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C. Spencer Yeh (b. 1975)
Solo Violin I - X (2006)
1. Side A [15:00]
2. Side B [15:03]
Originally released by Tone Filth on vinyl in 2006. The LP collects excerpts from the first ten of a series of cassettes issued by Dronedisco, focusing on five-minute long single-take improvised pieces on acoustic prepared violin.
Live at Lampo (2008)
1. Part One [19:21]
2. Part Two [23:32]
Performance requested by the LAMPO organization in Chicago IL, on January 27th, 2008, taking place at the Chicago Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago
Two improvisations -- one on voice through two microphones panned for stereo, and one amplified violin (using on occasion some electronics, like a fuzz and a loop pedal). The first part of the performance took place from behind a wall, so the audience had no visual of the myself, only the speakers broadcasting the performance.
Nothin' But A Heartache (2006)
1. Side A [15:08]
2. Side B [15:35]
First "solo" record I had on vinyl, released by Gods of Tundra in 2006. Very basic concept behind it -- one side improvisations with voice and microphone, the other side acoustic violin improvisations. Recorded with no overdubs, just live to tape, and using the best takes. Crude and minimal -- nothin' but a heartache.
The Lower Ones
1. The Lower Ones 1 [11:06]
2. The Lower Ones 2 [12:58]
3. The Lower Ones 3 [3:34]
Collaboration between John Olson and C. Spencer Yeh
John Olson and myself's first recorded collaboration, released on limited hand-decorated CD-R on Olson's American Tapes imprint as AM353. The pieces are primarily constructed from vocal samples I recorded specifically for the project, along with Olson's electronics and manipulation/layering/editing. I think we all tend to overlook "the lower ones."
Live In Nottingham (2007)
1. Side A [16:49]
2. Side B [15:15]
Collaboration between John Wiese and C. Spencer Yeh
Originally released on LP by WHAT THE...? Records in an edition of 300. Live "bootleg" recording of a performance that John Wiese and myself did in a gallery in Nottingham England.
Tiny Red Tables b/w Big American Hole (2007)
1. Tiny Red Tables [13:15]
2. Big American Hole [13:11]
Collaboration between John Wiese and C. Spencer Yeh
Originally released on Helicopter as a 25+ minute long mono 7" single in an edition of 150. John Wiese and I were both a part of this "Free Noise UK" tour at the time which included a variety of "free jazz" and "noise" musicians. Both John and I had these matching handheld tape recorders, and so at any/all times, we'd collect various field recordings, soundchecks, vocal utterances, just total garbage, and every evening these pieces would find their way into the performances as source material. This 7" is a recording of Wiese playing back the accumulated recordings on the original handheld recorders. Titles were provided by saxophonist Evan Parker, one of the players in the "Free Noise UK" ensemble.
Always Been A Storm / Memories of Murder (2009)
Released 2009 on my imprint Dronedisco as a C-60 in an edition of 100. The original cassette contained a booklet of notes, reprinted here:
Recorded 2007 - 2008 at Ashworth Tap Room, Cincinnati OH
"Lisbon Throat Ripper" recorded in Lisbon, Portugal
The two sides of this tape can be taken as a double-album, two separate sets of works forced onto one format, or a larger work with two greater halves. Though recorded with differing agendas throughout the past couple of years, this collection of works all share the quality of being centered around the voice -- physical objects and electronics enabling a further extension of this most original and dangerous instrument's capabilities. So it makes sense to cram them all onto one sprawling hour-long cassette. The techniques and results are generally crude and rudimentary, relative to the tradition and experimentation of voice in the history of organized sound, but to myself there is something intimate and rich in these studies. In writing these notes, the hope is that any baggage a publication like this is perceived to carry is somewhat lightened; so that any accusations of smoke and mirrors/self-imposed mystery to aggrandize these simple affairs are answered with personal accountability.
"Blehblahblohblah" is essentially a loop of overdubbed vocals through a delay patch on computer. The loop is edited discreetly, to portray a fluid sense of repetition; the hope is that with each pass a new element is highlighted to the ear, while maintaining its own rhythm and logic. "Lisbon Throat Ripper" was recorded live during a heavy rainstorm outdoors using a handheld tape recorder. The pauses and breaths between each vocal was edited out, so that the throat sounding is continuous, and eventually abstracted into pure texture. The next three tracks ("Basketballs," "Slow Sex," and "Adam's") were recorded all during a single session, originally to be presented as live acoustic voice pieces, of which only one ("Adam's Apple Acoustic") remains as intended. The other two were edited and effected with the hopes of bringing a preternatural sense of space and time, while still referencing the original organic qualities and feel of the performances. "Little Enjoyment" is a live performance of continuous inhalation directly on the face of a microphone, with EQ and volume to accentuate the quieter details, while creating artificial phenomena.
