Quartet without Pyramid Scheme

  • Location:
    New York

Diapason gallery for sound and intermedia

882 Third Avenue (between 32nd and 33rd Street)
10th Floor
Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Info: 718.499.5070 | www.diapasongallery.org

Subway: D, N, R to 36th Street/4th Avenue
Bus: 35, 37, 63, 70

Quartet without Pyramid Scheme

a hybrid installation/improvisation by:
Jordan Topiel Paul
Eric Laska
Reed Evan Rosenberg
& Richard Kamerman

Saturdays, September 5, 12, 19 and 26
2 - 8PM

Quartet Without Pyramid Scheme is a month-long collaborative project whose sound content will continually change over its duration. An experiment in compositional and improvisational time scales and form, the piece will occupy both rooms at Diapason.

The foundation for the piece is a Max/MSP playback program that plays several samples at once over a multi-channel system, randomizing many of the samples’ sound parameters (temporal and spatial position, relative volume, start/stop, playback speed, etc.). The output, a sum of these overlapping, looping samples, is a continuous sound environment that never repeats despite a relatively limited bank of recorded samples. This enables the raw sound materials to be heard in an ongoing and unplanned arrangement.

The initial samples for the piece were recorded from three sources: a CD player in use, a water boiler, and the internal noise of a malfunctioning audio cable. These home field recordings were all taken from Jordan’s Queens basement over the course of two nights. Without editing, processing, or embellishing these samples, they are excerpted and looped in the playback program described above. The piece’s first week will feature these sounds in both rooms at Diapason.

The piece’s director for the second week, Eric Laska, will record several new samples and integrate them into the existing system over the course of that week. Some of these samples will replace previous ones, while others will be added to the sample bank. The samples will all adhere roughly to the theme of found sound, noise, and field or home recording. They will be similarly unprocessed and unedited, but the choice of which samples to use, which to replace, and when to do the recording and replacing are up to Laska.

Reed Rosenberg and Richard Kamerman will curate the third and fourth weeks, respectively. Similarly, each will record new samples and integrate them into the installation. The sound at any time will be the product of this serial collaboration, something between long-term improvisation and curation. By the end of the piece, the sounds in the gallery room will reflect a month-long temporal layering of each of our artistic perspectives and personal sonic experiences, one atop another.

The lounge segment of the installation will differ slightly: While the curation of the 8-channel gallery segment is strictly serial, the 12-channel lounge sample bank may be altered by any of us whose week has already come. For example, on the third week, Rosenberg will have exclusive control of the gallery’s samples, while he will potentially share control of the lounge’s samples with Laska and Paul. During the fourth week, any of us may make changes to the lounge’s sample bank over the course of the day.


About Diapason:

Diapason is a non-profit performance and exhibition space for sound and intermedia. As the sole project of its kind, Diapason provides a space for the public, artists and composers to engage with contemporary music and sound practices through two listening environments, a gallery and a lounge, with two advanced multi-channel sound systems. Established in 2001 by composer Michael J. Schumacher and choreographer Liz Gerring, Diapason continues the tradition of Studio Five Beekman, a sound gallery Schumacher founded in 1996, fostering experimentation and providing a forum for unique sound practices.

Diapason is supported by New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Meet the Composer, Experimental Television Center, Kirk Radke, and generous donations from individuals. Diapason is a registered 501©(3) organization.