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Alien Bog/Beautiful Soop

In Review

Alien Bog/Beautiful Soop
Pauline Oliveros

Pogus Productions P-21012-2 (1966-67)

5 ii 1998

Oliveros picture
Photo courtesy of the Center for Contemporary Music Archives, Mills College. The publisher is Pogus Productions. Layout of the cover was done by Matthew Schickele.

Pauline Oliveros (b.1932) - composer, improvisor, accordionist, and creative listener - is acknowledged world-wide for her pioneering efforts as a musician, teacher and meditative artist. Often, however, her importance as a principal founder of American electroacoustic music is eclipsed by her considerable success as proponent and developer of The Sonic Meditations (c. 1970-74), a series of interactive pieces intended to encourage focused listening and cooperative musicianship among group members, and an active awareness of the sonic possibilities inherent in our environment. With the formation of the Deep Listening Band in 1988, Oliveros has effectively combined the contemplative aesthetic of the Meditations with her considerable creative knowledge and abilities in the electroacoustic medium in a series of recordings including Troglodyte's Delight (1990), The Ready Made Boomerang (1991) and Tosca Salad (1995). The success of the Band and their concerts of all-encompassing sonic events utilizing a sophisticated coupling of digital delay systems and the natural acoustics of the performance space have served to generate a great amount interest and study of one of the first Americans to incorporate music technology in her creative repertoire.

Bye Bye Butterfly

The release of Alien Bog (1967 - 33:15) and Beautiful Soop (1966 - 27:49) on this remarkable historical compact disc from Pogus Productions provides a valuable resource for composers and scholars searching for the roots of American electroacoustic creativity. Until its release, the earliest Oliveros works available were her Bye Bye Butterfly (1965) and I of IV (1966), both of which utilize similar technology to the pieces presented in this new recording. Created with Don Buchla's 100 series analog synthesizer built for the Mills College Tape Music center (founded in 1966 by Oliveros) and a self-developed tape delay system, both Alien Bog and Beautiful Soop illustrate facets of the composer's aesthetic which continue in her music today. For Alien Bog, Oliveros used the Buchla to synthetically evoke and amplify the natural sonic ambience of a frog pond existing outside the window of the original Mills College studios. In a quote from Oliveros found within the cd program notes, she remarks upon the influence of the frogs' music upon her work, acknowledging the early manifestation of the environmental awareness characterizing her entire catalog of compositions. Beautiful Soop, an interesting mix of synthesized sounds and quotes from Lewis Carroll poetry and other sources, provides an excellent example of the composer's fascination and effective experimentation with tape delay techniques and the careful placing of musical information within the stereo space. After more than thirty years the practice and perfection of the aesthetic principles and concerns first outlined in these pieces continues in the new work of the Deep Listening Band and illustrates Oliveros' strength as a technically savvy composer who has not lost sight of her creative purpose.

An excerpt of Alien Bog was released on Music From Mills - a recording produced by David Rosenboom - in 1986. However, this new cd marks the work's first full-length presentation as well as the premiere release of Beautiful Soop. Though taken from the original tapes, the recordings are of excellent fidelity with only a few "hisses and clicks" evident in Beautiful Soop. Definitely a necessary item in any scholarly collection of electroacoustic music!

Pogus Productions
P.O. Box 1956
Van Brunt Station
Brooklyn, NY 11215-0022

Pauline Oliveros Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 150022
Kingston, NY 12402

Selected Electroacoustic Works and Recordings by Pauline Oliveros

A companion CD to Alien Bog/Beautiful Soop: - Pauline Oliveros Electronic Works. Paradigm Discs PD 04.