"Murderer of Memories" consists of two takes on vocals and electronics, overdubbed on four-track. One is with guitar pedals -- filter sweep, delay, reverb etc., the other uses a contact mic taped to the neck -- the signal is effected by a simple patch on the computer that responds to volume and pitch. "Chinese Water Torture" and its sequel are live improvisations with a plant watering can and water. The cheap aluminum of the can gives a metallic resonance to the voice, sounded through the spout, which in turn manipulates the water, based on how the can is tipped. The sequel employs distortion in the signal chain, affecting the performance; the previous dynamic acoustic nature of the water and can is flattened with overtones foregrounded and modulated, simulating the sound of a basic synthesizer. "Stuffed Inside The Elephant" is another overdubbed 4-track piece, incorporating a large cardboard tube with the mouth to project more guttural tones. Reversing and pitchshifting tape techniques are also employed, to bring subtle discomfort and alienation.
Floating Points 2008: The Backing Tape (2008)
In 2008 I was invited to compose a work for the Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY and its Floating Points festival -- a month-long festival highlighting their 15 hemispherical speaker system installation. I ended up employing ten of the channels for material I constructed and recorded ahead of time, reserving five for a live performance accompaniment. This is an excerpt from the "backing tape" -- mixed down across a stereo spectrum.
RRR-1000 Lock Grooves (2008) [3:29]
I was approached by Ron Lessard of RRRecords to contribute to yet another show of record-cutting force he was planning, this time RRR-1000, an LP of 1000 lock grooves from twenty artist (each doing fifty). I believe he had also requested that the sounds be somewhat "aggressive" and "harsh" -- "no techno" was another rule. So here are all fifty loops strung together, one after another.
The "Radio Program" from "MOR: More in the Morning" (2007) [11:55]
The central element of "MOR: More in the Morning," a work originally submitted to Ergo Phizmiz for his program on WFMU. Essentially a construction designed to generically evoke a popular morning talk/music radio program -- here presented out of context, in all its original clarity. In the "MOR" piece itself, this segment was played in the car stereo, masquerading as live radio; I threw a handheld tape recorder in the passenger seat, drove from a point A to point B, timed in conjunction with the length of the radio program itself, with planned events occurring at specified moments. I drove this course for a couple of hours, and then sent the best single take to Phizmiz.
Live at Art Damage, Cincinnati OH September 30th, 2005 (2005) [41:39]
Paul Flaherty - saxophones
Chris Corsano - drums
C. Spencer Yeh - violin, voice
recording by Jeremy Lesniak
Live recording of a performance at the old Art Damage space in Cincinnati OH. The recording quality on this is quite thrashed, overcompressed, and "terrible" though I feel it simulates the overload/saturation of what I hear in my head when I play this music. I can tell you that I don't hear what would be considered "crystal clear" nor "hi-fidelity" because my brain doesn't always perceive and absorb experiences in such a manner. Anyways, the group voted to not use this recording for release, which I ultimately agreed with, but I wanted to make it available because I liked the performance, energy, and sound, so here it is.
Outtake from "The Squid" (2007) [6:52]
Collaboration between Aaron Dilloway and C. Spencer Yeh
An outtake from recording sessions between myself and Aaron Dilloway in Dilloway's basement that led to our album "The Squid." Dilloway uses tape loops made from reconfigured 8-track cartridge players, amongst other odd strategies. I believe at one point we left the vocal loop (which forms the spine of this track) running out loud for quite a while, while we took a break upstairs. These seven minutes or so document what happened when we came back downstairs and got back to work.
C. Spencer Yeh was born in Taipei, Taiwan 1975, moved to the US in 1980; studied radio/television/film at Northwestern University, and is now based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Yeh is active both as a solo and collaborative artist, as well as with his primary project, Burning Star Core. As an improviser, Yeh is focused on developing a personal vocabulary using violin, voice, and electronics. As a sound artist/composer, Yeh works with all aspects available surrounding a work, aurally and physically, as elements key to the cumulative experience. He is concerned not only with the sensual aspects of 'sound organization,' but the gestural qualities as well. Yeh has collaborated with a deep and ever-growing list of artists and groups, including Tony Conrad, New Humans with Vito Acconci, Evan Parker, Thurston Moore, Amy Granat with Jutta Koether, Justin Lieberman, Don Dietrich and Ben Hall (as The New Monuments), Prurient, and Jandek. He has performed at festivals and venues such as Sonar, FIMAV at Victoriaville, Frieze Arts Fair, No Fun Fest, High Zero, the 24 Hour Drone People at Fylkingen, The Kitchen, ZKM Karlsruhe, and has also exhibited visual art, sound, and video works internationally. http://www.dronedisco.com
New Humans, UbuWeb Sound