AMN Reviews: Jean-Luc Guionnet & Dedalus Ensemble – Distances Ouïes Dites [Potlatch P416]

montage.inddIn his 1966 paper “Space as an Essential Element in Musical Composition,” composer Henry Brant asserted that the spatial element in concert music was an important variable to be taken into consideration when shaping a composition. Since 1950 he had been composing works calling for performers to be grouped and distributed throughout the performance space in order to exploit the effects of spatial dispersion on pitch, timbre, and instrumental interaction. Composer / instrumentalist / field recordist Jean-Luc Guionnet’s composition Distances Ouïes Dites, recorded live in March, 2013, continues in this tradition, focusing in particular on the effects of linear distribution on the sound of a small chamber group.

For this performance, a seven-piece mixed ensemble consisting of viola (Cyprien Busolini); cello (Deborah Walker); voice (Vincent Bouchot); double bass (Eric Chalan); trumpet (Christian Pruvost); trombone (Thierry Madiot); and electric guitar (Didier Aschour) was arranged in four rooms reaching from front to back on the ground floor of the Le Consortium art center in Dijon. Except for the viola, which was placed in the front room with the audience, the instruments were arranged two to a room, with cello and voice in the room closest to the viola, double bass and trumpet next, and trombone and electric guitar in the room farthest back. The titles of the composition’s fifteen parts convey something of the conceptual territory Guionnet explores—a territory encompassing combination and mixture, relationships of signal to noise, the propagation of stationary sounds from near to far, imitation, and so forth.

Much of the music’s interest lies in the interactions of the seven voices’ timbral properties as well as in the sound differentials arising from the variations in their distances from each other. The instruments’ spatial dispersal as well as the effects of architectural features on their sound quality impact their relative volume and capacity to blend with each other. This is most dramatically demonstrated when the composition calls for long, overlapping tones—often involving a dissonant collision of half- or quarter-tones—which aggregate the individual instruments into sometimes uncanny hybrid voices. The title of the work can be translated as Distances: Hearsay, which neatly conveys the rumor-like nature of the sounds it generates—half heard and half overheard as they travel back and forth echoing and diminishing, ultimately leaving behind a sonic image of continuity and loss.

Daniel Barbiero

Lost Civilizations and Leah Gage in DC

On December 19, the Lost Civilizations experimental music project returns to its residency at Dew Drop Inn DC (map) for an evening featuring a solo set by Leah Gage.

Leah Gage is a member of BRNDA, Stronger Sex, The North Country, and resident of Bathtub Republic (;

The Lost Civilizations experimental music project is a collaboration between Mike Sebastian (tenor sax, saxello and baritone sax) and T. A. Zook (basscello). Although essentially a duo, when schedules permit, it is joined by Jerry Busher (drums); Doug Kallmeyer (bass and electronics); Sam Lohman (drums); Larry Gomez (percussion); Patrick Whitehead (flügelhorn and trumpet); Leah Gage (drums); and Emily Chimiak (violin).

On December 1, Verses Records released “Code Red”, a compilation to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union. The release includes a solo basscello performance of Zook’s among the 40 featured artists/musicians/groups from 6 countries. It was done in 22 days following the election. Zook is performing at DC’s Logan Fringe Art Space on January 18 as part of a counter-inaugural event featuring “Code Red” performers.

Two New Releases on Every Contact Leaves a Trace

Source: Bang the Bore.

Two new albums have just been released on Every Contact Leaves a Trace.

TWELVE TAPES | the Bang the Bore Collective’s composition for car parks, cassettes and sine waves, featuring recordings made by Seth Cooke, Robbie Judkins, Declan Kelly, Keith de Mendonca & Andrew Page.

DROWNING ELECTRET – Simon Whetham at his most bloody-minded. The long, slow death of hydrophone recording.

Full streaming audio of all three releases is available at Each is a limited edition of one hundred CDrs, packaged with full colour and acetate inserts in recycled card sleeves, binder clipped between handmade greyboard tiles that have been ink embossed with found objects. Digital files also available. American distribution by ErstDist.

