The Squid's Ear Magazine


Winter, Michael : Approximating Omega (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Composer Michael Winter uses the "maximally complex, incomputable number" known as Chaitin's Constant, plus text adapted from Gregory Chaitin's 1994 book "The Limits Of Mathematics", samples from 36 creative musicians, the voice of Muirgen Eleonore Gourgues, plus cello from Judith Hamann and piano from Winters, to create this curious and compelling narrative work.
 

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Personnel:



Muirgen Eleonore Gourgues-voice

Judith Hamann-violoncello

Michael Winter-piano


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UPC: 4011778040941

Label: Edition Wandelweiser Records
Catalog ID: EWR 1718
Squidco Product Code: 25294

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: Germany
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded by Scott Cazan.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Approximating Omega: Text adapted from Gregory Chaitin's 1994 book The Limits Of Mathematics, with samples contributed by: Tomas Cabado, Raven Chacon, Yiannis Christofides, Alan Courtis, John Eagle, Carmina Escobar, Bryan Eubanks, Jacqueline George, Tom Johnson, David Kant, Aj Kluth, Ulrich Krieger, Juan Sebastian Lach Lau, Ingrid Lee, John Lely, Todd Lerew, Heather Lockie, Scott Mclaughlin, Ezequiel Menalled, Ian Mikyska, Pablo Riera, Dean Rosenthal, Karen Santana, James Saunders, Marcus Schmickler, Elliot Simpson, Mark So, Laura Steenberge, Adrian Tenney, Philip Thomas, Samuel Vriezen, Lucie Vitkova, Manfred Werder, Byron Westbrook, Michael Winter And Melike Yersiz Arranged By Aidan Reynolds And Michael Winter For Gregory Chaitin: a realization of a subset of 'omega' (or chaitin's constant): a maximally complex, incomputable number defined as the halting probability for some universal, prefix-free turing machine. the subset of omega used for this realization (given by the bit string on the cover) is presented in the 2002 article by Cristian Calude et al. entitled computing a glimpse of randomness."-Edition Wandelweiser Records



"If you look closely at the above image [CD disc], you'll see a lengthy binary string. This is a subset of a "maximally complex, incomputable number" known as Chaitin's Constant, or "omega", after the mathematician Gregory Chaitin. Michael Winter has used this string, in a manner far beyond my ability to comprehend, as a seed for his piece, "for gregory chaitin", one of two presented here.

The first piece, "approximating omega", runs over 33 minutes and is divided into two fairly equal halves. Underneath it all, there are samples from 36 musicians, many of whose names will be familiar to fans of new music (I even recognized one: a sliver of Tom Johnson's "The Chord Catalog" as played by Samuel Vriezen). Over this, in the first half of the piece, we hear the voice of Muirgen Éléonore Gourgues reading selections from a text by Chaikin, from his book, "The Limits of Mathematics". The text is a set of rules and definitions, not exactly repetitive but self-similar enough to achieve a level of overall sameness. It's spoken flatly, as if done for an audio book and also, to these ears, sounds ever so slightly enhanced or smoothed, generating something of an artificial tinge, though perhaps not. Its boundaries are also often clipped, blipping into existence from brief silences. The sounds beneath vary a good bit, maybe more electronic than otherwise, seeming to roughly correspond to the length of each text section or sentence. Also, somewhere down there, we might be hearing cellist Judith Hamann, who emerges clearly and suddenly during the work's second half. It's a welcome entry, as I was beginning to find the spoken part somewhat tedious. But suddenly, over metallic clangs and tinkles, there's a wonderfully rich bowed cello (or multiple celli, or some other sounds from somewhere) that entirely wash away the classroom and reveal a surging undercurrent, twining and coursing. It flows on with subtle variations (maybe some melodica action?) over shifting sets of metals and electronics, very beautiful, endlessly entrancing. Very much a yin/yang kind of composition.

