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Michael Snow (b. 1929)
Music For Piano, Whistling, Microphone And Tape Recorder (1975)
Falling starts for piano and tape recorder.
W in the D for whistling and microphone.
Left right for piano, microphone and tape recorder.
Produced by the Isaacs Gallery, 832 Yonge St., Toronto, Michael Snow and Chatham Square.
Two Radio Solos (1980)
Total time: 86:26
Cassette released by Freedom In A Vacuum, 1988
Two Radio Solos is a cassette of 2 playing-the-radio improvisations done in 1980 and released in 1988 by a no longer existing Toronto company (it’s still available though).’
Apart form being one of the greatest experimental film makers of all time, Canadian Michael Snow (b Toronto 1929) has also extensively played piano, trumpet, synth and percussion on numerous records and live performances. His recorded output includes many jazz and improvisation records, with the Canadian Creative Music Collective (CCMC) amongst others. Snow issued several legendary experimental albums on his own as well, like 1975’s ‘Musics For Piano, Whistling, Microphone And Tape Recorder’ [excerpt here] or ‘The Last LP’ in 1987 (full album here]. ‘Two Radio Solos’ was recorded in between those 2 masterpieces and offers lenghty improvisations played on a Nordmende radio receiver (pictured above). Here as well, Snow is dealing with long durations, like in his films ‘Wavelength’ (1966-67) and ‘La Région Centrale’ (1971). The tracks are vast collages of foreign radio broadcasts, static bursts and abstract electronic sounds, all ‘played’ with the radio surfing the shortwave frequencies (2 to 30 MHz). Chinese and Russian languages are recognizable, as well as english. I suspect there was a kind of post-production editing of one kind or another, contrary to what Snow states on the cover: some recordings are noticeably sped up, some passages juxtapose 2 sound sources and some cut-ups are obvious. The B side is a joyous collage of languages from around the world, embarking many exotic world musics, lounge music, electronic sounds and gray noise as well, all sourced from the Nordmende. ‘The Papaya Plantations’ at times sounds like regular electroacoustic music, but mostly like an autonomous sound organism with a noisy life of its own. In the liner notes to ‘Musics for Piano, Whistling...’, Snow writes about the ‘hearing/seeing/thinking experience of certain parts of certain of my films’. I assume one could consider the radio listener as defined by all the wavelengths he receives at a given moment, so that the human being is inhabiting a specific region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Listening to the radio you tune to all frequencies, all at once. This tape conjures such magic. PS: I really wonder where is located the ‘North Canadian ca
bin’ where this was supposedly recorded. I can’t help envisioning a desolate and isolated landscape like ‘La Région Centrale’. -- Continuo
The Last LP (1987)
Art Metropole – #1001
Producer, Written-by, Percussion, Drums, Trumpet, Vocals, Synthesizer [Casio], Tape – Michael Snow
Wu Ting Dee Lin Chao Cheu (Announcing The Arrival Of Emperor Wu Ting) performed by Orchestra Of The National Music Insitute, Seoul Korea.
Si Nopo Da (By What Signs Will I Come To Understand?) performed by Tribe Of Niger, S.E Africa.
Ohwachira, Water ceremony performed by Miantonomi and Cree Tribespeople.
I Ching Dee Yen Tzen (The Strings Of Love) performed by Tam Wing Lun on the Hui Tra.
Full To The Brim recorded in Varda, Carpathia, Romania.
Speech In Klogen performed by Okash, Northern Finland.
Mbowunsa Mpahiya performed by Kpam Kpam Tribe, Angola, West Africa.
Quuiasukpuq performed by Tornarssuk Tribe, Siberia
Amitabha Chenden Kala performed by Monks Of The Kagyupa Sect, Bhutan.
Roiakuriluo performed by Sabane in Elahe, Brazil.
Raga Lalat performed by Palak Chawal, Benares, India.
"Title of the album refers to the disappearance of the 331/3 rpm microgroove vinyl/stylus format. This recording was issued in the last days of the LP and was conceived of then as an investigation into the effects (both negative and positive) of "Western" recording technology on the world's few remaining, at the time of recording, ancient pre-industrial cultures."
Reissue on CD under the same catalogue number in 1994.
All informations taken from the sleeve and reproduced here are part of the record as a pure conceptual artefact (a man-made object taken as a whole). In fact all recordings were performed and "assembled by" the artist himself and subsequently all other credits mentioned on the text sleeve - also written by Michael Snow - are completely invented.
Hearing Aid (2002)
Published as a catalogue (ISBN 3-932513-34-7) for the exhibition of Michael Snow's sound works at Gallery Klosterfelde in Berlin, Germany (June 28th to September 20th 2002). Texts by Ariane Beyn in English and German.
Interview & session recorded by Paul Hodge in April 2002.
Hearing Aid recorded by Michael Snow in April 2002.
Michael Snow in UbuWeb Film & Video