Saturday, November 7, 2009

Maryanne Amacher - Sound Characters (Making The 3rd Ear) (1999)

The great composer and installation artist Maryanne Amacher died on October 22.
"A sound artist with a reputation for overwhelming volume, precise speaker placement, and site-specific environmental and architectural installations" wrote Alan Licht in an interview with her in March 1999. A student of Karlheinz Stockhausen and a collaborator of John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Alvin Curran and others, she has been New Music's best kept secret.
Thurston Moore made a fascinating documentary on Amacher called Daytrip Maryanne, 3 clips are available here !
Alan Licht's (recommended) personal piece on listening to her work "Sound Characters (Making The Third Ear)" from The Wire issue 181 can be read here !
The "Making the Third Ear" part of the title refers to the phenomenon that listeners experience when listening to Maryanne Amacher's compositions - played at the right volume, sounds seem to emit from within the listener's head ! Even though these works were written for installations in specific spaces, and not for recording, the "third ear" still happens (but not with headphones).
"...involves radical shifts in both time and space....The resulting tensions...leave you hungry...for louder volumes, longer durations, bigger spaces."

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