Peter Van Riper – Sustainable Music

Peter Van Riper – Sustainable Music cassette front cover
Peter Van Riper – Sustainable Music cassette back cover
Peter Van Riper – Sustainable Music cassette side 1

In 1978, during a collective exhibition titled Tower, curated by Jean Dupuy at PS1 gallery, Brooklyn, Peter Van Riper (1942-1998) took advantage of a 3-level, metallic structure erected inside the gallery to experiment with metallic resonances, in addition to room resonances from saxophone, Buddhist wood bell and tape. As Van Riper puts it: “Sounding the room, sounding the tower, sounding the acoustics of the room with different saxophones from different levels.” (quoted in Collective Consciousness: Art Performances in the Seventies, edited by Jean Dupuy, Performing Arts Journal Publications, New York, 1980). In an other piece from the 1970s, Greetings for Chow En Lai, for metal gong, Van Riper also experimented with sending resonances from metallic objects to the 4 walls of an art gallery. Later in the mid-1980s, he became better known using suspended aluminium baseball bats as percussion instruments.

♫ Though it looks and sounds like a mid-1980s artifact, the Sustainable Music undated cassette bears one track dedicated “In memory of John Cage”, which could date it to 1992. In any case, both tracks are collages of various Van Riper performances playing shells, hand bells, small percussion and aluminium baseball bats, interspersed with documentary or environmental recordings (building a fire, children playing, birds, wind, plane). Infused with Oriental philosophy, the metallic sounds resonate in various room acoustics and harmonics arise from the vibration of similar sound objects. Van Riper also experiments with room resonances from water gurgling or his own voice.

01 Susmusic #1 – Acoustic Cups (13:12)
02 Susmusic #2  – In Memory of John Cage (14:37)

Total time 27:49
Self-released cassette, Brooklyn, NY, undated



Re-uploaded Van Riper LPs:

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10 Responses to “Peter Van Riper – Sustainable Music”

  1. 1 Etienne March 8, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Hi Continuo
    Always a pleasure to find PVR on your blog!
    Would you happen to own a copy of his Acoustic Metal Music tape?
    I have a mp3 rip of it, but i’m not sure either it’s a compilation of various tapes or the record actually exists…
    Hard to find informations about mister Riper’s music, so thanks a lot for sharing.

  2. 2 continuo March 9, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Hi, Etienne. I’m not aware of a tape titled “Acoustic Metal Music”. Could you arrange to send me these mp3 files? (teepeesfrp[at]yahoo{dot]fr)
    Readers might be interested to investigate your own sound sculptures, inspired, among other things, by Peter Van Riper’s sound work.

  3. 3 Ken March 12, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Hi Continuo, Maybe you’ve already explained this before elsewhere, but ever since you switched over to Mirror Creator, I haven’t been able, or inclined, to download anything because I only see fake links (with potential viruses) or an .exe file for some dubious program called iLivid. Where is the actual file link? Thanks much.

  4. 4 continuo March 12, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Links appear at the bottom of the page after a few seconds.

  5. 5 Ken March 12, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Thanks, but Mediafire and one of the other hosts indicate a “server error” and “file not found”, while some of the others give me the runaround with no result. After dealing with one of these odd websites a couple weeks ago and having my anti-virus program stop two viruses just from visiting the website (no downloading), I’m not going to bother with them.

  6. 6 continuo March 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Some people just weren’t made for this world…

  7. 7 mdpaauwe March 13, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks you, as always, for sharing this!
    It may be perverse, and it may turn out to be wholly besides the point, but i cannot help asking what was the cause of this artists death?

    Kind regards,

  8. 8 continuo March 14, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Good question, Mark, for which I have no clue. There is so much we don’t know about Peter Van Riper, I sometimes suspect some kind of conspiracy against his memory. But at least, since I wrote the Wikipedia article, people come asking questions about him. Some first hand information will eventually appear one day, hopefully.

  9. 9 Giorgio Sancristoforo March 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    This is a very very nice release thank you.
    Ironically it come to my attention a few days after I’ve sent my contribute for the Cage’s Centenary Anniversary tribute of Ear To The Earth (EMF). I hope you will be glad to receive the piece.

  10. 10 continuo March 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Hi, Giorgio. Thanks for your comment.
    I will download your Hommage à John Cage musical project later today.
    Your website at looks really interesting and I’ll be sure to check other releases and movies.

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