Pauline Oliveros

At the Ijsbreker, Jan 24, 1999

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The 1990s saw an increase of avant-garde fans' interest in Pauline Oliveros' work. This concert in duo with pianist David Gamper is a good example of her art. Both musicians (Oliveros plays her trusty accordion) are equipped with an Expanded Instrument System (or EIS), which transforms the sounds and distributes them in the performance space. The music is contemplative, slow developing, and trance-inducing. The long plaintive tones of the accordion echo from side to side, multiplied. Gamper fiddles with small percussion and the piano's bowels. The CD begins with a 35-minute duet, "Breaking the EIS," a piece going from brutality to Zen-like serenity, from electronically warped sounds to Oliveros' pure vocal chants. Then, each performer is allowed a solo spot. Gamper's multi-tracked piano number is not convincing at all, but the accordionist is better and leads into another duo (11 minutes), this time an alien version of new age music. In the encore, Oliveros uses her voice again, blending it with the accordion's sound. At the Ijsbreker, Jan 24, 1999 requires deep listening if one wishes to experience it totally. This is the type of performance a recording cannot possibly do justice, but it's the next best thing and production is as good as can be.

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