The undated Direct Contact cassette collects various excerpts from performances and improvisations where Peter Van Riper explores room acoustics and resonances from a variety of percussion instruments. The montage enhances the peculiarities and contrast between each instrument’s resonance properties, the latter including, among others, wooden stick and rattle, cow bell, sea shells, triangle, bar chimes and, of course, aluminum alloy baseball bats, the Van Riper trademark. Also used are a variety of metal rods, glass jars, found objects and junk materials. A dog is heard barking on track #1 near 14:50. Nothing happens in terms of rhythm and melody, the focus is on resonances and a minute attention to reverberation and echo. In this respect, Direct Contact perfectly sums up Van Riper’s methodology and approach to sound art. The “official” website (actually a Tumblr blog maintained by a Van Riper enthusiast) offers some information on this cassette, including individual track titles and instrumentation, as well as pointing to the “double hearing” concept, which, I suppose, refers to hearing one instrument and its echoed image at the same time.
01 Direct Contact side I (22:36)
02 Direct Contact side II (19:25)
Total time 42:01
Self-released cassette, Brooklyn, NY, [1994?]