Deep Listening Band

The goals of the concept and teaching of Deep Listening, as musician/philosopher Pauline Oliveros defines it, are to recognize “the difference between the involuntary nature of hearing and the voluntary selective nature of listening” and the “appreciation of sounds on a heightened level.” Well, yeah, but don’t all musicians do that? You’d be surprised. It’s a devotion to an intense focus on sound, in itself, as an end (rather than a means—to, say, showing off, making money, getting laid), and to improvisation procedures that encourage generous interaction with other musicians and with one’s environment. Performances by Oliveros’ Deep Listening Band, together 20 years, exemplify her ideas: collaborations among herself (on accordion, mainly), David Gamper (keyboards and electronics), and Seattle’s Stuart Dempster (trombone, plus just about any brasslike sound-maker from conch shell to garden hose). The ensemble favors rich layers of long tones in highly resonant spaces; the quest for acoustic grandeur—a living sound—has taken it to a cave in the Canary Islands, a rotunda at Columbia University, and most famously, an abandoned underground cistern at Fort Worden State Park with a 45-second reverb time. As their sound builds, mutates, and envelops you, it becomes something you breathe, internalize. GAVIN BORCHERT

Sat., May 23, 7 & 8:30 p.m., 2009

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