[Oct 22] Untitled (1972) by David Tudor, transcribed (2016) by Michael Johnsen

Saturday, October 22nd – 7pm

Tickets: $15 (includes the panel and the performance)

ISSUE Project Room
   22  Boerum Place, Brooklyn, NY 11201

 

Originally called “Homage to Toshi Ichiyanagi”, “Untitled” might best be seen as an extended family of works dedicated to the generation of sounds using complex feedback networks, without resort to dedicated generators — perhaps the purest approach to pure electronics. This work included roughly a decade of variations and outgrowths, including the named variants “Untitled” (1972) and “Toneburst” (1975). Tudor’s exquisite score diagrams which serve as the only remaining clues to these pieces are simultaneously explicit and opaque to the would-be performer. Excerpts from Tudor’s program notes follow.

from 1972:

“untitled” – PART OF A NEVER-ENDING SERIES OF DISCOVERED WORKS IN WHICH ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS ARE FOUND TO BE NATURAL OBJECTS.

A HOOK-UP OF COMPONENTS IS MADE, HAVING NO INITIAL INPUT SIGNALS WHATSOEVER, AND HAVING UNPREDICTABLE INTER-RELATIONS.

ALL VERSIONS ARE PERFORMED LIVE, BUT DIFFER ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF INTERSTAGE COMPONENTS USED, TO THE HANDLING OF THE FINAL OUTPUTS, AND TO THE PRESENCE OR THE ABSENCE OF CONTROL SIGNALS WITHIN THE HOOK-UP. THE PRESENT VERSION CONTAINS NO CONTROL SIGNALS.

BECAUSE MULTIPLE PHASE-SHIFT STAGES ARE PRESENT, THE SERIES CONTAINS WORKS WITH VIDEO OUTPUTS AS WELL AS AUDIO, OR VIDEO ALONE.

THE ENTIRE SERIES IS DEDICATED TO TOSHI ICHIYANAGI.

excerpt from David Tudor’s 1984 notes for the Lovely Music LTD recording:

“Untitled is a part of a series of works composed in the 1970s that were developed through experiments in generating sound without the use of oscillators, tone generators, or recorded natural sound materials.

Composed in 1972, it was designed for simultaneous performance with John Cage’s Mesostics re Merce Cunningham. The work was revived in 1982, and performed with improvised vocals by Takehisa Kosugi.

The generation of Untitled begins with two chains of components, each chain linked together with multiple feedback loops having variable gain and variable phase-shift characteristics. The configuration of devices and their inter-connections, was conceived of as a “giant oscillator”, with random characteristics variable by the performer’s response and consequent actions. The number of controls to be simultaneously manipulated being very large, the output of the two chains was recorded several times, each time as a live performance.

The recorded tapes were then used at random in performance, feeding them (as a stereo signal) to yet a third chain of components, itself consisting of two chains similar to the first two, but having variable feedback loops in common, and also he capability of separating the outputs into different parts, switching amongst four channels in the performance space.

The components used, mostly home-brew, were: amplifiers (fixed or variable gain, fixed or variable phase-shift, tuned, saturating types), attenuators, filter (several types), switches, and modulators with variable side-band capability. No control voltages, as such, were employed.”

Bio

Michael Johnsen [Pittsburgh] is known for live-electronic performances with a menagerie of custom devices whose idiosyncratic behaviors are revealed through their complex interactions. His work is characterized by a relative lack of ideas per se, and an intense focus on observation, the way a shepherd watches sheep. The extensive patching of large numbers of devices produces teeming chirps, sudden transients and charming failure modes; embracing the dirt in pure electronics.

His current research concerns the circuit-level documentation of David Tudor’s “folkloric” homemade instruments.

His work has been shown widely at MoMA, SF Cinematheque, Radio France, Idiopreneurial Entrephonics, and Musique Action. He co-edits ubu.com/emr which is devoted to technical resources concerning the experimental practice of sound. He also designs analog circuits for Pittsburgh Modular.

http://www.ubu.com/emr/index.html

http://reboot.fm/2010/10/07/lautstrom-4-the-pitts/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marthe-weyandt/artist-as-alchemist-carne_b_8578064.html

Thoughts generated from an interview with Pittsburgh’s Michael Johnsen

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed