Great Howl at Town Haul

Release date: 
Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Important Records, on the occasion of Pauline Oliveros' 80th birthday, presents two new releases from the Deep Listening Band. These recordings, sadly, mark some of the final trio recordings with David Gamper who passed away in 2011. This CD is being released simultaneously with DLB's Octagonal Polyphony LP and Pauline Oliveros' comprehensive 12 CD collection of electronic work.

- Stuart Dempster, Recording/Mixing statement


Shimmering minimalism, surging cascades of sounds and house-of-horrors vocals all figure into it. If Gamper had to go, "Great Howl at Town Haul" is a magnificent note to go out on.
- Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times arts writer

Deep Listening Band January 2011 residency and concert at Town Hall Seattle produced enough material for both a CD and an LP on Important Records, and a double LP on Taiga Records. The subsequent summer consisted of well over 100 hours of listening on my part along side DXArts technical wizard Michael McCrea who himself has between 150 and 200 hours of listening and editing in this multifaceted project.

In the process of both performing and recording as a member of DLB I found myself exclaiming, "I am hearing spherically." DXArts' elegant Meyer Sound Surround System was phenomenal with its eight loudspeakers and four subwoofers surrounding the Band and audience. I was hearing the sound ambisonically as it came from above and below me as well as all around me.

Capturing the ambisonic effect on stereo would seem to be impossible, but there are hints of this in these recordings depending on both how the recordings are edited and the playback system. During my listening I was astonished at McCrea's ability to not only "incorporate" a small measure of ambisonic sound in stereo but also how he would "deconstruct" the recordings in order to improve instrument balances and sonic spectrum uniformity.

- Michael McCrea, Recording/Mixing statement

From the moment that the Deep Listening Band first sent sound ricocheting through Town Hall, through every corner and aisle and up into the dome, it was clear that capturing the auditory scene around me would be a compelling endeavor. With no small amount of trial and imagination, we set the microphones throughout the hall. We needed to listen from every direction, as the audience would, while the acoustic space constantly shifted – expanding, multiplying and resounding according to the whim and will of the DLB and their unseen collaborator, the EIS. Indeed everyone in the hall on the evening of the public concert heard their own unique performance resulting from their place and presence in the sound-field that night.

The task of re-presenting this continuum of sonic volumes and fleeting spatial environments was an elusive one! Hours of listening with Stuart would leave me absorbed by the sheer richness and breadth of sounds. Solo'ing particular microphones, or even specific frequency bands would reveal countless hidden performances and new directions. After local adjustments to one sound source or another we would re-emerge to the main mix and find ourselves in yet another world of sound, captivating and foreign despite numerous previous listenings. I would ask Stuart to remind me, "How many performers were playing that night? Oh yes, just three..."

David Gamper joined Deep Listening Band (DLB) in 1991 and helped develop the Expanded Instrument System (EIS) and, with Pauline Oliveros, wrote two papers together about EIS. David's musicality and technical skill were a core part of DLB's music making and DLB recorded several DLB CDs in David's Kingston studio including Deep Time and Sanctuary. Subsequently DLB toured nationally in many parts of the world including Canary Islands, Europe, and Japan.

Our last time with David as a member of DLB was a marvelous weeklong residency at Town Hall Seattle. We were treated to a week of expert technical support from University of Washington's DXArts, and also major assistance from UW's School of Music. For the first time in our long history together David was freed up from serving as technical supporter of DLB as well as performer. All we had to do was come in each day and play and thus the recordings we made seemed to reach a pinnacle of our performances. We three strongly felt that together. It is all the more tragic that we will never perform in this way again, and we miss him terribly.

Pauline Oliveros
Kingston NY
November 2011

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