Over the past 4 decades, Joan La Barbara has created a number of multi-channel works that were designed to be heard in quadraphonic sound and other unusual spatial arrangements of speakers. These works were initially performed in concert using multiple speakers and various systems designed to allow movement of sound from speaker to speaker.
The works for the new release will include CYCLONE, AUTUMN SIGNAL and as lightning comes, in flashes. The total running time is 66 minutes. We have raised $7500 towards the $17685 budget.
We will return to the original analog tape formats for these “vintage” works and transfer the material to a high-quality digital format at Sonicraft Studios, remix at Harvestworks Studios and release a DVD with both the surround and stereo versions.
“CYCLONE” (1976) was an international jury selection as sound sculpture, awarded a multi-media prize and presented live in performance (as “Wind/Tornado Piece/Cyclone”) at the 1977 ISCM Weltmusiktage (World Music Days) in Bonn, Germany. The idea of the work was that the sonic cyclone should occur as erratically and suddenly as in nature and that the sounds would begin to spin around the audience, enveloping them in the sonic storm. For this project, we would return to the 1-inch 16-track master tapes.
“Autumn Signal” (1978) was La Barbara’s first “soundance”, inspired by the shifting word patterns of Emmett Williams’ textwork “Sweethearts” and the multiple movement and multiple viewpoint/focus perspectives of Merce Cunningham’s choreography. Sounds traveled around the perimeter of the sonic space, while others traveled on diagonals and fanciful trajectories. “Autumn Signal” was released in a stereo version on LP and later on cd, but it has not been heard in its original quadraphonic format since the mid ’80’s. We will keep the four channel format.
“as lightning comes, in flashes” (1981) was originally done as a large-scale outdoor performance work, using multiple singers and dancers and large costumes which unfurled and were left behind as tangible remnants of the ephemeral sonic work. La Barbara subsequently created an 8-channel vocal composition that created a distinctive sonic environment by using variations of her own voice. We will remix to 5.1 surround.
To have these vintage works available in a contemporary format is to bring back to life works that have been nearly lost for several decades. For the surround sound format to be used for sonic art works is to enhance the viability of this medium as well as to preserve, in their original conceptual form, works that were created to immerse the audience in the artist’s sonic vision.
The MODE catalog has wide circulation and is used as a resource for other presenters and archivists who are interested in keeping the history of American experimental music alive for the younger generation. The product also drives external events creating more visibility for the artist and increasing sales. Harvestworks would promote the product though our email newsletter, YouTube channel and concerts. A special effort will be made to access the audiophile and the home theater market.