Sound sculptor Annea Lockwood, born in New Zealand (1939) but relocated to New York (1973), began to explore natural sounds with her Glass Concerts (1966-1972), as documented on The Glass World (Tangent, 1970).
A Sound map Of The Hudson River (Lovely, 1990), composed in 1982,
is a field recording of natural sounds and human voices along the Hudson river.
Sinopah (XI, 1998), a split album with Ruth Anderson, contains
Lockwood's 46-minute World Rhythms (1975), a live improvisation
that broadcasts natural sounds, from volcanic eruptions to earthquakes to
geysers to bonfires to waves to human breathing.
The continuum thus spans the dimensions of the human experience.
The album also contains Ruth Anderson's 23-minute Come Out Of Your Sleep (1997).
Breaking the Surface (Lovely Music, 1999)
Lockwood has also composed
the microtonal concerto Western Spaces (1995) for flutes, zoomoozoophone and percussion,
Tongues Of Fire Tongues of Silk (1997) for eight sopranos and percussion.
Early Works 1967-82 (EM Records, 2007) contains the LP
The Glass World (Tangent, 1970) and the 19-minute Tiger Balm (1970).
Thousand Year Dreaming/ Floating World (Pogus, 2007) collects the
35-minute electroacoustic piece Floating World (1999), created in studio from "spiritual" field recordings by her friends,
and the 43-minute four-movement suite
Thousand Year Dreaming (1991) for conch shell, trombone, multiple didjeridus, oboe, English horn, vocals (Annea Lockwood herself), clarinet and percussion, her sublime exercise in slo-motion subliminal glissandi and microtones
bordering on both post-classical chamber music and creative jazz music.
The languid and funereal timbres of trombones and didjeridoos sound like
coyotes barking at the moon in the first movement.
The wailing horns permeate the second movement at a volume that is barely
audible, their black and white tapestry wrapped onto itself like a Moebius
strip. The third movement increases the sense of musical alienation by staging
a subdued melodic line in a swamp of fluttering patterns.
The fourth movement continues to evolve the mono-dimensional tapestry with the
clarinet's Stravinsky-ian motif, the didjeridoo's massive raga-like vibrations,
the trombone's controlled deflagrations.
The piece closes with a few anguished notes by the clarinet after a cryptic
burst of polyphony.
Floating World (1999) belongs to a different genre of music altogether,
a collage of electronically manipulated sounds of nature.
The triple-disc A Sound Map of the Danube (2008) is a 162-minute
reevocation of life along the Danube via field recordings and interviews with
Hence the journey (in space and time) begins with
Bregquelle To Immendingen for German spoken-word (multiple men), running water and birds, especially majestic running water.
Domesticated animals enter the picture in Fridingen To Ulm, then the
water takes over again, but this time in a duet with church bells.
Lockwood seems to complicate the picture a bit at the time, as
the 14-minute Lauingen To Weltenburg is even less linear and more varied
(people, water, animals, churches).
Passau To Jochenstein Dam focuses on the water again, with the voice and
church bells simply setting the stage for the final roaring crescendo of water.
The problem, of course, is that there is only so much one can do with these
elements. Therefore the 16-minute Inzell To Traismauer sounds uneventful
and the 13-minute Donauwirt To Samorín
since they simply recycle sounds that were already in the previous pieces
(unless your ear is really sophisticated).
A steam train engine (a train?) successfully lifts Orth To Haslau from
the routine of water sounds.
Esztergom To Keselyus opts for calmer waters and invisible sounds
(perhaps of people nearby).
The 15-minute Batina To Vukovar evokes one of the most pastoral vignettes
before indulging in the usual loud gurgling.
The 15-minute Backo Novo Selo To Dobra is another rural vignette.
The 17-minute Kazan Gorges To Tutrakan invests more interviews,
the voices gracefully blended with the natural sounds.
Popina To Rasova finally explores more of the "other" sounds, sounds
that are difficult to interpret and constitute the subconscious of life along
The 19-minute Nufaru To The Black Sea reaches the sea, and we hear the
waves replacing the usual flow.
This is all evocative and charming. One only wonders if it could have been
edited down to a less sprawling dimension.
In Our Name (2012) collects
Jitterbug (2007) for six-channel tape, a mixer and two live performers;
In Our Name (2010) for voice, cello, and pre-recorded sound on tape;
and Thirst (2008), a four-channel electro-acoustic work.
Her "Piano Transplants" performances include
"Piano Burning" (1968), which simply consists in setting a piano on fire,
"Piano Drowning" (1972), etc.
"Piano Garden" (1969) is a piece that will take centuries to complete for
half-interred pianos surrounded by fast-growing vegetation.
The score is: "Plant fast growing trees and creepers around the pianos...
leave the pianos there forever."
Ground Of Being (Recital, 2014) collects works of musique concrete
from 1996-2013, notably
the 16-minute Ear-Walking Woman, initially a flow of
deformed/defaced sounds of animals with anguished or comic overtones,
but then it turns to noises that evoke a metalworker's workshop;
and the 19-minute Ground Of Being, which is the most complex
multi-stage collage: deep cavernous ambience, droning emptiness,
sounds of objects dropping to the floor, a barking dog, human voices,
watery hisses, ominous rumbles... the sibilant and the rumbling fighting
for supremacy... then suddenly an incursion by scratching and throbbing noises... back to the hissing emptiness.
Not her most profound or coherent music, but rather a display of studio mastery.
Tiger Balm/ Amazonia Dreaming/ Immersion (Black Truffle, 2017) collects three compositions: the 19-minute Tiger Balm (originally released in 1970), Amazonia Dreaming (1987), and Immersion (1998).
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