Ellen Band
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Canadian violinist and sound sculptor Ellen Band (1952, Toronto), who studied with Pauline Oliveros and David Rosenboom, belongs to the old school of musique concrete, but with a modern "deep-listening" approach. Her sound installations, such as Acoustic Mirage (1996) and Portrait of Ruth Klein (1998), focus on psychoacoustic phenomena (at "the boundary between aural reality and aural illusion").

The five sound collages collected on 90% Post Consumer Sound (XI, 2000) display a loving attitude towards ordinary life ("No sound is ordinary", in her own words). Railroad Gamelan (1992) and Closet Bird (1976) explore the mundane soundscape of railway signals, trains, chirping birds, etc. These apparently harmless (and lifeless) sounds are scrutinized, repeated, amplified, deformed, enhanced until they become something between nightmare and fantasy.
Radiatore (1998), the longest piece, delves into the psyche of negligible sounds that populate narrow niches of that soundscape. It ends up sounding like a population of small furrowing anymals, when, in reality, these are sounds of inert matter; the point being that inert matter is not so inert after all. Again, the noises grow in intensity until the "music" becomes threatening; then the process reverses itself and the noises lose their identity, merge into an anonymous hum, and eventually disappear. Band elicits the stream of consciousness of the world around us.
Minimally Tough (1997) is more of the same, but this time the sources are so "minimal" that the listener can't figure out what she's listening to.
In Swinging Sings (1992) is a hyper-dissonant violin duo: the shrill sounds of the instruments are repeated, overlapped and processed until they become a sort of horror soundtrack, ideal for Hitchcock's "Birds".

She also builds "sound portraits" of people.

Portal of Prayer (2004) was installed at Boston's international airport.

Two Ships (Pogus, 2005) is a collaboration between psychoacoustic sound sculptor Ellen Band and David Lee Myers, the guru of "feedback music" (bettern known as Arcane Device). The three-movement Valen Lagoon is emblematic of the level of chaos and intensity that the two can achieve. The end of the third movement is particularly jarring. The four-movement Cape Viqven is wildly different but, basically, more of the same. By its second movement, all coordinates have been confused, and the last two brief movements enjoy toying with extremely unpleasant sounds. By comparison, the five-movement Laventiya Bay is relatively quiet and ordered. The third movement indulges in strident "brakes on rail tracks" noises that test human hearing, but mostly this is a set of restrained experiments.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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