int017 | Michael Pisaro | Mind is Moving IX

Michael Pisaro
Mind is Moving IX (performed by Denis Sorokin)


digisleeve, insert | edition of 200
15 October 2015

SOLD OUT at Intonema

Intonema с гордостью заявляет: впервые в России на компакт-диске вышел альбом композитора из сообщества  Wandelweiser! В апреле 2013-го года на фестивале "Тени Звука" состоялась российская премьера сочинения Майкла Пизаро "Mind is Moving IX", которое исполнил Денис Сорокин. C тех пор мы вели подготовку релиза: сделали несколько записей в разных пространствах, слушали и обсуждали детали с композитором и исполнителем. В 2015-м году работа вышла на финальную стадию, и в июне была записана версия, которая и представлена слушателям на альбоме. Филигранная работа Майкла Пизаро по размещению звуков электро-гитары, радио, камней и свиста в тишине прекрасно сыграна Денисом Сорокиным и записана Ильёй Белоруковым

Intonema is proud to present the first CD release of an album by a Wandelweiser composer in Russia! In April 2013 Denis Sorokin played Michael Pisaro’s “Mind Is Moving IX” at the Teni Zvuka Festival which became its Russian premiere performance. Since that time we have been working on the release, we made several recordings in different spaces, listened and discussed all the details with the composer and the performer. In 2015 we entered the final stage when in June we recorded the version which you can listen to on this album. Michael Pisaro’s delicate and precise placement of sounds of guitar, radio, stones and whistling in silence was wonderfully rendered by Denis Sorokin and recorded by Ilia Belorukov.

Michael Pisaro: composition
Denis Sorokin: electric guitar, radio, stones, whistling

Video from the concert on 27 April 2013 at Teni Zvuka Festival:

Рецензии / Reviews:
"I'm thinking I had to have previously encountered the zen source of the Pisaro title, but perhaps not: Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving. I believe I've heard numbers 1-5 in this series, though only in one reading each. Here, Sorokin is mostly heard on electric guitar, though he also makes use of radio, stones and whistling. To make an obvious point, the successful realization of Pisaro's scores rests squarely and with unusual weight on the shoulders of the performer, perhaps more so when the composer isn't present. I'm not familiar with this score but presume that it's one where the instrumentalist has a choice of sounds to make over a given period. The nature of the sounds, their duration, dynamics and, crucially, their placement in the time-field is to some extent at least, up to him/her. Extended silence is an almost necessary outcome, as it is here--or near-silence as amp hum and perhaps room ambience are easily discernible. Determining for oneself how well the work was realized is perhaps even more subjective than usual. I find Sorokin's choices decent enough if, somehow, not quite as incisive as I want to hear. Maybe it's the tone of the guitar, its relative forthrightness that I'd rather have somewhat muted (though, certainly, for all I know, some of this may have been indicated in the score and the "fault", such as it is, lies with Pisaro). Often, when hearing/seeing Pisaro himself performing his music, I find that the electric guitar is a little intrusive; a problem for my ears, not necessarily for other listeners (my mind needs to move more, maybe), and this recording should definitely be heard by anyone with an interest in this area of music. It's a good recording even if I'm curious to hear the piece realized by someone along the lines of Cristián Alvear. "
(Brian Olewnick, Just Outside)
"Something of a go-to for less voluble composers, guitarist Denis Sorokin facilitates a recent work by another of the Wandelweiser composers, Michael Pisaro, for the novel combination of electric guitar, radio, stones and whistling. No prizes for naming the other, unnamed ingredient as silence (or a recorded approximation of) in immodest volume. The piece was refined in performances over two years (2013 to 2015) before being deemed medically fit for recording, in which: you’ve guessed it, the instruments/sound sources are addressed only sporadically between far lengthier and more considered pauses.

That the hapless listener might come unstuck is occasioned by the fact that the performer’s means of interpretation and the composer’s means of evaluation are equally nebulous. At what point is the performance deemed ‘acceptable’ and how is the listener to know when the standard has (not) been met? When the form of the piece stands so readily to baffle, it is difficult to gauge and this much is neither divulged nor easily relatable. However, one senses such judgements rely at least partially on attaining the ‘Goldilocks’ balance between pause and play that ‘the listener’ stops wondering whether the piece is contiguous and/or continuing. Reaching this sweet spot presumably necessitated a good deal of fine tuning of both composition and intuition.

