172

Pauline Oliveros: The Roots of the Moment

By

Sign in to view read count
Pauline Oliveros: The Roots of the Moment The music of Pauline Oliveros invites a consideration of her philosophical perspective, as the former is an outgrowth of the latter. Having established herself in the 1960s as one of the first composers to utilize electronics, Oliveros has since replaced the tape and oscillator experiments of her early work with performances that employ her interactive methodology of "Deep Listening."

This technique encourages a participatory approach to musical improvisation, eliminating the distinctions between composer, performer and listener. The Roots of the Moment, originally released in 1988 and reissued by Hatology in 2006, is one of the earliest documented Deep Listening performances, and it finds Oliveros' solo accordion responding to an "interactive electronic environment" created by computer programmer Peter Ward.

For Oliveros, traditional modes of composition are products of cultural conditioning that must be abandoned if people are to continue to evolve. She anticipates nothing less than a merging of human beings with computers, which will enhance the ability to perceive sound on multiple levels at once. Her faith in technology is reflected in the music on The Roots of the Moment: her specially designed "extended accordion," tuned in just intonation, is equipped with electronic switches that allow her to bend pitch, modulate, and layer sound.

Too rarely utilized in improvisatory new music, the accordion is an instrument that "breathes," making it an apt choice for a composer whose work reflects the desire to hybridize humans with machines. Operating a digital delay pedal, Oliveros produces a succession of spacious drones, giving the listener ample time to thoroughly scrutinize each sonic landscape. An occasional barrage of skittering notes may cut through the haze, but for the most part, the microtonal textures are developmentally protracted.

The Deep Listening approach, with its emphasis on reaching new levels of sound perception, is a valuable contribution to musical thought. However, its tenets are applicable not only to Oliveros' output, but to music in all its forms, including the ones which are most rigidly compliant with traditions.

If Oliveros strives to achieve a unity of consciousness by commanding the attention of listeners, then presenting them with a series of slowly evolving drones is a peculiar means of doing so. The Roots of the Moment is no more conducive to Deep Listening than any other piece of music, and without an explanation of Oliveros' intent to serve as a reference point, it will teach very little to newcomers.


Track Listing: Crossing the Sands; Traces; "Blow Winds"; Striations; Slipping Away; Grains.

Personnel: Pauline Oliveros: accordion in just intonation; Peter Ward: interactive electronic environment.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Hatology | Style: Classical


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Lost at Last" CD/LP/Track Review Lost at Last
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Cosmic Adventure" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmic Adventure
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Away With You" CD/LP/Track Review Away With You
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "The Third Decade" CD/LP/Track Review The Third Decade
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "Soul’s Journey Home" CD/LP/Track Review Soul’s Journey Home
by Jim Olin
Published: February 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!