My Cinema for the Ears (DVD-Video) Table’s Clear

Table’s Clear

Paul Lansky

  • Year of composition: 1990
  • Duration: 18:02
  • Instrumentation: fixed medium

Table’s Clear uses these same sounds to create a kind of fantasy realization of that wish. In 1990 I set my two young sons, Jonah and Caleb, loose in the kitchen to make all the noise they could. I then used these recorded noises to explore this sound domain. Initially in the piece the noises we hear are familiar, and could easily be done in real-time at the dinner table. But, as the piece evolves these sounds become part of a super-human virtuoso texture that has some striking resemblances to Gamelan music. As the piece winds down, we wake, as if from a dream, and notice that we’re still trying awkwardly to coax music from kitchenware.

Night Traffic, Table’s Clear and Idle Chatter Junior all explore ways to transform familiar sounds into musical sounds.

These three pieces have some interesting relations to cinema in the extent to which they encourage the listener to visually imagine the creators of the sound sources and to individually construct a kind of virtual reality that will accommodate this vision. The cars have voices, a super-human percussionist plays the dishes, and the chatterers at a cocktail party are somehow managing to make music, despite their best intentions. In other words the pieces attempt to create their own kind of inner ‘cinematic’ world. These pieces are also influenced by film’s ability to find poetry in mundane things: an urban landscape becomes a painting, disembodied voices evoke song, and so on. Finally, I am very pleased with the way that Uli Aumüller has used this music in his film. Sound and image each manage to maintain their integrity and autonomy, yet work together well.

Paul Lansky