All of your favorites, in one place.
Harry Bertoia's Complete Sonambient Collection features all 11 of Bertoia's original records newly restored from their master tapes and housed in replica jackets. A heavy duty box, printed with metallic inks, holds the 11 discs as well as a 100-page book containing a lengthy historical essay, an interview with Harry Bertoia from the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, exclusive Sonambient-era material from the Bertoia archive, modern and archival photos of the Bertoia barn, and reflections on Bertoia from David Sefton, Tom Welsh, David Harrington (Kronos Quartet), and all three of Bertoia's children. TheComplete Sonambient Collection celebrates 100 years of Harry Bertoia in 2015, the centennial of his birth. In the late 1950s, Harry Bertoia (1915-1978), already a renowned American sculptor, began creating long-form, improvised pieces of music utilizing pure acoustic tones evoked from his sound sculptures. Around this time Bertoia came up with the term "Sonambient" to describe the music and environment created by his tonal sculptures and their lush harmonic overtones. In a renovated barn on his property deep in the Pennsylvania woods, Bertoia curated a harmonious selection of his sculptures and gongs, often recording his frequent, intuitive sound experiments using four overhead microphones and a ¼" tape recorder. Bertoia dedicated the last 20 years of his life to his Sonambient work and in 1970 he released the first Sonambient LP. In 1978, in the final months of his life, he selected recordings from his archive and produced ten more Sonambient records. He would not live long enough to see or hear these records himself. Bertoia died in 1978, at age 63, and was buried beneath a giant gong behind his Sonambient barn. Bertoia's recordings are as much a celebration of sustained tones, slow decay, healing vibrations, and shimmering harmonics as Indian classical music, singing bowls, La Monte Young, or Benjamin Franklin's glass armonica. Through these rich harmonics, pulsing tones, and pure gongs Bertoia was able to more clearly articulate his inner spirit than he could with sculpture alone -- a point he made himself many times in interview. His single greatest piece of art is the totality of his life, which is nearly impossible to measure but easy to feel. Important Records hopes that somehow this box set evokes some of the same sacred, personal feeling that one has in Bertoia's barn. "I don't hold onto terms like music and sculpture anymore. Those old distinctions have lost all their meaning." --Harry Bertoia, 1976
"This 11 disc set was the culmination of an exhaustive (and exhausting) crowdfunded mission to digitalise and restore the furniture designer and sound sculptor’s recordings. Containing the entire original Sonambient series, the set presented an extended sound environment you could live within. Philip Clark said: “Composers traditionally impose their harmonic thinking on to sound, but Bertoia employed precisely the opposite approach. He aimed instead to drown listeners in sound, baptising ears into his way of hearing.” TheWire Best Albums of 2015