Not having any idea of exactly how Chaitin's Constant was used in the other work, a solo piano piece with Winter at the keyboard, I can simply listen to the outcome and describe it. I say "solo piano" but there is definitely electronic involvement--the first bright, single note is struck and held, undiminished, for some five minutes, at which point it's joined by a much lower note that is allowed to decay naturally. Subsequent notes, apparently from a prepared piano and perhaps electronically modified themselves appear in a non-obvious pattern, though I suspect the binary array mentioned earlier has something to do with it. That initial note carries throughout and, after five minutes of those lower notes, once again exists as the sole component, a pure tone (although on headphones, my ears pick up subtle variations, maybe just artifacts of my system) that ends with an abrupt *plink*.

An intriguing work and an interesting album overall. I may not be 100% convinced by this particular usage of math-related material, but it's certainly worth a listen and generates curiosity on my part for hearing further work from Winter."-Brian Olewnick, Just Outside


Get additional information at Brian Olewnick's Just Outside

Artist Biographies

"Judith Hamann is an Australian-born cellist currently based between Melbourne and San Diego. Her performance practice stretches across various genres, encompassing elements of improvised, art, experimental, and popular music. Judith has studied contemporary repertoire with many cellists, including Charles Curtis and Séverine Ballon. She is developing a strong practice in improvisation through collaborative projects and performances, both in Australia and internationally, including Hammers Lake (with Carolyn Connors) and Golinski/Hamann/Dunscombe trio. She has worked with artists and ensembles, including Oren Ambarchi, ELISION Ensemble, Ellen Fullman, Graham Lambkin, Jon Rose, Not Yet It's Difficult, Ilan Volkov, and La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. Judith is a founding member of Golden Fur and one-half of the immersive duo project Cello II (with Anthea Caddy).

She has performed widely with festivals including Tectonics (Glasgow, Adelaide), UnSound (NYC), Adelaide Festival of Arts, Melbourne International Arts Festival, the Now Now (Sydney), Dark Mona (Hobart), Extremities: Japanese Australian Festival (Tokyo), Tokyo Experimental Festival, SiDance Festival (Seoul), Ausland Summer Festival (Berlin), and Liquid Architecture (Australia).

She is a champion of new and rarely performed music and immersive approaches to concert presentation and engages with a range of interdisciplinary and experimental projects, including the Amper&nd project (Korea/Australia) and collaborative work with the visual artists Keith Deverell and Sabina Marselli. She has worked with many composers directly in presenting their work, including Natasha Anderson, Richard Barrett, Wojtek Blecharz, David Chisholm, Marco Fusinato, Liza Lim, Anthony Pateras, Timothy McCormack and Tashi Wada."

-Bifem (http://www.bifem.com.au/2015/musicians/judith-hamann)
5/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Michael Winter is a composer, music theorist, and software designer. He co-founded and directs the wulf., a non-profit arts organization that presents music free to the public in los angeles. Michael is a firm believer in music making as an exploratory process and free information; e.g. open source code, free music, etc.."

"My work often explores simple processes where dynamic systems, situations, and settings are defined through minimal graphic- and text-based scores that can be realized in a variety of ways. To me, everything we experience is computable. Given this digital philosophy, I acknowledge even my most open works as algorithmic; and, while not always apparent on the surface of any given piece, the considerations of computability and epistemology are integral to my practice. I often reconcile epistemological limits with artistic practicality by considering and addressing the limits of computation from a musical and experiential vantage point and by collaborating with other artists, mathematicians, and scientists in order to integrate objects, ideas, and texts from various domains as structural elements in my pieces.

I have performed across the Americas and Europe at venues ranging in size from small basements to large museums to outdoor public spaces (some examples of more well known festivals and venues include REDCAT, Los Angeles; the Ostrava Festival of New Music; Tsonami Arte Sonoro Festival, Valparaiso; the Huddersfield New Music Festival; and Umbral Sesiones at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Oaxaca). In 2008, I co-founded the wulf., a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to experimental performance and art. As a laboratory and hub for exploring new ideas, the wulf. has become an experiment in alternative communities and economies. Similarly, my work subverts discriminatory conventions and hierarchies by exploring alternative forms of presentation and interaction."

-Michael Winter Website (http://www.unboundedpress.org/)
5/28/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Approximating Omega 33:24

2. For Gregory Chaitin 15:19

Related Categories of Interest:


Compositional Forms
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Trio Recordings
Unusual Vocal Forms
Spoken Word
Electro-Acoustic
New in Compositional Music

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Edition Wandelweiser Records.


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