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Where I Hear, Were I There

February 11, 2004, 8 PM / FREE
The Arts Center of the Capital Region
265 River Street, Troy NY
(518) 276-4829

April 23, 2004, 9 PM / $15, $10 students and seniors
The Gallery at Deep Listening Space
75 Broadway (Historic Rondout), Kingston NY
(845) 338-5984

About Where I Hear, Were I There

Where I Hear, Where I There is a reflection on my own experiences of departing, arriving, leaving again and remembering. The field recordings that form the basis of the work were all collected during four expeditions I made last year as part of a long-term traveling project called EC(h)OLOCATOR. During the projectÕs initial tour, in May 0f 2003, I visited and recorded in Brattleboro VT, Plainfield VT, Toronto Ontario and Windsor Ontario.

The recordings are not documentary in nature. The piece I have created with them is even less so. Many of the recordings were made with handheld monophonic tape cassette recorders. Others were given to me by the participants, sounds they had collected or recorded on their own. Only a few were made with digital recorders, and even these suffer from the effects of wind rumble, microphone hiss and handling noise. When I really started to dig through the recordings, digitizing the tapes and logging all their contents, I was deeply disappointed at how poor the sound quality was, and how little resemblance the recordings bore to the places I thought I had visited. None the less, confronted with the daunting task of making a full scale composition with these recordings, I had to force myself to listen to them all.

Somewhere in November I discovered a sound that moved me. It was a recording of a chunk of ice being chipped down to make a drink. It was a recording from Windsor, made at a party my host threw to celebrate finishing his Doctoral thesis. Then another recording surfaced from the pile, a friendÕs son in one of the places I visited, playing with a tape recorder outside in the yard, all by himself. And then another, of some chimes in Brattleboro, captured by an unknown recordist. I donÕt know why these sounds captivated me but they did. More sounds emerged and the the piece began to unfold not as a literal travelogue but more as a kind of sonic shadow, an inseparable companion to the actual acoustic experience of my travels.

Programming and technical assistance for this project was provided by Stephan Moore. The hemispherical speaker array used in the performance is a design developed by Curtis Bahn at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Where I Hear, Were I There was produced, in part, during Create@iEAR, an artist residency program at RPIÕs iEAR Studios. This project is underwritten by the American Composers Forum with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation. Funding from Meet The Composer, Inc. is provided with the support of NYSCA, ASCAP, Virgil Thomson Foundation, The Eleanor Naylor Dana Charitable Trust and the NEA.

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