – 19 relief effort.
I was thrilled to chat with the charming Jeanne Claire van Ryzin in April about the field recordings I’ve been making to document the changes in the blissfully quiet pandemic. You can read the interview here.
On World Listening Day, Thursday, July 18, from 7–9 p.m., Phonography Austin will present The Invisible Suburb, an outdoor sonic art installation, in the Onion Creek Greenbelt at 7306 Onion Creek Drive, Austin, Texas 78731.
The Invisible Suburb will feature recordings made in and around the homes of Austin artists, evoking the traces of domestic life that once permeated the Onion Creek neighborhood, where evidence of former habitations is steadily becoming overtaken by nature. Through speakers nestled among tall grass and other plant life, participants will hear an audible reference to the neighborhood’s residential past while seeing and feeling the verdure of its future. It will be a respectful and gentle rememberance, using domestic sounds, to acknowledge the daily lives of the people who lived there and made it home.
The installation includes recordings made by Henna Chou, Anne Fichtner, Vanessa Gelvin, Travis Putnam Hill, Neal B. Johnson, Alex Keller, Lacey Lewis, Christopher McConnell, Daniy Oberle, Sean O’Neill, Travis Pope, Josh Ronsen, Christy Tappe and Jackson Warren.
World Listening Day is an annual global event held on July 18 to celebrate the listening practices of the world and the ecology of its acoustic environments, and raise awareness about the creative exploration of acoustic ecology through educational initiatives that explore these concepts and practices. Phonography Austin was founded to host Austin’s first World Listening Day event in 2016.
Thomas Bey William Bailey and I are excited to show our sound and light installation, Interference: Havana, at NMASS 2019 on Saturday night.
It is a relatively safe adaptation and interpretation of the sonic attack on the US embassy in Cuba, in which you may voluntarily confront the reality of psycho-acoustic weaponry and sonic deterrents.
While we have avoided reproducing any of the dangerous effects of the initial incident, hearing protection is recommended, and you should attend at your own risk. Video of the last iteration is in the comments below.
I’d recommend getting advance tickets for the whole weekend, there will be some amazing performances. NMASS is a fantastic event for the entire creative community.