The Squid's Ear Magazine

Pisaro, Michael: Sometimes (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

The MaDam Electroacoustic Improvisation Collective based in Spain performs the first in Pisaro's 34 piece Harmony Series, which attempts to create the conditions for a harmonic situation without giving any actual notes, just numbers, durations of tones, and pauses; this work is based on "swell piece (for alison knowles)" (1967) by James Tenney.

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product information:

UPC: 4011778040835

Label: Edition Wandelweiser Records
Catalog ID: EWR 1703
Squidco Product Code: 24168

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: Germany
Packaging: Cardstock 3 page foldover
Recorded at the Teatro Pradillo, in Madrid, Spain, on September 4th, 2013, by ēlvaro Barriuso .


Michael Pisaro-composer

Colectivo maDam-ensemble, performers

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"This piece was, as the title indicates, the first of the 34 pieces that would eventually become the harmony series. In this and all the other pieces in the series, i attempted to create the conditions for a harmonic situation without giving any actual notes. The main stimulus for this was swell piece (for alison knowles) (1967) by James Tenney (one of the postal pieces). I had reason to perform that piece several times in 2003/4 and marveled at how any group we assembled would find the "right" harmony without anything being said. So sometimes was the first piece i made that tried to do that: By specifying only numbers and durations of tones and the pauses between them. It is dedicated to Tenney."-Michael Pisaro

Artist Biographies

"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."

-Edition Wandelweiser (

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"The MaDam Collective is, in a way, a group dedicated to electroacoustic improvisation. Since its inception in 2011, and with musical improvisation (listening) as a starting point, maDam has explored nearby territories, such as composition and stage.

Electroacoustic improvisation

The MaDam Collective was born as a space for the exploration of musical improvisation in a group. Since its inception, MaDam has collaborated with an important sample of Spanish and foreign improvisers, among which we can highlight: Felipe Araya, Lali Barriere, Lucas Bolaño, Paloma Carrasco, Johnny Chang, Nilo Gallego, Antonia Funes, Miguel A. García, Rui Horta Santos, Jonah Girl, Dr. Kurogo, Alexander Markvart, Eugene Martynec, Wade Matthews, Mattin, Marcio Mattos, Abdul Moimême, Seijiro Murayama, Montserrat Palacios, Javier Pedreira, Marta Sainz, Enrique Zacagnini, etc. MaDam has a habitual presence in the main spaces dedicated to improvisation and experimental music (Cruce, Menosuno, Espacio Naranjo, La Tortuga, all of them in Madrid) and has taken part in centers such as La Casa Encendida, MNCARS, Matadero Madrid, Real Conservatorio Superior Of Madrid Music, Faena II, Alabanda Tavern, Yoga Center, Omnivorous Workshop, Habitar the line, etc.


From indeterminacy and freedom and with silence as a source, the MaDam Collective has prepared a long series of pieces, constituting, in most cases, premieres in Spain. For the preparation of the pieces, the MaDam Collective has collaborated with different composers, many of whom have had the opportunity to develop work sessions and concerts with themselves (Llorenç Barber, Antoine Beuger, Radu Malfatti, Michael Pisaro, Hector Rey , Taku Sugimoto, etc.) or, where this has not been possible, through an epistolary relation (Lucio Capece, Taylan Susam, etc.)."

-MadamConBarba Site (Translated by Google) (

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

Track Listing:

1. I 18:00

2. II 18:00

3. III 17:50

4. IV 15:10

Related Categories of Interest:

May 2017
Compositional Forms
Large Ensembles
Unusual Vocal Forms
New in Compositional Music

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