translations & articulations (of space enclosed by planes or surfaces)

steve roden
16 page catalog w/CD
edition: 966
griffin contemporary/new plastic music

  1. of space enclosed...

a 16 page catalog from a 1977 gallery exhibition at griffin contemporary in venice california. includes two essays: one by christopher miles, and one by brandon labelle. features images of drawing and paintings.

966 of the catalogs included a CD of the track: “of space enclosed by planes or surfaces…”

“of space enclosed by planes or surfaces was composed entirely of sampled and electronically manipulated fragments of the sounds existing in the upper and lower gallery spaces of griffin contemporary exhibitions. when i arrived at the gallery to do my initial recording, construction was going on in the upstairs space. i tried recording both the sawing, hammering, etc., as well as the subtler sounds of the space (talking, footsteps, etc.) from the 10 minute field recording, i took 8 different 1-3 second fragments and transmitted them to my sampler, where they could be triggered via a keyboard. some were transferred directly to tape, others were sent through electronic processors. my intention being to take an architectural space, to deconstruct it, and then to build a new space, using the qualities of the first. i tried to use qualities of the language of architecture that relations to the composition of music. for me, the creation of a sound work is always about the activity of building, as well as the creation of a kind of space. i hope that this soundwork functions as a kind of imaginary sound installation – a portable & inflatable space – that one can listen to, rest upon, or wander around in.”

  • reviews:
  • Steve Roden is a name I have come across before; don’t know where, don’t know why. (Oh yes, he’s In Between Noise) (And there’s that rather spiffy CD ‘Crop Circles’ on Trente Oiseaux) He’s a visual artist (read: chucks paint about) and composer with an extensive track record, and the music contained within this booklet (instead of the other way round) took me somewhat by surprise. The first time I listened to it I thought it yet another of those dronescape thingamajigs that drift around aimlessly before reaching the inevitable conclusion, ie a two minute fade out. When I discovered that it’s total length was only 23’00, I realised that somebody, somewhere obviously believed in this bloke, so I played it again,
    considerably cranked-up. The music on the CD is titled ‘of space enclosed by planes or surfaces’ was composed entirely from very brief samples of sounds recorded in the Griffin gallery spaces. Whilst Mr Roden was there on a scout-about he recorded the sounds of construction that was occuring at the time and then went back into his studio to manipulate (or not), and treat these sounds as he saw fit. There is a conceptual blurb that accompanies his description of this process and his intent which compares making music to the craft of architecture. La-di-da. (As Woody Allen once made Diane Keaton say several and a half times sonewhere in that other architectural miracle, Manhattan.) The sonic construction itself is a slow, very minimal piece which drags itself into the listening space like a slow, slithering beast. Soft bass creeps in on padded feet, there’s the occasional rattle and bang; blurred voices spread like pools of oil. Just as soon as it starts it stops and I was left with the feeling of wanting more. (Dial Auto-Repeat, please) It’s perfectly concise, not only because of this technological possibility. At a low volume it could go on all day. Most certainly a space within a space. Brill !

    vital weekly 113

    frans de waard