for these recordings i have worked acoustically with objects in the space of my painting studio, which faces the street, leaving the door wide open. here you have my own performance sounds recorded in real time with a simple microphone and digital recorder, along with the sounds of the neighborhood – cars and airplanes, crickets and birds. because i usually perform with electronics pedals contact mics etc. the recorded for ...'18 performances were much more like ritual actions, using objects and repetitive gestures instead of loops and processed sounds. the performances took place at 6 am in the morning and around midnight at night, when sleep was still in me, or nearly upon me. you can hear the sounds of the building creaking, my voice, pine cones, zithers, acoustic guitar, glockenspiel, bells, metal objects, stones, hands upon unwound cassette tape, toy flutes, harmonicas, whistles, a small tape recorder, a chinese mouth harp, etc.
the listener will hear between their ears, a private performance that has moved from my private space (my studio/home) to your your private space (the head between two headphone speakers) which you now listen to in a public space. i have worked for a year and a half with the dancer/artist simone forti, and with her i always use a little shoebox of acoustic objects to make sound. sometimes she convinces me to do a short solo performance with only objects, but i have never performed in such a way in public. perhaps these recordings are the beginnings of such a thing. they feel to me essentially nothing more than rituals of focus and listening, and they could not have happened without my work with simone. i hope in some way they exist as listening experiences in clear relation to the rest of my work.
i have also selected two hours of music by others which i would like to share. the selections are kind of all over the place, moving from joseph beuys to nick drake to a recording of chinese people singing karaoke recorded with my phone. there are recordings from my collection of 78’s, as well as music from a variety of locations and eras. please understand that not for a moment do i consider myself in the same breath as these masters.
steve roden, september 2009
Visual and sound artist from Los Angeles, his work includes painting, drawing, sculpture, film/video, sound installation, and performance.
Roden's working process uses various forms of specific notation (words, musical scores, maps, etc.) and translates them through self invented systems into scores; which then influence the process of painting, drawing, sculpture, and sound composition. These scores, rigid in terms of their parameters and rules, are also full of holes for intuitive decisions and left turns.
In the visual works, translations of information such as text and maps, become rules and systems for generating visual actions such as color choices, number of elements, and image building. In the sound works, singular source materials such as objects, architectural spaces, and field recordings, are abstracted through humble electronic processes to create new audio spaces, or 'possible landscapes'. The sound works present themselves with an aesthetic Roden describes as "lower case'' - sound concerned with subtlety and the quiet activity of listening.