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Pauline Oliveros/Miya Masaoka 

click to enlarge 2008, Deep Listening Records
  • 2008, Deep Listening Records
Music responds to nature, music imitates nature; music pays tribute or defies nature, recreates it, ravages it, caresses its leaves. These two artists performed together during their tenures at Bard College, and Kingston’s Deep Listening Institute supported them in crystallizing these ideas. But before Miya Masaoka could perform the music that appears on this disc, she had to take time to give birth to a child. As a response artist myself, I can feel and hear the process of that growth and birth in this music.

An accomplished, renowned modern composer and instrumentalist, Oliveros, on treated accordion, guides the delicate forms, nuance, and development through this CD. New age fans take note: This is not consonant background nature sound. Masaoka plays koto, a traditional Japanese 13-stringed instrument dating back to the seventh century. It’s not clear how all of the sounds on this recording are generated, but there are indeed a lot of sounds. Masaoka is also a sound/installation artist who utilizes aspects of nature, such as plant activity, insect movement, model trains, and laser interfaces. So, whether or not she views the rhythm of nature or organic growth as inspiration for her work, it is clear that she incorporates the linear, horizontal, and vertical movement that occurs in nature—without dwelling too hard on the synchronization suggested by Fibonacci.

However, in the music and sounds presented here one hears the suggestion of chaos begetting order, and order bringing chaos on any (or often no) scale, so to speak. And that’s what really happens in nature, if you pay attention. www.deeplistening.org.

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