Thus, the recording takes its place in Pisaro’s ever-satisfying catalogue, alongside fine companions such as 2016’s Melody, Silence by Cristián Alvear. Along with the Stefan Thut CD, it also brings further respectability to the Russian label Intonema, based in St Petersburg, where many of these performances are recorded. Limited edition run, needless to say."

(Gunter Heidegger, The Sound Projector)

"Le prime otto parti della serie “Mind Is Moving”, furono scritte dal chitarrista/compositore statunitense Michael Pisaro fra il 1995 e il 1996.
La serie inizialmente concepita per strumenti acustici, rimesta tra sfumature tonali, risonanze e ampie zone di silenzio.
Poi, l'acquisto di una nuova chitarra elettrica e l'incontro/azione col contrabbassista inglese Dominic Lash nel 2011 (impegnato a New York nell'esecuzione di “Mind Is Moving IV”), han fatto rispolverare, ampliare e chiudere una serie di suggestioni accantonate dall'autore tempo addietro.
Il risultato è “Mind Is Moving IX”, composizione oggi interpretata (dopo un lungo periodo di studio), dal chitarrista russo Denis Sorokin.
Chitarra elettrica, intromissioni discrete di crepitanti onde radio, qualche fischiettamento, placide distese silenti.
Semplicità, astrazione, corde sensibili e tempo diluito.
Un flusso di tiepide movenze, cristalline e non invasive più qualche increspatura dell'orizzonte appena accennata.
Questo più o meno quel che troverete da queste parti (un giardino zen Cage / Feldman dai colori ben definiti).
S'inserisce senza attrito nell'ambiente circostante e regala notevole appagamento nell'immersione profonda.
Funziona, rimbalza leggero e non si rompe."

(Marco Carcasi, Kathodik)

"From the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries Western aesthetics were founded upon a fraught consensus of taste. The romantic understanding of art that was naturalistic and intuitive became, strangely, a social agreement on what constituted a sufficiently congruent analogy to its subject. This was a question of subjective judgement, which brought with it a greatly increased risk of failure.
Those old romantic notions still pervade contemporary culture, possibly more so in music than any other art form. There are, however, some composers who work in engagement with these ideas – this is different from accepting them or submitting to them. Back in March I heard Reinier van Houdt play two piano pieces: Walter Marchetti’s Per la mano sinistra and Michael Pisaro’s Green Hour, Grey Future. Both works are long and make use of pauses, isolated chords, notes, brief fragments. After a while, you think there may be some repetition or recapitulation at work, probably. The scale of the work and the dynamics recall late Feldman, but there’s none of Feldman’s patterning or obvious sectional movement. In this respect each composer seems to have allowed themselves more freedom to wander, and possibly extended this to the performer, too.
The Marchetti piece meanders purposefully, a soft-spoken but poignant monologue. The Pisaro piece isolates individual piano sounds, using silence as their context. In fact, both works are accompanied: the Pisaro with electronic tones that colour and shadow the piano, the Marchetti by an umbrella, held in the pianist’s left hand throughout, leaving only the right free to play.
When isolated sounds are separated so far by silence, how do you know that it’s music? I’ve been listening to another solo piece by Pisaro, Mind is Moving IX for electric guitarist. This is another recent release on the Intonema label, which I wrote about a little while ago. Recording this piece was a two-year process: “we made several recordings in different spaces, listened and discussed all the details with the composer and the performer” before capturing the final version released on this CD.
Without an independent electronic part, Mind is Moving IX sounds even more sparse and austere, to the point of breaking up any sense of musical continuity. Single, separated notes of various length; towards the end a descending sequence of intervals becomes a major development. Occasionally there is a long tone on bowed guitar or, in contrast, the guitarist whistling, or static from a small radio. There is a clicking of stones at certain points. Each element seems to appear more than once during the piece, suggesting some faint traces of an overall shape.
As suggested above, the piece depends heavily on how it is interpreted and performed. Those “details” that were discussed, on what did they depend? The sense of timing becomes critical. The qualities needed to make the piece succeed are the same that can make it fail: we’re back into the realm of taste. With a reliance on personal judgement, the challenge becomes immense. You can hope that you’re immersing yourself in the nature of the music, away from aesthetic second-guessing, but always have the fear that your interpretation is a more or less accurate approximation of aesthetic decisions previously heard in other music. In this recording, Denis Sorokin’s performance seems as finely nuanced as you could hope for, with a sufficiently dispassionate seriousness."

