01 A Quiet Gathering (20:40)
02 Eight Openings onto a Vermilion Sky (21:08)
- I/ Opening of Visions
- II/ Opening of Origins
- III/ Diptych
- IV/ Opening of the Sculptor
- V/ Opening of Ancient Wisdom
- VI/ A Ladder for the Child
- VII/ Mechanical Opening
- VIII/ Opening of Liberation
03 Somnambule (03:49)
[from ‘A Quiet Gathering’, RēR 30, 1988]
04 The Treshold of Liberty (09:33)
[from RēR Quarterly Vol. 1 No. 1, 1985]
05 Hermetic Discourse (06:45)
[from RēRQuarterly Vol. 1 No. 4, 1986]
Total time: 61:53
After the inclusion of Steve Moore‘s ‘The Threshold of Liberty’ on RēR Quarterly vol 1 in 1985, Chris Cutler suggested the idea of a field recording album, the future ‘Quiet Gathering’ LP. Little is known of Steve Moore’s biography, though I guess some of it is similar to that of french composer Luc Marianni, who quit music to become a psychologist and expert in esoteric theories. Here’s a Chris Cutler end note to a Moore’s article: ‘Steve Moore is an autodidact psychology graduate dropout from Durham. He first used a recording studio, in a rock context, in 1980 and as an instrument in 1982’. Moore obviously had access to a studio allowing tape splicing and editing.
Side one, ‘A Quiet Gathering’, is based on 3 years spent collecting location recordings. Sounds were later juxtaposed and organized, without much further sound processing, as Moore prefered un-treated sounds. What is rare in this music is the way Moore is taking into account the psychological aspects of sounds, chosen for their power of evocation, their suggestive possibilities in the listener’s mind. Moore uses stressful/tense sounds along relaxing/reassuring ones, to make us aware of their ability to evoke feelings. The music features un-realistic acoustics disorienting the listener, like wide reverberant spaces contrasting with more focused recordings. During ‘A Quiet Gathering’, we will hear various foreign languages, chosen for their sound properties rather than meaning. As we recognize familiar sounds – flys, seagulls, engines, children, grandmother chatter, bells, grinding noises… –, we associate them with personnal memories, the music building up on our own reminiscences. Some of the techniques used reminds Trevor Wishart’s Red Bird (and Hitchcok The Birds), like the birds sounds at 3:00 morphing into bells ringing. But on a psychological level, this is only comparable to some of Francis Dhomont’s own researches, like ‘Sous le regard d’un soleil noir’ (1981), based on Ronald Laing’s anti-psychiatrist theories.
‘Eight Openings onto a Vermilion Sky’ applies the same process to samples and loops from dozen LPs including many classical music and ethnic recordings. Speed change, reversal and key-shifts are the main studio treatments in this non-dogmatic concrete music. Sounds include acoustic and electronic samples, found sounds, field recordings, concrete music, various noises and objects. ‘Vermillion Sky’ is a suite of 8 short concrete/electroacoustic vignettes, of which only ‘Opening of the Sculpture’ is played on a synth, namely a VCS3. On first hearing, some of the juxtapositions might seam surrealist, though Moore is not interested in the extremes of collage music. Anyway, ‘Vermillion Sky’ is a brilliant and much-varied composition.
Thanks to Vespucci who kindly offered the material for this post. The LP was posted a while back on a discontinued blog, Mended Records.
- Return Of The Poet cassette, Mirage 1984.
- A Quiet Gathering LP, ReR 1988
- The Threshold of Liberty cassette, Inner Ear (Scotland) 1990
- The Way In cassette, Inner Ear (Scotland) 1990
- Various tracks on Recommended Records Quarterly samplers