Saturday, June 09, 2007

This Ain't Exactly Debbie Harry's Heart... (Closer to Herzog, Actually)

Putting yesterday's madness behind us...

Here's a favorite album; it's been a source of inspiration for years.

Anna Lockwood - The Glass World of Anna Lockwood

(1970, Tangent Records UK LP, TGS 104)

From the text accompanying the 1997 reissue:

Note: on the original 1970 Tangent recording, the composer was billed as Anna Lockwood.


The Glass World of Annea Lockwood is the re-issue of the seminal work of Annea Lockwood and a record of her early explorations of natural and found sounds. The Glass World originated in 1966 as a live, two hour performance work entitled, The Glass Concert, and was presented in over 70 concerts in England Scandinavia and Australasia, the final performance being at WBAI's Free Music Store in New York City in 1973. Many types, shapes and sizes of glass are used, singly or combined and are manipulated in a variety of ways so as to extract from them their latent sounds. The glass used has not been specifically prepared or shaped as with musical instruments; pieces of glass have been used which are not normally seen - fragments collected from factory floors, such as small glass discs which are rubbed together, and sea-green glass rocks which are knocked against each other; a thin glass rod is drawn across the edge of a large suspended pane, as a bow across a violin string; another pane, struck lightly like a gong is then raised and lowered in a water-filled tank, sending undulating reverberations through the glass and the water; the 'breathing machine' consists of two interlocking laboratory jars, one containing water and one air.

Lockwood has been known for the last thirty years for her sensitive use of environmental and natural/found sounds that explore the music of the world around us. Out of print for many years, this recording documents her investigations into sounds drawn from glass. Using common objects and industrial castoffs, she unobtrusively allows them to sing their songs in an aesthetic with direct ties to post-Cageian art movements such as Fluxus.

Lockwood wrote at that time of these concerts, "I am working with sound-as-energy, the concept and experience of sound as a natural source of energy and nourishment, there to be tapped once you are aware of its nature and effect. With The Glass Concerts (1967-73), I began trying to eliminate what I feel are screens between the sound and the person receiving it, i.e. composition, by means of which sound is manipulated through a structure. The structure reflects the mind of the composer, inevitably, so that you receive the sound indirectly, channeled, super-structured. Sounds have their own innate and complex structures and energies. I don's see them as raw material.

The Glass Concerts were full-evening audio-visual performances in which all sounds were made with glass, amplified; some were presented in complete darkness, to focus the ears, some with light projected onto glass structures such as curtains of glass tubing, or a very large mobile. The focus of the work being on the spectral structure of each sound, only one sound source was heard at a time. For me this was a shift from creating scores to observing sounds closely, as if they were autonomous beings with their own life, their own behavior. True, I initiated the resonance in the glass by touching it, but what followed was often unpredictable. I would move the glass until it started to sound, not pre-determining which sounds to make but letting them happen, until I came to feel that the glass played me, rather than I it. The Glass Concerts were an intensive ear training course for me, an extended lesson taught me by sound itself, and they turned my music in a radically different direction, just as I'd intended."


This version was ripped from the Tangent Records vinyl release.

(320 kbps, 99.8 MB.)

(Ms. Lockwood, with surrounding music aflame. Click above for a larger image...)

Get it here.




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