Posts Tagged 'sound art'

Pamelia Kurstin Live WNYC, 2003


Live session, Jan 31, 2003 (31:19)

This is from a 1 hour ‘Spinning On Air’ radio show on WNYC, titled ‘Pamelia weaves the theremin’. I excerpted the 1/2hr Pamelia performance for convenience. Pamelia is restraining herself to a few soft sounds, processing them as the piece evolves. The beauty of her theremin’s timbre is breathtaking.



Dorgon IIII (1998)

Jumbo records CD 1998



01 String Quartet (13:23)
02 Graphic #1 (2:35)
03 Study #2 (7:00)
04 Hardcore (Brooklyn) (8:35)
05 For JA (31:29)

Featuring: Dorgon (C-melody saxophone, tamburas), Rufus Capadocia, Martha Colby, Katherine Bent (cello), Sam Ulano (drums) & Reuben Radding (bass).

Minimalist compositions played with the stamina & gusto of free jazz – that’s to say: intense. The string quartet is for one note only, the last track, a bandura solo, is for 3 notes.


Mike Shannon ‘Into a deeper unknown’ k7, 1979

Warning: this ‘Mike Shannon’ is not the canadian DJ nor the singer in french rockabilly band Les Chats Sauvages. The musician featured here was involved in the San Francisco industrial music movement during the 1980s. Additionally, I cannot ascertain the Tom Scott featured in this recording is actually the composer of Starsky & Hutch main theme.



side A: 32:00
side B: 31:40

Mike Shannon: flute, ceramic, voice, percussion
Tom Scott: metal flute, voice, percussion
+ the uninvited guests
Recorded live July 29th, 1979 below the sand dunes in the Fort Funston Bunkers in San Francisco.

This cassette was released by Françoise Duvivier, a parisian who was running the zine Metro Riquet, in the second half of the 80s. She was also a writer and a mail artist. She had a feature on Mike Shannon in Metro Riquet #6.

When A side starts, the duo is already in full action blowing their flutes along the accompaniment of children shouting and yelling outside the bunker. All sounds are drenched in the natural reverb of the concrete building. Shannon and Scott are exploring overtones and harmonics from their instruments as well as the unusual echo of the bunker. One can be reminded of some Pauline Oliveiros experiment with long echo and deep listening, or some Zoviet-France live recordings. ‘Into a deeper unknown’ is that wild and that beautiful.

Some of Mike Shannon other cassette releases: ‘Baptizm of solitude’, ‘Earnerve’, ‘Tesla seance’, ‘Standing Waves’, ‘Sensa Atmospheres’, ‘Busking for Obelisks’.


Heiner Goebbels ‘Hashirigaki’ (radio broadcast)


‘It’s a great question this question of washing. One never can find any one who can be satisfied with anybody else’s washing. The French tell me it’s the Italians who never do any washing, the French and the Italians both find the Spanish a little short in their washing, the English find all the world lax in this business of washing, and the East finds all the West a pig, which never is clean with just the little cold water washing. And so it goes.’
Gertrude Stein, from “The Making of Americans”


Premiered September, 2000, Lausanne
Composed and directed by: Heiner Goebbels
From: Gertrude Stein’s ‘The Making of Americans’ & The Beach Boys ‘Pet Sounds’.
Marie Goyette: voice, harmonium and percussion
Charlotte Engelkes: voice, theremin and percussion
Yumiko Tanaka: voice, shamisen, kokyu, taisho koto and percussion
Composed for 3 voices, koto, shamisen, theremin and various electronic sounds. With radical use of stage lighting (Klaus Gruenberg), slightly reminiscent of Bob Wilson, and beautiful costume designing by Florence von Gerkan. It seems in 2004, the play was reduced from 90 mn to 60.


01 [spoken introduction]
02 One is doing something
03 Every afternoon pt I
04 [japanese interlude]
05 Every afternoon pt II ‘Mexico’
06 Every afternoon pt III
07 Every afternoon pt IV
08 [japanese interlude]
09 Caroline No reprise (The Beach Boys)
10 Butterflies and beetles
11 Umbrella in the mud
12 A good deal of noise…
13 There is always then repeating…
14 It makes me a little unhappy…
15 [japanese interlude]
16 Don’t talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder) reprise (The Beach Boys)
17 [chorale]
18 There are very many people being living…
(total: 51:20)

This is unfortunately an incomplete recording of the play. I derived the titles above using the texts available on Goebbels’ website. The complete play also included the following songs : One is doing something, Plovers twittering, Celebration Song, Tito Ruffo, Butterflies & beetles, Destroying a bell, Some are not sad enough. In addition, the last song of the original show was ‘I Guess I Just Wasn’t Made For This Time’, from the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album.


I can’t honestly remember where I got this recording from. Probably a blog or a forum. Here’s how the piece was introduced: ‘This is from a radio broadcast of the piece, which is too long for one CD – SO – this recording is incomplete. There is a glitch in the last track. […] My girlfriend procured this from Goebbels himself while writing her undergraduate thesis. He’s a very nice guy.’ The mp3s where produced on 01/07/2004. As stated by original uploader, track 16 & 18 come with unwanted noises.


Programme ‘Bogue+Génération finale’, 2001-2004

Programme ‘Bogue’, CD 2004

01. Plus fort / je veux trop / étranger (6:19)
02. Ce serait trop long à expliquer / dis-le / Fiction et réalité (8:07)
03. Mon geste / Lundi (7:57)
(total: 22:24)

line up
Arnaud Michniak: words, voice & music
Damien Bétous: guitar & programing
Additional musicians on #01: Marion Balech , piano/Alan Holding & Catherine Pauwels: voices. On #02: Stéphane Martel, double bass.
Commissioned by french national radio show ‘Atelier de Création Radiophonique’. Broadcasted on January 26th, 2003.