(Ben Harper, Boring Like A Drill

"Michael Pisaros Komposition Mind is moving ix ist das neunte Stück einer Serie, die ihn zwischen 1995 und 1996 beschäftigte. Ihm ging es dabei um das Erforschen von Obertönen und Resonanzeigenschaften bestimmter Instrumente, darunter Oboe, Trompete oder klassische Gitarre. Während dieser Zeit entstanden Skizzen für das neunte Stück der Serie, dieses Mal für E-Gitarre, das aber von Pisaro erst 2011 anlässlich eines Duo-Konzerts mit dem Kontrabassisten Dominic Lash in New York fertiggestellt wurde. Diese 15-jährige Pause veränderte vieles, was Pisaro als besonders reizvoll empfand. Er verlieh der Komposition eine klare Form und Melodien, beeinflusst durch sein Stück melody, silence (vgl. dazu freiStil #64), das im selben Jahr entstand. Als zusätzliche Klangquelle fügte er Radiorauschen hinzu, das als Referenz an Keith Rowe zu verstehen ist. Durch die Zusammenarbeit mit dem Gitarristen Denis Sorokin, dem Interpreten dieser CD, erfolgten weitere kompositorische Veränderungen; die Endversion ist nun auf dieser Veröffentlichung in fast einem Take zu hören. Wie schon oben beschrieben, dominieren kleine Melodien; die Musik ist sehr greifbar und nicht allzu abstrakt. Sorokin spielt mit großer Sorgfalt auf seinem Instrument, pure E-Gitarren-Klänge ohne Hall oder sonstige Effekte, die durch Pfeifen, Steine und eben Radiorauschen (die schönsten Stellen!!) ergänzt werden. Je länger man sich dem fast 50-minütigen Stück widmet, umso mehr wird man in die feine Klangwelt hineingezogen und überrascht durch deren Vielfalt und Schönheit."
(Katrin Hauk, freistil 65)

"As it reaches the fifth anniversary of its first release, it seems a fitting time to reflect on how Intonema is progressing. Initially, the label attracted attention because it was based in St. Petersburg, on Russian soil, a novelty at the time. The early releases on the label featured Russian-based musicians, including the Intonema proprietors saxophonist Ilia Belorukov and bass guitarist Mikhail Ershov. Gradually the roster became more international, so that the third and fourth Intonema releases featured no Russian musicians—Axon (2011), by the Franco-German duo Myelin, and Concret (2012), by the Iberian trio Atolón. The expansion of the label's horizons has continued apace, but Intonema has still continued to feature an impressive array of Russian improvisers. And whatever the musicians' nationality, the quality of the label's releases remains high—as is evident in the three latest releases...

Mind is Moving IX is a milestone release for Intonema, as it is the first Russian CD released by a Wandelweiser composer, namely Michael Pisaro. Its story begins in April 2013 when guitarist Denis Sorokin—a St. Petersburg native—performed the Russian premiere of Pisaro's "Mind is Moving IX" at the city's Teni Zvuka festival. After that, Intonema made several recordings of the piece in a variety of spaces, listened to them and discussed them with both Pisaro and Sorokin. Finally, in June 2015, the version that is featured on the released CD was recorded. After all the time and effort that was invested in this music, it is a pleasure to report that the version that has been released is a gem.

Listening to the finished article, it is easy to understand how previous versions might have been deemed unacceptable. As with other Pisaro compositions, the placement of every sound—including guitar, radio, stones, whistles—is crucial to the success of the whole; one wrongly placed sound could be grounds for rejection or, in concert, one extraneous sound could spoil an otherwise acceptable recording. It seems analogous to building a house of cards—one out of place can bring the whole thing tumbling down!

