Table of Contents

Composing Through Listening

Composing Through Listening is a one-hour radio broadcast composed for the WFMU, historic free-form community radio station based in Jersey City.

photo of Luc Ferrari's score for Presque Rien
Luc Ferrari's score for Presque Rien No. 1, courtesy of Maison ONA

This program was composed, mixed, and edited specifically for radio, presenting a survey of works by composers who deal with the phenomenology of listening directly in their compositional practices.

At one extreme, Jakob Ullmann and Luc Ferrari explore composition at the threshold of being reduced to almost nothing. In his liner notes, Ullmann often suggests to “set the volume so as to just barely mask the ambient sounds in the room”.

Along a different paradigm, Jana Winderen and Felix Hess use non-traditional recording methods to work with sound beyond the natural limits of human hearing, and Yukio Fujimoto uses sculptural devices to augment his own hearing.

Perhaps more so than other works of music and sound art, these pieces seem to suggest something about how to listen to sounds, through listening to the composers’ own act of listening.

Program Notes

0’00” — Sam Kidel, Disruptive Muzak

5’50” — Jana Winderen, Out of Range

11’45” — Felix Hess, Air Pressure Fluctuations

17’00” — Yukio Fujimoto, Ears of the Rooftop

17’48” — First voice break

22’25” — Luc Ferrari, Presque Rien No. 1

28’20” — Mihaly Vig, Harang

30’45” — Stephen Cornford, Air Guitar

36’40” — Jakob Ullmann, Voice, Books and Fire 3

40’54” — Second voice break

46’00” — Hildegard Westerkamp, Whisper Study

50’35” — Lionel Marchetti, La Grande Vallée

56’00” — Alvin Curran, Songs and Views From the Magnetic Garden

56’42” — Last voice break

See also