This Week in New York 


Composer and drummer Will Mason debuts new compositions for a new quartet featuring Ned Rothenberg, Kris Davis, and Greg Chudzik.
Monday, December 12 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students/seniors
Spectrum, 121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY

The NYU Extended String Sextet performs works by Louis Andriessen, Marcos Balter, Michael Bies, Garth Knox, Alfred Schnittke, Caroline Shaw, and Yasunao Tone, as well as premieres of new works by the performers. NYU Extended String Sextet is: Debora Bang, Kate Bartomina, Tyler James, Daelyn Kauffman, Robert Pile & Kyle Stalsberg.
Wednesday, December 14 at 8:00 PM
Scholes Street Studio, 375 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY

Composers Concordance will co-present, with the Hudson Heights Community Music Program, a program entitled “Chamber People,” at Fort Washington Collegiate Church in NYC. The concert will feature compositions by Valerie Coleman-Page, Mark Kostabi, Gene Pritsker, Dan Cooper, Tasos Papastamou, and Jay Kauffman.
Thursday, December 15 at 7:00 PM
Fort Washington Collegiate Church, 729 West 181st Street, New York, NY

Experiments in Opera and Kaufman Music Center present Story Binge II, a single evening event featuring semi-staged and concert versions of five works in progress. The composers featured are Roddy Bottum, Jason Cady, Lainie Fefferman, Nick Hallett, and Matthew Welch.
Thursday, December 15 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $25
Kaufman Music Center, Merkin Concert Hall, 129 West 67th Street, New York, NY

Over the course of the past year, Ghost Ensemble’s 2016 commissioning project has developed five new works written for the ensemble by emerging composers of consistently original, exciting music. The project will culminate in an evening of world premiere performances on December 15 at Invisible Dog Arts Center in Brooklyn.
Thursday, December 15 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $20, $15 artists/students
The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY

The Carnegie Hall Notables—a membership and ticket program for music enthusiasts in their 20s and 30s—presents Sō Percussion in an exclusive concert in Zankel Hall for Notables members featuring the acclaimed percussion quartet alongside special guests Steven Mackey on electric guitar and drummer Bobby Previte. The new music program features Andrea Mazzariello’s Babybot, Bobby Previte’s Terminal 4 with the composer on drums, Caroline Shaw’s Taxidermy, and Steven Mackey’s Blue Notes and Other Clashes with the composer on electric guitar.
Thursday, December 15 at 8:30 PM
For reservations, please call the Notables Office at 212-903-9734
Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall, 881 7th Avenue, New York, NY

Indexical & The Experimental Music Yearbook present four artists whose work resonates with language and movement in the context of musical practice. The Experimental Music Yearbook turns its focused Westward this year, and is featuring experimental minds who create on the left. Andrew C. Smith & John Hastings deviate from linguistic sense with a simultaneity of voices, both computer-generated and live. Jessie Marino and Natacha Diels (of Ensemble Pamplemousse & On Structure) perform solo pieces involving video, context, and movement.
Friday, December 16 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $20, $15 artists/students
The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY

For his first solo show in New York City, founding JACK Quartet violinist Ari Streisfeld is presenting a program highlighting the incredible expression and immense sonic capabilities of the contemporary solo violin. The concert includes Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VIII, Salvatore Sciarrino’s Six Caprices, the New York premiere of Robert Morris’s Variations with Aria, and Kaija Saariaho’s Nocturne.
Saturday, December 17 at 9:00 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students/seniors
Spectrum, 121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY

Composer Phil Kline will lead a massive chorus of boomboxes from the West Village to the East Village in the 25th annual holiday presentation of Unsilent Night. People gather at the arch in Washington Square Park, and less than an hour and mile later, end up in Tompkins Square Park.
Sunday, December 18 at 6:00 PM
Washington Square Park, New York, NY

The Washington Square Winds will perform an array of works written this decade, many of which they commissioned themselves. The program will include A Better Collapse by Thomas Deneuville, and Wayne Alpern’s Serenade for Winds, and feature guest soprano, Alexandra Fees, who will perform Elizabeth Egan’s piece for wind quintet and soprano based off of Victor Hugo’s dark poem, Demain.
Sunday, December 18 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students/seniors
Spectrum, 121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY