The work of Alvin Lucier needs little introduction. He is certainly one of the most innovative composers of his time, a pioneer and central figure in the world of experimental and electronic composition and performance. His early work, alone and in conjunction with Robert Ashley, David Berhman, Gordon Mumma and others in the Sonic Arts Union—which Lucier helped found in 1966—is musically rich while simultaneously exploring the many physical and psychic effects of sound. Pieces such as "I Am Sitting in a Room" (1970) and "Music on a Long Thin Wire" (1977) are unequivocal minimalist classics. Recent activity includes sound installation work and compositions for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and orchestra in which, by concentrating on the combination of close tuning and pure tones, sound is subtly sculpted and shifted to create mesmerizing patterns and sonic shapes.
Alvin Lucier finds two extremely sympathetic interpreters of this approach in Charles Curtis (cello) and Anthony Burr (clarinet). This collection of compositions spread over two CDs, including a new piece, titled "Charles Curtis" and written by Lucier for this project, elicits an intense physical reaction—a testament to Lucier's poetic and scientific focus, as well as the deftness of technique with which Curtis and Burr execute these rigorously transcendent compositions. Packaged in a deluxe matte varnished fold-out digipak including a 20 page booklet of illustrations and writings by Alvin Lucier, Hermann Helmholtz and others.
In Memoriam John Higgins (1987)
for clarinet in A and slow sweep, pure wave oscillator
"On the Carpet of Leaves Illuminated by the Moon" (2000)
for cello and pure wave oscillator
Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas Part III Number 11 (1984)
for cello and pure wave oscillator
Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas Part I Number 1 (1984)
for clarinet and pure wave oscillator
Charles Curtis (2002)
for cello and slow sweep, pure wave oscillators
In Memoriam Stuart Marshall (1993)
for bass clarinet and pure wave oscillator
Music for Cello with One or More Amplified Vases (1993)
Cellist Charles Curtis is recognized internationally as a performer of new and experimental music. Time spent studying at Juilliard and teaching at Princeton in addition to acting as director of La Monte Young's Theater of Eternal Music String Ensemble and working alongside free music and art-rock musicians such as Alan Licht, Dean Roberts, and Borbetomagus has positioned Curtis uniquely at the crossroads of academic and outsider music. Currently, Curtis is a professor of music at the University of California, San Diego.
Anthony Burr has performed extensively in the US, Europe and his native Australia, in a wide variety of situations playing the clarinet and live electronics. With artist Steve Ausbury, he created Biospheria: An Environmental Opera, a site specific piece based on the story of Biosphere 2, presented in San Diego in 2001 and in archive form at Cinematexas in 2003. Along with bassist Skuli Sverrisson, Burr is part of the Desist project focusing on improvised minimalism.
"Both Burr and Curtis are first-rate performers of this music; in Curtis's case, this should be little surprise, given that he has performed La Monte Young's music for almost two decades. The selection of works on these CDs amounts to an argument for Lucier as a precursor - or at the very least kindred, preexisting spirit - to much of the music of Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide, and Toshimaru Nakamura... Alvin Lucier is a rewarding listen, a compelling read, and among the most distinctive releases of the year."
"This fabulous double CD, lodged in an elegantly sober digipack complete with intriguing booklet, confirms what many people have been thinking for a while: Alvin Lucier is THE master of psychoacoustic minimalism, no question about it. And when the performers are as good as clarinettist Anthony Burr and cellist Charles Curtis, there's not even the slightest chance of failing to appreciate these explorations of vibrating particles and translucent matters."
"Whatever the technical explanations might be, I find this music absolutely breathtaking. It is somehow externally bare, and yet it exposes all manner of hidden relationships and sonic properties so that they are inescapable [...] The main advantage to these new recordings is clarity. While many other readings attempt a seamless blending of acoustic and electronic sounds, this collection is recorded so that every structural component is absolutely clear. Consequently, as with the best Boulez interpretations, familiar works are heard afresh, which alone makes the set indispensable. Such a lavish and well-executed production should not be missed."
"How wonderful to see Alvin Lucier honoured with a deluxe two-disc release where the presentation so seamlessly complements the musical content. On the cover, abstract blue-grey patterns overlap, generating an op-art effect not dissimilar to the resonating effect of the music's paired tones."
"ALVIN LUCIER LONGTONE BLUES: this is the long gone sound you need the long gone daddy sound gone on for a very long time long gone daddy choooooom chooooom sound gone long daddy daddy gone long on song song longform songs stretch long on form and form some complete new song gone long daddy long the cat went crazy and now the dog goes ape long daddy gone and done he's gone longform himself stretched out jwooooo jwoooom tuhweeeh stretched etched daddy carved into wood daddy as a permanent record daddy gone long for a very long time long like the night is the song is long of song and deep of heart lets hail praise on sound on song on the longform songs of Alvin Lucier."