three roots carved to look like stones

steve roden
edition: 500

  1. 8 breaths of different lengths
  2. hand moving. slowly. (replication of a field recording)
  3. air chamber with 4 holes.

this work was originally installed at inmo gallery in chinatown los angeles, december 2000. the piece was created using 3 objects purchased at chinatown giftshops as source material: a wooden toy flute, a small aluminum wind chime, and a small paper accordion. each track used one of these objects as the only sound source. the installation was installed in front of a large picture window facing the chinatown pedestrian area.

  • reviews:
  • Just like the elsewhere mentioned John Hudak, Steve Roden is one of the minimal minimalists I know. Roden has the power to create out of almost nothing a rich sounding work. This CD is a fine example of his work. It was originally an installation at Inmo Gallery in Chinatown, Los Angeles. Roden bought three objects in a Chinatown giftshop: a wooden flute, a wind chime and a small paper accordion. With each of these objects he produced one piece of music each, slightly reprocessing the sounds. Sounds move only slowly here. Just as you think not much is going on, something utterly small changes in the music, maybe just a little bit of equalization, or maybe one of the electronic layers is faded out a little bit. This works best in ‘Air Chamber With 4 Holes’ – the accordion piece. In slow pace this twenty piece passes by in an organic beauty. It reminded me of the better Stephan Mathieu pieces. The piece for wind chimes, I thought was rather a bit simple. It seemed as if Roden just recorded the chimes hanging in the wind, including the sounds of the contact microphones. The flute piece opens the CD and is a rather dark toned affair – at least darker then we usually hear from Roden. This CD, and especially the first and third piece, are excellent examples of Roden’s work, and I count them to his best.

    frans de waard, vital weekly
  • Three roots…’ contains three pieces, each from a single source. And perhaps ‘Winter Couplet’ should be considered an extension of this, as they are all objects purchased at a Chinatown giftshop. ‘8 breaths of different lengths’ is performed on a wooden flute and the breaths would appear to be different treatments. There is a deep resonant sine-like hum that emerges and on which the other aspects are laid. Then blowy note and a higher drone tone loops, followed by a higher mournful tone, then a soft rhythm of blows. Some high squeaky distant shakes and a scraping breath complete the set. They have gradually built over 10 minutes, adding and cycling, then start to softly fade, the deep original tone seeming louder. The notes create quite a complex, quite melancholy mood. Using a wind chime ‘Hands moving. slowly. (replication of a field recording)’ presents again a variety of treatments – there is a rumble, gong resonances, bamboo or flat sounds, a hollow tapping, high pips, scraping and a fast rattling. These weave their various magic throughout the track as Roden shifts and varies them, ending with some loops that remind us that this is a construct. Finally there is the wistful ‘Air chamber with 4 holes’ in which a paper accordion develops a soft deep drone that rises and falls, slowly accumulates accordion tones adds shorter squeeze-box playing and dreamily drifts, some scrabbly noises added, to a long dronal end. Designed for an installation in LA’s Chinatown it creates a wonderful ambience wherever with its balance of focus on the minute changes and the larger flows.

    vital 363

    jeremy keens, ampersand