The Tapeworm presents…



Randy Gibson: about Analog Apparitions

I am fascinated by human and mechanical shortcomings in a situation that strives for perfection. The two compositions that make up Analog Apparitions were composed specifically to be recorded to cassette tape. In these recordings you can hear the mechanism of the tape itself; otherwise imperceptible changes in speed amplified by the purity of the tuning; the clack of my organ keys; the distant murmur of New York City.

Each side is a distinct composition that can be considered a subset of my major work, Apparitions of The Four Pillars; a single facet, a microcosm of the work itself. Apparitions combines live and delayed just-intonation toy organs, other voices and/or instruments, and prime-harmonic sine waves in an infinitely modular composition that is given specific and descriptive titles with each new realisation. Following in the tradition of my teacher and mentor La Monte Young, Apparitions explores, through substance and structure, the core of the harmonic series through standard just-intonation methods (The Pillars themselves, made up of the harmonic intervals 3, 7, 9 and 11) and in the use of higher prime-harmonic relationships first pioneered by Young in the 1960s and heard today in The Base 9:7:4 Symmetry in Prime Time… , Young’s world-altering sine-wave composition at the Church Street Dream House in New York City.

Analog Apparitions represents eighteen hours of deeply structured improvisation as recorded in June and July 2010. The A side: The First Analog Pillar with its Simplest Primes and The Harbinger of The Second Pillar with The Low Madora Cornerstone and The Outlying Primal Cirrus from Apparitions of The Four Pillars contains seventeen individual cassette layers, each comprising a single sine wave, my improvisation on just intonation toy organs and singing, and two cassette boom boxes, played by Drew Blumberg, playing back earlier layers on a very long delay. All this is recorded live to cassette (which is then played back in later layers), creating a total of forty-eight direct layers and an exponential number of indirect layers. The B side: The Third Analog Pillar with its Lowest Primes and The Ersatz Souvenir of The Second Pillar with The High Madora Cornerstone and The Outlying Primal Abyss from Apparitions of The Four Pillars contains nineteen individual cassette layers and three cassette boom boxes, similarly played by Blumberg, creating a total of seventy direct layers. The Third Analog Pillar is more vocal and melodic in nature, and nearly every layer contains singing by Laine Rettmer and/or myself. As we recorded more and more layers, my relationship to, and memory of, the material changed and grew. A singularity emerges of the composition itself, but also of the time spent in its creation, the process, the exploration.

Each side is constructed so that, at specific points, across all layers, the elements will synchronise, bringing fleeting focus to a specific element within the drone. In The First Analog Pillar, this moment reinforces the fundamental D of my compositions. In The Third Analog Pillar, this moment spells out a 7:8:9 relationship, a homage to La Monte and his composition that has so profoundly changed my life.

Randy Gibson – VIII-iii-2010

Click here to read Randy's writing on Apparitions of The Four Pillars, the core composition behind Analog Apparitions [.pdf].

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