Label: Lovely Music
Genre: Compositional Form
Three amazing works for pure waves and instruments. Lucier has pioneered in many areas of music composition and performance, including the notation of performers’ physical gestures, the use of brain waves in live performance, the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes. His recent works include a series of sound installations and works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and orchestra in which, by means of close tunings with pure tones, sound waves are caused to spin through space.
"I count Alvin Lucier’s Still Lives among the most beautiful recordings I’ve ever heard. Like Janácek, Lucier’s art stands alone despite the air of detached cool it shares with Lovely Music’s catalog. (Few labels hew to an aesthetic line so tenaciously as Lovely. Mimi Johnson, the woman in charge, is married to Robert Ashley, whose operas set the tone for a significant aspect of "downtown" style.) Lucier’s deceptively simple aesthetic is in fact delightfully complex in the manner in which it reveals horizons. In this release, the composer has purely acoustic sounds (single piano tones, less often chords, and briefly, koto) interacting with electronically created, similarly uncomplicated sounds. The magic – and I choose that word carefully – occurs in the mingling. Lucier takes his time, and so should the listener. I can think of little music better suited to the recording medium. The disc’s eponym, in eight parts, serves as a showpiece for the varieties of soul-touching experience Lucier’s seemingly perfunctory systems permit. The composer’s good notes tell the story. Particular congratulations to Tom Hamilton (a fine composer in his own right) for a wonderfully intimate sound."
—Mike Silverton, "Golden Ear Awards 2002", The Absolute Sound
Cat. number: LCD 5012