SOUND – a personal history

My work with sound as an artistic medium began in the early 1990’s when in my first ‘video art’ class – our first assignment was to compose the soundtrack of a video – to show how sound drives our perception of visuals.  This then paved the way for me to see sound as an authentic medium in which to explore ‘experience’ itself.  So – around this moment I identified myself as a ‘sound-artist’ – though I don’t have a formal interest in the subject as it is practiced today in the institutions.

Therefore – my work stems more from a raw, intuitive process – and not a formal academic one.  I have always used what ever tools I could find – without have a conceptual limitation.  I see each and every ‘tool’ to work with sound as an aspect of the process – from lo-fi to hi-fi – and all in between.  My self-taught approach has then sprung up from an organic array of inspirations that initially began from dialogs of networks of artists that I have been in touch with since the early 1990’s. This early network (pre-internet) emerged from my time working on N D magazine (will be uploading pdf copies of these soon). Then grew into ‘active networking’ based on my travels to Europe to meet other sound artists as well as present my works.

STOMACH OF THE SKY – my first ‘serious’ work developed from long-wire installations and field recordings

Here then is an over view of the ‘way I work’ – starting with my initial ‘industrial’ and/or ‘experimental’ approaches (roughly from the early 90’s until early 2001) – afterwards I began to get more ‘refined’ in as far as I wanted to express more of a precise state that would be created when listening attentively.  Concurrently I began to ‘improvise’ with found objects (creating a parallel world of live-electro-acoustic ‘sessions’) – this continued until starting to collaborate with KODAMA in 2004.

At that time, my focus shifted on to the fact that I have always been inspired by the avant guarde of the 1970’s so-called ‘psychedelic’ music as well as world folk musics.  This opening up to honestly looking at what was inspiring shifted my focus from the previous ‘industrial/dark’ emphasis to a maturing of my interest in the affect that the sound has on the attentive listener.  Wanting more to uplift and expand consciousness as opposed to vent mere frustrations or the creation of ‘spectacle’ in as far as novelty and ‘art’ is concerned.  I shared this exploration with friend and collaborator Hitoshi Kojo.

Soon after – and along with some radical life changes (moving across Europe with vague ideas of where I’d end up) – and a surprise residency in New Delhi – put me back onto the path of embodied reflection through a series of vipassana retreats, time spent in a Tibetan monastery as well as psychedelic experiences and explorations of voice via studies of Indian music – all subsequently shifted/refined my artistic intentions. Therefore beginning in 2006 up until now – my intentions working with sound have transformed to carefully unfold a particular fragile space for an attentive listener to reflect, process and be shown themselves through the reflective mirror/material of sound itself.

Then in the last seven years – a certain fundamental transformation has been helping me refine my somewhat ‘art-brute’ approach to yet another level. Moving to Berlin in 2009 – I soon after met Catherine Christer Hennix through Werner Durand and Amelia Cuni – at dinner that included Terry Riley among others. Soon after I began to work with her, helping her to set up some concerts and training a bit with voice and oscillator (she had me do tone-diaries to explore how I hear changes from moment to moment).  This was an extraordinary moment as my work with sound has been hard to ‘pin down’ as it were – and this connection helped me considerably to find a reference point.

Around 2011 – I felt that my life long fascination with the mysterious connections between space & time, landscape & psycho-geography, ‘eidetic’ experience of sound,  psychedelic/visionary/shamanistic and other altered states of consciousness and the basics of the nitty gritty of personal psychological work as well as the ephemeral and often ghetto-ized ‘spiritual’ work — came together finally in a form that showed me a particular direction.  From this moment I went away from the ‘art world’ and went to the forest of the Siskiyou hills to reflect.

Now, 2016 – I feel this life-art direction of SOUND as relevant as ever. And I feel grateful that I can trace my inner path/spirit through the various permutations ranging from half-crazed to precisely inspired works.  I then will begin sharing here reflections of past works, documents, anecdotes, memories and current sound diary entries.  Please do not hesitate to get in touch to join this mysterious and on going conversation.