RESONANCE GATHERING by Various Artists
2x Black vinyl LPs, Screen printed vinyl envelope, Risograph & colour printed prints, 2023
Co-released by Art Metropole
Resonance Gathering is a double LP and book that documents a large-scale performance project on the music of composer Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) that occurred in Canada between 2017-2019. The project gathered nineteen interdisciplinary performers (mostly non-musicians) to interpret Oliveros’s score To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation (1970)—a work for sound and light that was written in response to the anxiety and political unrest of 1968 in America. Organized by artist Christopher Willes and the collective Public Recordings, the ensemble included artists from dance, theatre, music, and visual arts, all performing together as musicians in a series of open rehearsals at various community spaces in Tkaronto—Toronto.
The project concluded with a final concert of Oliveros’s piece in Council Chambers Toronto City Hall. The local political situation at the time had become unexpectedly tense: in the midst of an election the provincial conservative government redrew ward boundaries and reduced council membership almost in half. The context brought a new resonance to Oliveros’ score, which proposes a self-governing system for group music making. And so the performance took place between empty councillors’ desks, among the spectres of representational politics, in a room where debates and decisions about togetherness have tangible consequences.
Resonance Gathering extends this project into a publication. The LP opens with a new sound poem by IONE (artist and Oliveros’ spouse) that was recorded in their home in Kingston New York in 2021. Part guided meditation, part dream, the fifty one lines of text and silences evoke the passage of time between 1970-2021. Side B/C/D share a lush, 45 minute recording of the City Hall performance, captured in a quadraphonic format that subtly moves the listener into ghostly spaces throughout the ensemble. The release also includes a 64pg book with writing, a previously unpublished text by Oliveros, photography by Claire Harvie, and a Flexi Disc with a listening score that invites new listening experiments.
To Valerie... marked an important shift in Oliveros’s work, away from traditional composition and towards sonic-somatic practices that explore how listening can transform one’s sense of self and others. Deep Listening, as she would later call it, can bring out “resonant connections that lie beyond the surface of our consciousness and help us change [...] and grow.” Revisiting the piece fifty years after its premiere, this release explores how Oliveros’s ideas and music continue to resonate with our time.