David Dunn

Music, Language and Environment

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This double-CD set collects a wide variety of Dunn's fascinating and innovative environmental sound works/interactions from 1973-1985. Nexus 1 (1973) features a series of trumpet gestures, played by a trio of performers, sounded into the interior of the Grand Canyon. Entrainments 1 (1984) accumulates square-wave oscillations played in a California state park glen, simulating the resonant characteristics of the environment. Entrainments II (1985) is a complex interaction for three speaking vocalists giving their spontaneous impressions of an outdoor environment, which are amplified through self-carried small loudspeakers. The sound and movement of small oscillators they carry are picked up by a microphone and input to a computer, which triggers sound blocks also played back into the environment. All persons and instruments (except the computer and its operator) are constantly moving in circles. The beautiful Skydrift (1977) features ten voices, 16 instrumentalists, and four channels of electronic sound generated from materials gathered at the performance site. The instrumentalists move outward from a central circle while their playing responds to environmental sounds; the circle becomes enlarged up to half a mile from its original formation. Inspired by the extraordinary mimicking ability of the mockingbird, Mimus Polyglottos (1976) is an unintentionally humorous (i.e., delightful) study for electronically generated birdlike sounds and an actual mockingbird in a park. (Some kind of dialogue happened, linguistic, and/or musical.) (espial) (1979) was recorded by a solo violinist performing gestures composed by Dunn over three-and-a-half hours in a harsh California desert environment. The results were then played back in a layering of seven half-hour segments on cassette machines and re-recorded. The barebones essence of the arid landscape is overwhelmingly present.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 14:39
2 8:19
3 45:58
blue highlight denotes track pick