I had been pondering what to do with my Soundcloud tracks when the following news came out on July 6, 2017.
“The situation at SoundCloud is quickly deteriorating, with bankruptcy potentially next. Company CEO Alex Ljung has just announced the layoff of 173 employees. Offices in San Francisco and London will be shutting down immediately. Amidst a bevy of possible buyouts, SoundCloud’s financial system is heading towards implosion. Effective immediately, all operations will be shifting to Berlin and New York.”
I thought to create a snapshot of my 14 most recent tracks on Soundcloud before it was too late. These tracks range from 10 days to 3 years old. Some have been released before but most have not.
My use of Soundcloud has been to post works in progress or short examples of my current sonic investigations solo and with others. These are more for my own use than to release as finished products for consumption. Few people have heard them anyway. This compilation is a snapshot in time, nothing else.
The visual layout of any objects to be used is an important consideration in my musical performances. Some objects may not be touched during the performance but will play a part in the composition by their presence alone.
I have been fascinated by the free improvised acoustic string trio format in the last two years. This is surely related to my love of the Lachenmann string quartets. Below is a list of my current favorites. I’m still looking to start/join a similar trio in Washington DC.
Bern London Buenos Aires
Kimmig Wachsmann Tierhs
Zimmerlin Guastalla Quinteros
Studer Lash Vazquez
NYC Berlin London
Mattrey Ellenbogen Blunt
Bordreuil Lin Kallin
Ali Goodwin Marshall
My living room sofa provided an accompaniment to cello lines that float above in conversation with an imaginary house guest.
Gary Rouzer – cello, living room sofa
Photo – drawing for wall hanging by Anni Albers 1925
Soon I will open a video site to document my cello playing. These videos were done to present my interest in gesture as an equal with music/sound. “I endow a gesture with a value equal to that of sound” says composer Vadim Karassikov. The cellist Seth Parker Woods calls his playing “choreographic performance”.
I think about gesture often when I play cello. The physicality of playing the instrument is very visible and apparent for all to see when performing. This is not the case with all instruments. Whereas with a piano, clarinet, or trumpet the movements of the player gives little information about how the different sounds are being produced and what degree of effort is required. Everyone know how a cello should be played but my intention is to approach it as a basic sound producing object as well as a familiar instrument.
My live performances contain much material that is not captured by an audio recording. The physical relationship between instrument and performer can be material for composition as well as for improvisation in performance. Both hands can be set up as protagonists in a choreographic game where they work separately as well as together. Also it is possible to present physical activity that produces no sonic result. This concept of “choreographic performance” is not new but can be found in the works of many modern composers such as those listed below.
Capriccio per Siegfried Palm (1968)– Krzysztof Penderecki
Pression (1969) – Helmut Lachenmann
10 Etudes (1974) – Sofia Gubaidulina
Opus Breve (1987) – Klaus Hübler
Study for String Instrument (2007) – Simon Steen-Anderson
Capriccio (2009) – David Gorton
Nate Scheible and I making sounds with Dance Performance Group.
My interest in music and dance started with my discovery of John Cage and Merce Cunningham in the 1980s. I am currently working with Nancy Havlik’s Dance Performance Group in Washington DC. In this context dance/movement equates with music/sound, stillness equates with silence, and everyday pedestrian movements equates with everyday objects/sounds. I sometimes use household objects (chopstick, plastic cup, paint stick, cardboard) to create new sounds along with the cello. This practice of “preparing” an instrument started with John Cage in 1938 with his prepared piano piece and has now spread to all instruments. Seeing these common objects used in a musical context can expand our concept of what is music. When we were children we did not judge…if it sounded good or was fun and interesting that was enough to continue. I use the gestures and movements of the dancers during improvisation as possible material for my own playing.
These videos can be watched with the sound muted to focus 100% on the gestures. All are very short and represent my current musical practice and focus.
Zwischenzug is a brand new project. Listen to some sounds here.
Phong Tran – zither, electronics Chris Videll – synth, electronics Gary Rouzer – cello
Photo by Daniel Barbiero at Dance Exchange 25 Feb 2017