Aga. Voice, concertina, whistle conch, trumpet, electronics, and digital delay. 1984.
Alien Bog. Tape. Recorded on Pogus Productions CD P-21012. 1967.
AOK. Chorus, accordion, violins, conductors, eight country fiddles, tape. 1969.
Apple Box Concert. Performers and amplified apple boxes. 1964.
Beautiful Soop. Tape. Recorded on Pogus Productions CD P-21012. 1966.
Before the Music Ends. Dancer and tape. 1965.
Big Mother is Watching You. Tape. 1966.
Bog Road with Bird Call Patch. Tape. 1970.
Bye Bye Butterfly. Tape. Recorded on New Music for Electronic and Recorded Media. 1750 Arch Records LP 1765, 1977. CRI CD 113. 1997.
The C(s) for Once. Voice, flutes, trumpets, tape delay. 1966.
Crone Music (with Paniotis). 1989. Recorded on Lovely Music LCD 1903.
The Day I Disconnected the Erase Head and Forgot to Reconnect It. Tape. 1966.
Deep Listening. Deep Listening Band. 1989. Recorded on New Albion NACD 022.
Double Basses at Twenty Paces. Two double basses, tape, slides, conductor and referee. 1968.
5000 Miles. Tape. 1965.
In Memorium Nikola Tesla, Cosmic Engineer. Tape. 1969.
Jar Piece. Recorded on Electronic Essays. Marathon Music MS2111.
Legend. Amplified accordion, chorus and percussion. 1985.
Lion's Tale, Vocal Chords, and A Robert Johnson Sampler. Tape. 1990. Recorded on CDCM Computer Music Series vol. 7. Centaur CRC 2047.
Listening for Life. Tape. 1991.
Live Electronic Piece for Merce Cunningham's Dance. 1969.
Mnemonics III, IV, and V. Tape. 1965.
Oh Sister whose Name is Goddess. Voice and digital delay. 1984.
I of IV. Tape. 1966. Recorded on Music of Our Time: New Sounds in Electronic Music. Odyssey LP 32 16 0160. There is also I, II, III and V of IV.
Participle Dangling in Honor of Gertrude Stein. Tape, mobile and work crew. 1968.
Pauline Oliveros and American Voices. Electronically-processed accordion and vocal ensemble. 1994. Recorded on Mode 40.
Pauline Oliveros: Accordion and Voice. Recorded on Lovely Music VR 1901.
Pieces of Eight. Wind octet and tape. 1965.
The Ready Made Boomerang. Deep Listening Band. 1991. Recorded on New Albion CD 44.
Rock Symphony. Tape. 1965.
The Roots of the Moment. Accordion and interactive electronic sound environment. 1988. Recorded on HatArt CD 6009.
Sanctuary. Deep Listening Band. 1994. Recorded on Mode CD 46.
Seven Passages. Dancer, mobile, and two channel tape. 1963.
The Seventh Mansion from the Interior Castle. Amplified and processed accordion. 1983.
Talking Bottles and Bones. Voice, effects and digital delay. 1984.
Theater Piece for Trombone Player. Garden hoses and tape. 1966.
Time Perspectives. Tape. 1961.
Time Piece (with Fanny Green). Vocals with electronics. 1993. Recorded on Minimall. Tellus CD 27.
Tosca Salad. Deep Listening Band. 1995.
Trogolodyte's Delight. Deep Listening Band. 1990. Recorded on ?What Next? CD 0003.
Valentine for SAG. Four card players and amplified sound. 1968.
The Wanderer. Electronically-processed accordions. 1982. Recorded on Lovely Music VR 1902.
The Wandering: A Love Song. Voice and digital delay. 1983.
The Well and the Gentle. Electronically-processed accordion. Recorded on HatArt 2020.
Winter Light. Tape, mobile, figure. 1965.

Selected Bibliography

Duckworth, William. Talking Music. New York: Schirmer Books, 1995 pp. 159-178

Evans, Allen. "Deep Listening." Fanfare. 5/1/92.

LaPage, Jane Weiner. Women Composers, Conductors, and Musicians of the Twentieth Century. Volume 1. Metuchen, New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1980-88.

Oliveros, Pauline. "Acoustic and Virtual Space as a Dynamic Element of Music." Leonardo Music Journal. Volume 5, 1995. pp. 19-22.
---------- and Panaiotis. "Expanded Instrument System." Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference . San Jose, CA: ICMA, 1992.
---------- Software for People. Smith Publications 1983
---------- "Some Sound Observations." Source #3. p. 77.
---------- "Sonic Meditations." Source. #10. p. 103.
---------- "Tape Delay Techniques for Electronic Music Composition." Composer. December 1969.

Pasler, Jann. "An Interview with Pauline Oliveros." AWC News/Forum Spring 1991.

Taylor, Timothy D. "The Gendered Construction of the Musical Self: ....." Musical Quarterly. Fall 1993.

Von Gunden, Heidi. The Music of Pauline Oliveros. Metuchen NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1983.

Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner — Affirmation

Abstracts of articles by the author are available at:

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