Thursday, August 25, 2016

pasadena arts council AxS gold crown awards

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

VITAL WEEKLY reviews striations CD on japan label spekk


As I noticed in Vital Weekly 1037 I just didn't hear for quite some time from Steve Roden, but listening to six 
CDs of his music from his twenty-five year career surely was a great thing a few weeks ago. Here is a new release, 
if you ignore the fact that it has already been recorded in 2011. It was created for an exhibition called 'Time Again', 
at the Sculpture Center, Long Island City, New York and the booklet shows some collages, which may or may not 
be used in the exhibition. We learn from the brief liner notes that the sound installation was outside, and inside 
a silent film was presented. I gather that accounts for the use of the sound of a film projector every now and 
then in the composition. The music piece is called 'Distance Piece' and, besides the camera, also uses guitar, 
bowing a cymbal, tapping a cymbal, the sound of stones, a bit of voice, cars and birds, all of which are cut 
together in a very Roden-like methodology. Everything is cut down to (long) loops of sounds and because of 
the irregular intervals by which they return, make that it may sound superficially the same but there is not much 
logic in there. On top of that I think Roden also add a few live elements, such as the guitar, played with a mild 
reverse delay effect at times; with the sound of the camera popping up every now and then, it also adds a very
delicate filmic element to the music. Like playing a film but then without images; or rather one that generates 
it's own pictures, right in front of you. This is especially because of those elements that take some time before 
appearing again, like a bit of speech, a car passing or such like. The ground 'drone', if you will, is made of object
upon cymbal, imitating the sound of an open window in the wind, and the continuous presence of the guitar. 
The whole piece lasts forty-six minutes and that's not a minute too short or too long; it seems to me the right 
length for such a work. It is elegant in its use of sounds, a drone backdrop, the story-like approach the 
composition and it is a classic Steve Roden work. He invented lowercase music as a term, and 'Distance Piece' 
is a fine example of it. (FdW)

Monday, August 08, 2016

BAD ALCHEMY reviews striations CD on japan label SPEKK:

STEVE RODEN Striations (SPEKK, KK031): 'Striations' ist der Name eines Sichtbaren, das wir nicht sehen. Ein 6-min. kurzer Stummfilm von Mary Simpson, geloopt, 2011 Teil von "Time Again", einer Ausstellung im Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY mit neuen Gemälden und Skulpturen von Roden. 'Distance Piece' ist der zugehörige Soundtrack, hörbar nur losgelöst vom Film, einen Steinwurf entfernt, außerhalb des Sculpture Centers. Nur die Imagination bringt beides zusammen. Angeregt durch das Artwork im Booklet: Fotocollagen mit Skulpturen, Silhouetten von Figuren, Textausschnitten. Beides, Klang und Film, sind Teil einer 'Stones Throw' genannten Werkreihe, mit der sich Roden mit seiner Großmutter auseinandersetzte, die Bildhauerin gewesen war. Die Klangbildfolge besteht aus den Geräuschen, die beim Drehen des Filmes ein- gefangen wurden, das Sirren der Kamera, Vögel, Verkehr.

Dazu Percussion aus Steinklang und Cymbalsounds sowie E-Gitarrennoten, die auf den Vokalen eines Zitats des Bildhauers Henry Moore basieren, das die Großmutter an die Wand ihres Ateliers geklebt hatte. Das Booklet zeigt Moore in seinem Studio in Hoglands mit seiner "Upright Internal/External Form" (1952-53). Roden nannte als seine Bezugs- punkte: the hermetic and intimately personal nature of Jasper John's post-70's paintings (as well as the similarity of his hatch marks to my grandmothers chiseling), Chinese scholar rocks, a small display of crystals and stones I had seen on a desk in Goethe's house in Weimar 8 years ago, Christian Wolff's score "stones" which I have carried in my wallet for years, some early films of Dennis Oppenheim, Gary Beidler's film hand held day, Jackson Pollocks awkward 1953 painting Portrait and a Dream - and most importantly the way certain analog activities, materials, and surfaces - hands, stones, paper, pencils, paint, film, drawing, wrapping, rubbing, etc. - seemed to relate more to a history of ritual, than to contemporary art. Die Steinwurfdistanz als das, was die Einbildungskraft vermag bei ihrem "In-die-Nähe-kommen-zum-Fernen" (sloterdijkisch gesagt)? Ein Stillleben, das klingt? Eine Meditation über die chiropraktische, zuhandene, handwerkliche Sphäre des Phonotops, die einen Bogen spannt von der Steinzeit bis zur Zeit, als die Bilder laufen lernten? Begreift man am besten die Dinge, die Klänge, die man, nicht allzu weit, nur einen Steinwurf weit, in der Schwebe halten und jederzeit aufgreifen kann? Bei Michael Pisaro findet man eine verwandte Klangwelt.
Portrait and a Dream, 1953
Stones (1968-1971) Make sounds with stones, draw sounds out of stones, using a number of sizes and kinds (and colours); for the most part discretely; sometimes in rapid sequences. For the most part striking stones with stones, but also stones on other surfaces (inside the open head of a drum, for instance) or other than struck (bowed, for instance, or amplified). Do not anything. Christian Wolff

TEXTURA reviews STRIATIONS CD on SPEKK from japan

from textura, usa

Striations is a prototypically unusual work from Pasadena, California-based Steve Roden, who's released over forty solo recordings on various labels since 1993 and whose output encompasses painting, sculpture, writing, sound art, and film/video; before addressing the sound work itself, some background detail will help bring the project into focus.
Striations presents a single long-form setting titled “Distance Piece,” itself one part of a larger project called Stone's Throw that involves a group of unfinished carved stones by Roden's late grandmother, a sculptor, as well as paintings, drawings, a sound piece, and a 16mm film shot with artist Mary Simpson. The ever-resourceful Roden determined while editing the film that its material naturally lent itself to a related project, which eventually grew into the forty-five-minute “Distance Piece.” Five years ago, the film and sound work were presented at the Sculpture Center in Long Island, New York as part of the exhibition Time Again, with “Distance Piece” playing outside of the museum and the looped, six-minute film Striations shown inside the exhibition space.
Not unusual for a sound work of its kind, “Distance Piece” unfolds at a relaxed pace, though it's hardly lacking in incident. A broad array of mechanical and natural sounds intermingles, among them the whirr of a film projector, the high-pitched shimmer of a bowed cymbal, stones tapped together, birds and other outdoor sounds, and even Simpson herself speaking. All such elements emerge as a constantly fluctuating stream augmented by an ongoing current of tremolo textures and electric guitar shadings (as an interesting side note, the guitar parts were determined by the vowel structure of a text by sculptor Henry Moore that Roden's grandmother had taped to her studio wall). The challenge, which Roden satisfyingly meets, has to do with pacing and stimulation: sufficient aural stimulation needs to be present for the listener's attention to remain engaged throughout; at the same time, the elements themselves need to appear in orderly manner so that they're not cluttering the sound field and undermining the intended effect. Though one presumes that Roden assembled the piece, ostensibly a sound collage made up of processed field recordings and guitar, methodically and with great care and deliberation, “Distance Piece” plays like a spontaneous, real-time event.
No account of the release would be complete without mention of the presentation itself, which includes an eight-page insert of full-colour photos showing some of the sculptural forms presumably featured in the 2011 Time Again exhibition. Presented in a wide-format package, spekk's presentation definitely enhances the impression the listener forms of Roden's sound work.
August 2016