In french, ‘bogue’ is the official translation for the english ‘bug’. But this word is hardly used by anyone in the country. So ‘bogue’ stand for a leftover, a discarded item, a failed adaptation of french to technology. This suits Programme’s agenda well, and this project in particular, which deals with loners of society.


Programme ‘Génération finale’, CD 2001

Programme Finale

01 Génération finale (35:00)

line up
Arnaud Michniak: words & music
Damien Bétous: music & programing

Composed for a contemporary art exhibition in Lyon, France in 2001. The music is split radically between left and right channel. The former is the voice track, a cut up of a text dealing with social and psychological issues, where beginnings and ends of sentences or even words are cut. The latter has a looped accordion sound playing over and over again. One of the most radical efforts to come out of France in the last 10 years.


QuintetAvant ‘Floppy Nails’ LP 2002


01 Les Clous Mous (13:55)
02 Les Bleus Mots (17:22)
03 ” ” (4:28)

Lionel Marchetti: Revox reel player
Jérôme Noetinger: Revox reel player
Jean Pallandre: Revox reel player
Marc Pichelin: analog synth
Laurent Sassi: recording & mix

Tracks 01 & 02 recorded July 2001. Released on Mego 059 LP.

Track 03 recorded during the same sessions. From the Sonic Protest 2007 Festival compilation CD.

Improvised electroacoustic music played from analog devices (Revox reel player and analog synth) with live mixing by Laurent Sassi. Unusually vivid mix of fierce, unexpected, electroacoustic sounds. Unabashed meltdown of weird noises, electronic and found sounds (incl many voice excerpts treated beyond recognition). Quite unique.


Bill Fontana ‘Arche Sonore’ 1994

Arche Sonore’ (62’49”), cassette recording, 1994


‘Sound Island’ was commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the allied landing on the shores of Normandy. The result was an installation under the Paris’ Arc de Triomphe with loudspeakers hidden on the facade at ground level and a circle of 16 loudspeakers on the terrace. Recordings for this installation were made in France during June and July 1994.

This mix was aired on french national radio on June 6th, 1994 and recorded on a C90 cassette. My cassette has 2 different titles: ‘Arche Sonore’ and ‘Improvisation’ as a subtitle. None of them fits with the english ‘Sound Island’. They were the titles used by the french national radio (and commissioner) at the time.

Bill Fontana (from the souvenir video for ‘Sound Island’):

‘In 1994, I did a commissioned project entitled ‘Sound Island’ for the french Ministry of Culture at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. ‘Ile Sonore’, as it was called, was a sound installation on the 3 different levels of the monument. The 2 underground access tunnels had live underwater gurgling sounds transmitted from hydrophones submerged off Louis in English Channel. On the ground level, loudspeakers were hidden on the facade of the Arc and a live natural white sound from breaking waves on the Normandy coast […]. This also had the effect of masking the formidable traffic noise surrounding Paris’s busier traffic circle. The sound of the crashing waves also spurt out onto the large boulevards surrounding Place de l’Etoile. On the 3rd level is an observation deck where visitors have one of the most impressive visual panoramas of Paris and I explored the idea of hearing as far as one can see. I placed microphones in 16 different locations, including the Opera, the Bourse, the Louvre, the Sacré-Coeur cathedral, various lively parisian cafes and many others. Visitors could hear individual locations as well as a rich collage of the sound landscape of Paris.’


What we hear is originated in live recordings made by Bill Fontana in Normandy and in Paris prior to the exhibition. Sounds of Normandy: the surf on the coast, the wind, fog horns. Sounds of Paris: birds from the Jardin Des Plantes zoological garden (including the omnipresent peacock), cars passing around the Arc De Triomphe, a concert and applause, commemoration ceremonies including officials’ speeches & military music, tourists on top of the Arc (the terrace), a church bell. The mix creates an aural mirage with the omnipresent sound of waves and the sound of traffic.

This project strikes me as not being in the Fontana canon, being a megamix of different sound recordings made at different occasions, contrary to his habit of bringing a distant location live recording in an other remote location.

Note: The first 5 minutes of my amateur recording has rather harsh sounds of waves and wind, getting more balanced after a while. I intend it merely as memory of an under documented Fontana project.


(Pictures: stills from the video at


Hélène Sage ‘Les athlètes’, 1985

I’m posting 2 tracks by french sound artist Hélène Sage, the mentor of this blog.

‘Les athlètes’ (7:42)
in Bad Alchemy #4, k7 , 1986


Hélène Sage: violin, contrabass, saxophone, drums, brake, voice, field recording
Francis Gorgé: electric guitar, keyboards, drum programming
re. 1985

This wonderful piece includes field recordings made in Paris during the 14th of July, the french national day and involving many fireworks being fired in the streets, parties dancing and drinking to the sound of accordion. All are heard here, along Hélène’s violin and Gorgé’s guitar, while venturing in quasi riotous Paris streets and wild party atmosphere. The only equivalent I can think of is Alfred Harth’s ‘Berlin, Q-Damm 12.4.81’.

. . .

La bouilloire paludéenne (5:25)

This is the soundtrack from the video ‘La bouilloire paludéenne’, 2004, a recent Hélène Sage show, with Philippe No., where she plays, amongst others, a stool with strings, a kettle and a bass flute. Hélène has long been a collaborator with dancers, poetry reading or singing, stage plays and performance act. You can listen to more of her compositions on her website. Video can be viewed here:



Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.