One of my favorite moments – there were many – during the 2010 01SJ Biennial was visiting Trinity Cathedral at the end of each day, at midnight, to hear a series of concerts curated by Stephen Vitiello by himself, Molly Berg, Olivia Block, and Steve Roden. Fortunately, Stephen recorded the sessions, and they are now available on “Moss” via 12K.
As the liner notes tell it:
“The final night was meant to be a duo with Molly and Stephen but the opportunity to play with musicians/friends who we admire so much called out for an invitation to play together. As the set was entirely improvised, the billing really changed in our minds from being a duo with guests to becoming a quartet. The church itself was certainly inspiring, its dark wood and clean, dry acoustics. There was a very small but dedicated audience. No one slept and the church crew were amazingly able to quiet the rowdy revelers on the street for the duration of our set.
“Anyone familiar with any of the four musicians involved in this recording will know the level of craftsmanship and attention to sonic tactility that can be found within. They each exercise such incredible restraint, a feat difficult to pull off in an impromptu improvised session where musicians are often found competing for space, and allow for a sense of place to work its way through the quiet recording. “Moss” breathes like a living being lying down to sleep — a delicate wave of hushed field recordings, tape tracks and subtle electronics provides a bed for which Molly Berg’s clarinet and voice (joined at times by Steve Roden) ebb and sway, allowed center- stage, in movements across the piece’s 24+ minutes. Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello provide guitar (lap steel and electric, respectively) while Olivia Block manipulates the tapes, field recordings and electronics.”
I am thrilled to be in dialog with artist Stephen Vitiello about his exhibition Stephen Vitiello: Tall Grasses, along with Christopher Cox, exhibition curator and Executive Director of the Salina Art Center on Friday, October 29. I hope you can make it, if you are in the area.
“Composer, electronic musician, and sound artist Stephen Vitiello is well-known for his experimental approaches to the phenomenological aspects of sound. His field recordings of ubiquitous atmospheric noises are often mixed with electronics to create palpable soundscapes. The play list for Stephen Vitiello: Tall Grasses provides a layered perspective into Vitiello’s explorations of sound, including a room-size installation looping works from 2004 to 2010; a video collaboration with Brazilian filmmaker Eder Santos; and a new sound piece commissioned by the Salina Art Center expressly for this exhibition that echoes the natural life of Kansas’s remaining tallgrass prairies.”–Salina Art Center
Stephen recently curated a series of midnight concerts at Trinity Cathedral in San Jose for the 01SJ Biennial, and Northern Lights.mn also commissioned him to do a project on the aurora borealis, although nothing sparked, so to speak, on that trip.
The previous day, Thursday, I will also be speaking with R. Luke DuBois about his exhibtion Hindsight Is Always 20/20 at the Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita.