Sonic Circuits VI: International Festival of Electronic Music


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1. Paul Koonce (NJ): Walkabout [ASCAP] 16:30


2. David Barnes (MA): Panic in Legoland 5:10


3. Warren Burt (Australia): La Strega Bianca Della Luna II (The White Witch of the Moon) [APRA] 8:06


4. Pedro Rebelo (Scotland): 1st of 3 Shorts About Noise and Rhythm 3.13


5. André Ruschkowski (Germany): Les pas interieurs (Inner Steps) 11:12


6. Rasmus B. Lunding (Denmark): Det Nødvendige (The Necessity) [KODA] 14.15


7. Stephen Montague (England): Tigida Pipa [PRS] 9:30



Each year the American Composers Forum curates a program of live, video, and audio electro-acoustic music and art by composers around the world.  The program is reproduced and then sent out as a DIY kit for interested venues to prepare their own presentations.  (To find out more about acting as a host for a Sonic Circuits event, contact ACF.)  Over 135 composers have been programmed since 1993 on international radio stations and at many sites such as Minneapolis and St. Cloud, MN, Chicago, IL, Starkville, MS, Cedar Rapids, IA, East Lansing, MI, Boston, MA, Tacoma, WA, and Santa Fe, NM.  In this way composers, performers and listeners alike catch an up-to-date glimpse of what is being done at the cusp where music, art, and electrons meet.


Sonic Circuits is supported by the Jerome Foundation

Producer: Philip Blackburn

Thanks to the following curators and helpers: Ryan Brown, Brian Heller, Scott Miller, Chris Strouth, Pete Thomas, and Pamela Z.

Mastered by Paul Stark at Twin Tone Records.

Graphic Design: Philip Blackburn, Chris Strouth


The American Composers Forum offers some 20 programs that link communities with composers and performers. Founded in 1973 as the Minnesota Composers Forum, it now has more than 1,100 members and over 10 chapters in US cities. It is the publisher of innova Recordings and of Sounding Board, a monthly newsletter.  Membership is open to all.


332 Minnesota Street, Suite E-145, St. Paul, MN 55101-1300.

Telephone: (651) 228-1407; fax: (651) 291-7978.

[email protected]


David Barnes - Panic in Legoland


Over the last 14 years David Barnes has grown accustomed to using a multi-track tape recorder as his primary compositional tool.  His experimental compositions utilize a wide range of acoustic and electronic instruments and sounds which he records one track at a time and arranges during mixdown.


Panic in Legoland is his first work composed entirely on computer using sampled sounds.  Barnes loves the level of control that this type of composing offers, but the price is the number of hours that a perfectionist can spend getting a piece just right .  Legoland was composed in 8 months.


The samples in this piece include: Didjeridu (by Daniel Orlansky), kit drumming (by Barnes), tenor sax (by David Peck), bubbling water, scissors, distorted conga, distorted bass hammer dulcimer, an iron bowl-shaped sculpture, creaking door hinges, chainsaw, groaning toilet plumbing, hubcaps, vocal sounds, electric guitar, a box of Legos, and a circuit-bent electronic instrument made from a “Speak and Math.”  No synthesizers.  [[email protected]]


Rasmus B. Lunding - Det Nødvendige


Construction, bass, and percussion—Rasmus B. Lunding

Voice—Line Tjørnhøj-Thomsen

Percussion—Henrik Corfitsen


Det Nødvendige (The Necessity) is based on a poem by Thorkild Bjørnvig—one of several “environmental poems” he has written since 1960, all dealing with the natural environment and the interaction of man in all aspects.  The piece was written for, and originally performed in a 25 speaker version at Sound/Gallery on the main square in Copenhagen.


“In dealing with the musical context my goal was to try and achieve the mix of poetic phrasing and a very straightforward sort of “poem-concrète” one finds reading Bjornvig’s poems.  The basics of the composition were recordings of singer Line Tjørnhøj-Thomsen singing and reading the poem.  These recording were then transformed, or used to transform other sound sources into hybrids of their own, relating to the mutant-like environmental state of society described in the poem by Bjørnvig.  The form of the piece was derived from the poem itself, and a very anarchistic approach was deliberately used in “constructing” the piece.”


The piece was executed at DIEM (Danish Institute for ElectroAcoustic Music) in Århus, Denmark, and awarded a grant by the Danish Art Council.


Thorkild Bjørnvig (b.1918) is recognized as one of Danish poetry’s foremost writers.  Beside his primary work, he has also gained recognition as a researcher, analyst, and translator (being the prime translator of Rainer Maria Rilke’s and Hölderlin’s works in Denmark).  Bjørnvig has been writing and publishing his “environmental poems” since the mid-sixties.  Through these poems (and several essays) he has shared his huge knowledge and concern for all aspects of environmental issues long before any politician would recognize water pollution as an existing factor at all, for example.  Along with all this, Bjørnvig is recognized as one of the major writers in Nordic poetry this century for his many subtle and complex works.  Still, the sense of nature, as a sensation in its own right, as a metaphysical encounter, is often (if not always) a very important factor in these works, as well.


Starting out in the late punk scene in Århus, Rasmus Bruuse Lunding gained recognition as one of the more weird and intuitive guitar players emerging in Denmark around that time.  Later the musical horizon was widened a bit through encounters with rock, jazz, and improvisational groups and musicians mainly in Århus, but around Europe, as well.  Since the beginning of the nineties Lunding has devoted his time primarily to composing, basically for smaller ensembles and, since 1995, for computer.  Although he deals with sound, his main inspiration comes maybe not so much from music but from people like Bjørnvig and Henry David Thoreau and their approach, not only to their work, but to life itself.


Lunding has also worked as technical coordinator at the ICMC94 (International Computer Music Conference) in Århus, and attended classes in software synthesis and digital sound processing at DIEM.  Lunding had a piece presented at ICMC97, and has been featured on several releases over the years, in groups as well as solo.  [[email protected]]


Paul Koonce - Walkabout


“The focus of my recent electroacoustic music has been on the integration of environmental sounds with the traditional sounds and styles of instrumental music.  The goal behind this has been to explore ways in which more conventional sounds and idioms can be reenchanted through engagement with the extramusical associations of the environment and its places.  The nut of this comes from an interest in reinvigorating music’s syntactical primitives through the synthesis and collision of conventional musical sounds and gestures with their resemblance in the environment.  The hope in this is that by engaging music’s likeness in the environment, the simple, decayed meanings of musical sound will be momentarily suspended or even reinvented through the complex of associations and proposed meanings introduced from these other places and the spectral morphologies connecting them.


“Walkabout (1998) continues this rich exploration of environment and music, with a work whose particular focus is on the juxtaposition and threading of musical styles.  Style  in music today has such a mystique about it that I am repeatedly intrigued by the media of a music which addresses the voice of a style when pitted against its competitors, its objects, and ultimately its own objectness.  As with the sounds of the environment, the electroacoustic medium makes this examination of style as object as possible, particularly so as sound media in our culture, and the simulacra they employ are responsible for so much of style’s proliferation.  In the long picture of our medium and our work as composers, I think it is one of the more pressing aesthetic questions which we will face -- style, medium, and the voice of culturally defined sound objects.


“Into this arena of musical argument and delight is where Walkabout takes us as it elicits a host of particulars driven out by its chronic siren call reverberating in every tableau along the way.  Like a mooring for memory’s alchemical trip through all that does not belong, it both calls and warns of the epic escape, romantic even, which this circuitously wrought path promises.  Or so it would seem to the ears of this composer who would imagine it, want it and all the serendipitous rejuvenation it promises, for this is the story of no one’s path but my own through the escape of one’s more sensible ways to other places.  Yes, it is for want of the stories of leave taken, of escape and return and getting lost, of reports of having been found missing and seen not here but there, that I have told this now retravelled tale, of places gone and things seen on the walkabout path I took.”


Paul Koonce (b.1956) studied composition at the University of Illinois, and the University of California, San Diego, where he received a Ph.D. in Music.  He has produced compositions in the electronic, computer, and acoustic media which have been presented in the International Festival of Computer Music, Japan; the Roulette Concert Series, New York; the San Francisco New and Unusual Music Series; the Darmstadt Festival for New Music, Germany; the Kunstmuseum, Bern Switzerland; and New Music America, Montreal.  He has received awards and commissions from the Luigi Russolo International Competition for Composers of Electronic Music, the National Flute Association, Prix Ars Electronica Electronic Arts Competition, the Electroacoustic Music Contest of Sao Paulo, the International Competition of Electroacoustic Music in Bourges, and is the recipient of a McKnight Foundation fellowship through the American Composers Forum.  He is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Princeton University. [[email protected]]


Stephen Montague - Tigida Pipa

for 4 voices playing woodblocks and claves, and tape

Singcircle: Gregory Rose—conductor. Suzanne Flowers, Jacqueline Horner, Angus Smith, Martin Elliott; Stephen Montague (sound diffusion)


Tigida Pipa was composed in Ghent, Belgium, and completed in London in January, 1983, but revised several times until 1989.  The text consists of invented words and percussive sounds whose inherent rhythmic structure propels the work at breakneck speed through a rondo of sonic adventures.  It was described by The Financial Times  (London) as “...a tongue-twisting, tempo-twisting vocal toccata brilliantly sustained” and by Opera  magazine as “...a virtuoso ritual for percussionists-cum-vocalists, ebullient and inventive far beyond the Steve Reich school of minimalism.”  The work was inspired by some of the invented text compositions of Frank Denyer and written for the London virtuoso vocal ensemble Singcircle  (director, Gregory Rose).


The original tape (using the sounds of Godfried-Willem Raes’s home-made log drums) was realized at IPEM/Belgian Radio Studios, Ghent, in the Autumn of 1982 and winter of 1983.  The 1989 revision was realized in the composer’s studio in London.


