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Pisaro's fascinating composition created with guitar, bass, percussion, radio, electronics, and field recordings, using long gaps of silence resolved through a dynamic set of rich audio sections.

Pisaro, Michael
The Punishment of the Tribe by its Elders

Pisaro, Michael: The Punishment of the Tribe by its Elders (Gravity Wave)
Label: Gravity Wave    
Released in: USA    

"The most convincing way to avoid reality is to lose yourself in the prickle of the field recording, as if it were bubble wrap. Here, technology chafes against a world of waves, pulses, and impacts, leaving to the ear and the imagination the task of estimating reality from scratch (at 12:35, a storm definitely begins, the mic singing along in feedback), or else abandoning that concern altogether and engaging in terms of what is only ever almost sound, and sound alone. To reduce the universe to the crepitations of a single, imaginary body is the dream of distortion at the heart of audio signal acquisition.

Passive scanning: I am part-microphone; I have record, playback, and on-the-fly edit functions. The phenomenological outcome of the recording process is the temporary spatial reorganization of subjectivity.

To avoid reality is to avoid silence, to play games with noise. This is how music sustains us; like cooking, it is both essential and a game (essentially a game), although we can't yet derive nutrition from its outcomes (but they can hasten our decrepitude).

There is no noise at the executive level of the institution, just the silence of endlessly multiplying networks of efficiency. Thence, the oppositional character of sound in general: even a rumbling stomach makes more noise than a statesman can bear to hear. It is ideological to suggest that power is a game, just as it is ideological to suggest that music is not.

I imagine spies wish listening would transform, become as immediate as distance. Their grueling trail of recordings and acquisitions would phase out and disappear from the field along with intimacy, which proceeds from the same partition that complicates the life of the spy.

Crash site
Listening and forgetting are related, an uneasy correspondence. We modulate our transmission/recording apparatus to suit the occasion, the occasion, that is, of any real or imagined interlocution. Whisper, and recall for a second that nobody is stopping the world from listening. Shout, and remember that there is nothing universal about your words; there is only the distance they have to travel to reach their destination.

"A little after midnight came a strange sound from over the sea, and high overhead the air began to carry a strange, faint, hollow booming." Dracula's boat will soon crash on Whitby beach. Strain or cover your ears: the signal is never entirely beyond your control."-Scott Reid, TinyMixTapes

"Michael Pisaro was born in Buffalo in 1961. He is a composer and guitarist, a member of the Wandelweiser Composers Ensemble and founder and director of the Experimental Music Workshop, Calarts. His work is frequently performed in the U.S. and in Europe, in music festivals and in many smaller venues. It has been selected twice by the ISCM jury for performance at World Music Days festivals (Copenhagen,1996; Manchester, 1998) and has also been part of festivals in Hong Kong (ICMC, 1998), Vienna (Wien Modern,1997), Aspen (1991), London (Cutting Edge, 2007), Glasgow (INSTAL 2009), Huddersfield (2009), Chicago (New Music Chicago, 1990, 1991) and elsewhere.

He has had extended composer residencies in Germany (Künstlerhof Schreyahn, Dortmund University), Switzerland (Forumclaque/Baden), Israel (Miskenot Sha'ananmim), Greece (EarTalk) and in the U.S. (Birch Creek Music Festival, Wisconsin). Concert length portraits of his music have been given in Munich, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, Vienna, Merano (Italy), Brussels, New York, Curitiba (Brazil), Amsterdam, London, Tokyo, Austin, Berlin, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Zürich, Cologne, Aarau (Switzerland), and elsewhere.

He is a Foundation for Contemporary Arts, 2005 and 2006 Grant Recipient. Much of his music of the last several years is published by Edition Wandelweiser (Germany). Several CDs of his work have been released by such labels as Edition Wandelweiser Records, Compost and Height, confront, Another Timbre, Cathnor, Nine Winds and others, including most recently "transparent city, volumes 1-4", "an unrhymed chord", "hearing metal 1", "A Wave and Waves" and "harmony series (11-16)".

His translation of poetry by Oswald Egger ("Room of Rumor") was published in 2004 by Green Integer. He is Co-Chair of Music Composition at the California Institute of the Arts near Los Angeles. He has performed many of his own works and those of close associates Antoine Beuger, Kunsu Shim, Jürg Frey and Manfred Werder, and works from the experimental tradition, especially John Cage, Christian Wolff, James Tenney and George Brecht."

-Wandelweiser (

Related Categories of Interest:

Compositional Forms
Field Recordings
Solo Artist Recordings
Electroacoustic Composition
Electronic Forms

Get additional information at Tiny Mix Tapes

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Price: $14.95
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Shipping Weight: 3.00 units

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Product Information:

Label: Gravity Wave
Catalog ID: GW 009
Squidco Product Code: 17334

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2013
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardstock Oversized Sleeve
Recorded by Michael Pisaro. Mastered by Joe Panzner.


Michael Pisaro-guitar, bass, percussion, radio, electronics, mixing

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Track Listing:

1. The Punishment of the Tribe by its Elders 57:20

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