The version here is a fine addition to Pisaro's discography, as it is textbook Wandelweiser, with carefully considered use of silence and every sound being heard from start to end so it can be properly savoured. The comparison of this disc with Rotonda, above, is fascinating as both employ silence to stunning effect, but Pisaro's silences sound planned and controlled while on Rotonda they just seem to happen, but still feel right. Neither is "better," they just represent different ways of working.

Bravo, Intonema. Here's to the next five years...  "

(John Eyles, All About Jazz)

"Plus radical encore, plus jusqu'auboutiste dans son rapport au silence, la composition de Michael Pisaro explore de façon millimétrée les harmoniques et les résonances de la guitare électrique au travers de nappes de silence. Il reprend en cela les huit premières expérimentations qu'il avait lui-même concoctées vingt ans auparavant avec sa série de « Mind is Moving » (1995-1996). Denis Sorokin en est ici l'interprète (à la guitare électrique, sifflement et radio). Procédant par touches infinitésimales, ce dernier sème de rares éclats de sons dans un non-bruit persistant, illumine par quelques gouttes sonores une œuvre particulièrement décharnée, et qui surgissent alors comme une maigre pluie dans le désert."
(Mark Sarrazy, Improjazz)

"The Wandelweiser group is a (loose) collective of composers, who deal with very quiet music. Michael Pisaro is one of them. In many of his pieces silence plays an important role, but it's not exclusively about that. 'Mind Is Moving' had already  eight pieces, which were already composed between 1995 and 1996, and they were for various instruments (classical guitar, four classical bowed instruments, voice, oboe and trumpet). These pieces were exploring overtones and resonance. The ninth  was already sketched back then, for electric guitar, but first completed in 2011. As a small tribute to Keith Rowe there is also the use of radio sounds, stones and whistling. Denis Sorokin, with whom Pisaro also made some changes to the piece, which was recorded in St. Petersburg, performs it on this disc. This lasts some forty-two minutes and it is indeed a very quiet work, but unlike the work of some of his peers, one doesn't have to turn up the volume. Everything happens with refined slowness. A pluck on a string, quietness, sustaining sounds from amplification and a bit of radio, followed again by silence. A series of short sounds on various strings, followed by some feedback and, as always, more silence. This is all very contemplative music; there is nothing in here to offend the casual listener. This is music one plays for its sheer beauty; at least that's what I did. A grey day, coffee within reach, a great book on music and this CD on repeat for at least three times. There are worse things in life!"
(Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly

"Лейбл Intonema и его осенний релиз с композицией американца Майкла Пизаро (Michael Pisaro), одного из участников сообщества Wandelweiser. Специально написанная композитором версия “mind is moving (ix)” была впервые сыграна Денисом Сорокиным на фестивале «Тени Звука» в 2013 году, и данный релиз является результатом двухлетней работы музыканта над исполнением этой пьесы, процесса звукозаписи и отслушивания материала. Структурно Пизаро выдержал себя же двадцатью годами раньше, другой вопрос: как и зачем? Написанную для акустической гитары “mind is moving (i)” и переосмысленную для электрогитары, радио и объектов композицию соединяет общее название, однако разделяет нечто большее. Возможно, эти различия проявляются в большей (в сравнении с предыдущими восемью пьесами) устойчивости, или даже попытке синтеза различных элементов, каждый из которых может иметь свой отдельный линк. Денис Сорокин играет прицельно, намеренно, верно, громко (mf), местами даже драйвово. Безусловно, это не самый привычный формат исполнения музыки Wandelweiser, но весьма убедительный. И эта убедительность сперва взвинчивает. Единственный по-настоящему «человечный» здесь элемент — это свист; в такой момент ты понимаешь, что исполнитель шероховат в своём неровном дыхании, плавающей интонации, и это играет как контрастный элемент на фоне уверенной аскезы общего звука. Резюмируя, могу сказать, что для меня это новый и неожиданный опыт слушания. В пизаровских композициях мне более интересна хрупкость, неустойчивость, запустение, намеренная недосказанность. Здесь же вместо вопроса слышится утверждение, матёрость. Подобный эффект наталкивает на внутренние границы восприятия, механизмы ожидания, провоцируя самому задавать себе вопросы."
(Юрий Акбалькан, Современная Музыка)