Tigida Pipa was commissioned by Elms Concerts for Singcircle  with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain.  The first performance was February 19, 1983, at London’s Rosslyn Hill Chapel (Hampstead) with Singcircle  (Gregory Rose, conductor).  Tigida Pipa also appears on a Continuum (New Zealand) CD: Stephen Montague - Orchestral and Chamber Music  (Continuum CCD 1061), 1994.


Stephen Montague (b.1943, New York) studied at Florida State and Ohio State universities and went to Warsaw, Poland, on a Fulbright Scholarship 1972-4.  From there he moved to England where he has based his wide-ranging freelance composition career ever since.  He was a founder and Chairman of the Sonic Arts Network concert series, and has served as Chairman and Artistic Director for the Society for the Promotion of New Music.  [[email protected]]


André Ruschkowski - Les pas interieurs


“The sonic point of departure for my composition Les pas interieurs (Inner Steps) - realized at Studio “La Muse en Circuit” Paris - were recordings made in the immediate surroundings of the studios in Paris in August 1997.  I captured the sounds of peoples’ footsteps walking or running in this specific acoustic environment, with their various characteristics and tempi.  As a contrast to this ‘concrete’ sound material, electroacoustic sound generated by means of Granular Synthesis was also used.  All material was transformed and fit into a structure which largely corresponds to the original sound recordings. 


“The original source material is perceptible in the final composition only at certain moments, for it is overcast by heavy electronic transformations, and in others, the volume is sometimes much reduced for reasons of musical dramaturgy.  This process could be described-in analogy to fine arts-as an ‘acoustic layering technique.’  The title Les pas interieurs thus refers both to the sonic point of departure, and to dynamic transitions between different musical states in successive stages of this composition.”


André Ruschkowski (b.1959, Berlin Germany) received his Ph.D. in Musicology in 1993 at the Humboldt-Universität Berlin.  He began his compositional studies in 1984 and has been composer-in-residence at several studios for electronic music (i.e. Berlin, Paris, Vienna).  Since 1992 he has lectured on Electronic Music and Music of the 20th Century at the Music Academy “Mozarteum” in Salzburg (Austria), the Technische Universität Berlin, and the University of Cologne (Germany).  He is currently Professor for Electronic Music at the “Mozarteum” at Salzburg, where he directs the Electronic Music Studio of the Composition Department.  He has won prizes and mentions from various competitions for electronic music (i.e. Italy, France).  His works are recorded on CD’s of Ton Art, Berlin and “La Muse en Circuit” Paris.  [[email protected]]


Warren Burt - La Strega Bianca della Luna II


La Strega Bianca della Luna II (The White Witch of the Moon #2) is a 12 tone composition in 5 simultaneous equal temperaments: 13, 17, 23, and 29 tone tuning.  Each of 5 sine wave synthesizers is tuned to the nearest pitches in one of these scales to standard 12 tone tuning.  All 5 synthesizers then play the same 5 voice, 12 tone canon simultaneously.  This results in each tone being not a steady tone, but a complex sound with many different rhythmic beat patterns.  The harmonies that are formed do not then conform to standard tuning, but make a series of unique sounds, each with its own beat pattern and timbre.  The piece was made with John Dunn’s “Kinetic Music Machine” algorithmic composition software.  Each time the piece is performed, the program generates a different 12 tone row to form the structural basis for the piece.  This recording is an 8 minute version of the piece that was originally installed in the Warrnambool (Australia) Art Gallery between April 29 and May 3, 1998, which was funded by a grant from Arts Victoria, the Victorian state arts funding board.


Warren Burt is a composer. writer, radio producer, and video and computer graphics artist who lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.  He has performed his music in Europe, the US, and Australia and New Zealand.  Most recently, a recording of his computer voice opera “Miss Furr and Miss Skene,” to a text by Gertrude Stein, was released by VOYS, Inc. of Minneapolis, and he received an Australian Composer’s Fellowship for the years 1998-2000.  [[email protected]]


Pedro Rebelo - First of 3 Shorts about noise and rhythm


This set of three pieces explores transitions and ambiguities between periodic rhythm and noise.  Only the first is heard here; the remaining sections further explore periodicity, discontinuity, and disruption.  The first piece starts with self-contained fast rhythms which gradually become fragmented into less controlled, “played” gestures.


Pedro Rebelo (b.1972) studied electroacoustic composition at UEA, Norwich (England) with Simon Waters at Masters level.  Presently a doctoral student under the supervision of Nigel Osborne, Peter Nelson, and Richard Coyne at Edinburgh University, Rebelo’s approach to music making is defined by the use of improvisation and interdisciplinary structures.  He has been involved in several collaborative projects with visual artists and is currently exploring the relationships between architecture and music in virtual environments.  Both his instrumental and tape music have been performed in festivals and concert series across Europe, the US, and Australia.