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Site of Composer and Artist Elodie Lauten
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NEW CD RELEASE
CD Release: INSCAPES FROM EXILE
Label: New Tone
For US review copies please Email ElodiL010@aol.com or contact Elodie Lauten
directly by phone at 212-388-0202
INSCAPES FROM EXILE is a concept album, an electronic composition inspired by
the history, myths and legends of New Mexico. The pieces were composed in
1994-95 in Albuquerque and Lauten perceived this two-year period as a double
exile, from her place of birth, Paris and her home of adoption, New York.
The music is drone-based - a postminimalist starting point - but what makes it
different is the microtonality of its electronic layers. Microtonality is
defined as the use of any tuning/temperament other than the standard
A=440/equal temperament. The electronic synthesis process includes several
types of custom tunings, building rich textures of simultaneous layers. Again,
like in TRONIK INVOLUTIONS, Lauten's previous release, no sequencing takes
place. Everything is played live, including the spinning 'Barbie's Fugue
State'. As a keyboardist, Lauten focuses her art, beyond synthesis, in the
playing of the electronic sounds. In most programs used in this work, the
amount of pressure applied to the keys triggers slightly different tonal
colors (aftertouch) and she is adept at playing the sound from within, letting
it trigger an almost organic development of its own characteristics. Lauten
was called "the mistress of electronics" (New Hope International, London) and
was voted #1 keyboardist in a recent Internet poll (Green Dolphin, April 98).
The music on this CD was described as "expanded contrapuntal freedom, couched
in unearthly timbres, creating a fluid feeling of stationary motion, hovering
busily in space." (Kyle Gann, The Village Voice, review of a performance at
Experimental Intermedia, New York).
INSCAPES is a new age landscape music, it is rather a musical journey, a kind
of electronic "On The Road', but as usual with Lauten's work there is a sub-
text: it is an existential journey more than a physical one, an exploration of
inner more than outer reality. There are three levels of exploration: the
physical experience of a place (passive), the mental experience connected with
it (receptive), and the instrospection triggered by the experience (active).
This approach is expressed in the poem THREE RED DOTS (on the CD booklet),
preceding the last piece, UNKNOWN PRESENCE AT THE MESA
The first piece, GUSTY WINDS MAY EXIST, is named after an oddly poetic road
sign often seen on the highways. A long car ride through barren vistas in the
unavoidable prelude to any experience in New Mexico. The focus is on the
unseen. In the desert or tundra, one is faced with an almost extra-terrestial
reality. The horizon displays itself so widely, opening to space and infinity,
and there is a sense of unexplained presence, the nature of which can be left
to the imagination - is it the memories of long lost civilizations or
visitations of alien or spiritual origin?
The journey starts with Roswell. Here the sub text is the familiar so-called
Roswell incident. The story goes: a UFO crashed in Roswell with its alien
crew, and some of them may have been alive - all of which was denied by the US
Army, but the truth remains a mystery. This story triggers two movements:
CHANGING GRAVITY and CLEARLY IDENTIFIED FLOATING OBJECTS. The two "Barbie"
pieces, BARBIE'S ABDUCTION and BARBIE'S FUGUE STATE express opposite
viewpoints on alien abductions: on the one hand, some people believe they have
had an abduction experience which feels real to them; on the other hand, there
is a strong possibility that it is only a "fugue state" or amnesiac state in
which people temporarily lose track of where they were, why or who they are.
ORDINARY SPATIAL DISTANCE is about the melancholy of adjusting to ordinary
reality. The next stop on the journey, entitled QUANTESAURUS, recalls a visit
to the petroglyphs or prehistoric stone carvings on deserted hilltops of black
volcanic stone, which stand as witnesses of a lost world.
The journey continues through Hispanic pueblos with LOS IN LOS LUNAS. Two or
three houses as a restaurant, closed, with a sign on the door: hot food on
Tuesdays. Such sites bring on a feeling of exile in space and time, as if one
had suddenly and unwittingly been thrown into the past.
The song AT THE SUNDOWN, in memory of Geronimo, was given to the composer by a
Sioux soprano, Bonnie Jo Hunt, whom she met during sessions for the TBS
documentary THE NATIVE AMERICANS. The arrangement and lyrics are adapted from
an early 20th century transcription of the folk song.
The MESA piece was inspired by Chaco Canyon. Chaco is no tourist trap. You
have to ride through 25 miles of dirt road before getting to the kivas and
ruins of the ancient city, and at dusk it is particularly desolate. The site
itself, a very wide canyon carved into red cliffs, is of incredible beauty.
The whole experience is overwhelming.
Lauten felt a strong empathy with the Anasazi or "Ancient People". Their
presence exuded anger and sadness, a kind of continuous mourning for those who
have gone, as there are no more descendants of the Anasazi. In the music, this
feeling is expressed by the ghostly flute solo. The sound was created from a
series of samples of traditional Indian flute, played by ceremonial artist Ron
INSCAPES FROM EXILE is Elodie Lauten's 8th release. Elodie Lauten has
been described as a seminal figure, one of the leaders of the postminimalist
movement (20th Century American Music, Schirmer, 1997), "a force on the
experimental music scene" (Fanfare, Spring 98). Over the past 20 years
Lauten's various bodies of work - multimedia operas, sound installations,
electronic, piano and chamber music - have met critical acclaim in Europe
and North America. Recordings have been released by O.O. Discs, Nonsequitur,
Tellus, Point/Polygram, Lovely Music, Silenzio and New Tone. Lauten has
received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, Meet the
Composer, and commissions from Lincoln Center, the Soho Baroque Opera,
the Queen's Chamber Band, The Lark Ascending, Elinor Coleman Dance Company,
David Hockney, etc. A disciple of LaMonte Young and Sri Chinmoy, Lauten
has a Masters in Electronic Music Composition from New York University,
and has taught/lectured at the New School for Social Research, the Berklee
School of Music, Bucknell University, CUNY and New York University.
NEW CD RELEASE
CD THE TIME IS NOW
Label: Frog Peak Music
Collaboration with Melody Sumner Carnahan
Order from: Frog Peak Music, 52 Green St, Lebanon NH 03766 Tel: 603-448-8837
Frog Peak Music's web site
Melody Sumner Carnahan's cryptic, enigmatic fiction has found form in
collaboration with composers and musicians. The new CD release THE TIME IS NOW
on Frog Peak includes music by Elodie Lauten, Robert Ashley, Joan LaBarbara,
Steven Clark, Marghreta Cordero, Nick Didkovsky, Barbara Golden, Nessie
Lessons, Larry Polansky, Brian Reinbolt, Laetitia Sonami and Susan Stone.
Lauten's piece, ANSWER, from the DEUS EX MACHINA cycle, features soprano Mary
Hurlbut, mezzo-soprano Oreen Zeitlin and flutist Andrew Bolotowsky. The
recording was produced by John Schaefer for WNYC New Sounds.
- The Boston Visionary Cell Group Exhibition, October 28, 1998
- Federal Reserve Gallery, Boston
Installation/interactive performance: THE SOUNDLESS SOUND
- Knitting Factory, Monday November 9, 1998 at 9 PM
- Elodie Lauten performs INITIATION, an electronically interactive septet, with
sopranos Mery Hurlbut and Meredith Borden, flutist Andrew Bolotowsky,
violinist Juliann Klopotic, Jon Catler on electric guitar, Johnny Reinhard on
bassoon and Elodie Lauten on synthesizers/custom built intruments.
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