Friday, November 16, 2007

Steve Peters - Three Rooms

from Vital Weekly #584:
Reviews of the work of Steve Peters are pretty rare in Vital Weekly. Not because we don't get his releases, but simply because there aren't that many. Peters is mainly known for his work with field recordings and a little less known for his composed works, some of which were released by Cold Blue Music. Much of his work is however unreleased, since it's specific works for sound installations or relating to dance and theater. But on 'Three Rooms' he offers us three works of considerable length and which were all made for installations. We don't get to see them, but experience the music.

There is some difference between the pieces. 'Delicate Abrasions' is one built of field recordings made in an old warehouse in Santa Fe and takes all the sounds from that space into the piece: nails, dust, door, concrete and such like. It turns out that this is most complex piece sound wise whereas the other two dwell upon one idea. In 'Delicate Abrasions' we deal with empty spaces through sparse sound. What sounds like rain dripping, slowly develops into a piece in which the rusty sounds of contact microphones become alive in a rather peaceful manner.
The most noisy, if that is at all a relevant term here, is 'Center Of Gravity' which evolves solely around Steve Peters' own breath, along side real time sound processing. Filtering, echo and delay are the simple means, but Peters doesn't create a live piece, but a sound collage of various of these recordings, inserting silence, and creating a sea-wave shore piece at times, which is more hiss like at times and not always the refined counterpart of the first and the third room.

The final piece is 'Mountains Hidden In Mountains' which uses the one strike of the densho, a meditation bell at a Zen Buddhist temple in New Mexico. The attack and sustain of the sound are used here and it never dies out. Peters lets this sound on an endless sustaining, no doubt through computer techniques, and it's ringing sound becomes a highly contemplative piece of music. It's the least complex of the 'Three Rooms', but one of an infinite beauty.
Drone, meditative, this is elevating the listener just above the ground. Three rooms, each with it's own characteristic and approach in sound; the second being my least favorite room, but these three rooms together make a very coherent house.
(Frans de Waard)

Label: Sirr
Cat. #: sirr0029
Format: CD
Release date: 2007

01 - Delicate Abrasions (17:14)
02 - Center Of Gravity (20:13)
03 - Mountains Hidden In Mountains (30:46)


Previous releases:
  • Emanations (1998, OODiscs, OO34)
  • In Memory Of The Four Winds (2000, Pianíssimo, ppp 01)
  • Here•ings: A Sonic Geohistory (2002, Pianíssimo, ppp 02)
  • Delicate Abrasions (2003, Pianíssimo, ppp 03)
  • From Shelter (2004, Cold Blue Music, CB0018)

Subsequent releases:
  • Occasional Music (2007, Palace Of Lights, PoL 0703)
  • Filtered Light (2008, Dragon's Eye Recordings, de5017)
  • The Webster Cycles (2008, Cold Blue Music, CB0026)

Steve Peters

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