Artist: Pauline Oliveros
Stuart Dempster
Album: Deep Listening

Released: Spring 1989
Label: New Albion Records

Deep Listening Oliveros Dempster Panaiotis
It is known that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, but two tones can - and do so quite often throughout Deep Listening (63'18"). Perhaps best thought of as an artifact of an interactive performance this album by Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster and Panaiotis (Peter Ward) involves going beneath the surface of what is heard, expanding your attention to the entire sonic field, yet somehow finding focus in the act - connecting with the acoustic environment, all that inhabits it, and all that there is. A fascinating deconstruction of a zone discovered by Paul Horn on Inside the Taj Mahal (1969), twenty years later the release Deep Listening comes from a trio creating with a purpose beyond their own practice. They are making music with a meaning found beyond sound - the comprehension of which might be too remote a task for the modern experience. Realized in an abandoned, reverberant underground cistern, using a range of instruments, objects and sources (including trombone, accordion and conch shell) this threesome fulfilled their high-minded aims. Their experiments were not conducted on the music; the music was an experiment on the self. Their euphonious timbre puts the ear at ease, while a finely shaded elegance wavers like a candle under the heaving ether. As the notes travel through the subterranean chamber, combining, enlarging, then receding into the peripheral, we find that these turbulent emanations and reflections are the soothing outcome of this study. This pursuit was intended to be transformational and therapeutic, providing a generosity of spirit for the body as well as the mind of the players and those listening alike.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   7 December 2023

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