Zoo (Download) Track listing detail

Talking to a Loudspeaker

Dan Lander, Gregory Whitehead

  • Year of composition: 1988-90
  • Duration: 24:28
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: New American Radio and Performing Arts Inc
  • ISWC: T0704766131

Stereo

ISRC CAD509511590

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

Although radio has been cited as a warm medium — due to its relative openness for interpretation when compared to television — it is nonetheless a one way medium. The listener is compelled, via the loudspeaker, to construct meaning without the benefit of a mechanism for re-address. In addition, radio as we have come to know it is limited by a host of predetermined factors: broadcast quality, balanced programming, congruent appeal, marketing research, the trained voice, restrictions to access, music distribution slavery, uniform time allocations, technical specifications, licensing regulations and so on. Talking to a Loudspeaker plays with some of these considerations.

Synopsis

  • Mister Speaker is a truncated visit to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario where members address “Mister Speaker” without response. Protocol is the order of the day, with the allotted time for input devoted to maintaining its dominance.
  • The Weather, excerpted from actual radio reports, begins with a compilation of the subjective style inherent in such presentations and evolves into a minimalist rendition of number: an incantation in celebration of degree, measurement and prediction.
  • In The News, the listener is presented with two points of view, one from the left (channel) and one from the right (channel). Mimicking the simplistic regulatory notion of ‘balanced programming,’ this section suggests that the interpretation of news ‘events’ is contingent on factors beyond the prevail of media control.
  • Call Now, introduced with a string of telephone numbers designed to allow for maximum cultural interaction, devolves into a call-in program in which the host retains his composure even though not one listener — due to ‘technical problems’ — is able to connect.
  • The complexity of transmission infrastructure and technological maintenance and monitoring is addressed by the resident radio technologist in Talking About Ether. Through his machines, the world of aural transmission is rendered visual and his analysis, which at first appears to be scientific and objective, concludes with the assertion that radio “must be strictly controlled.”
  • Broadcast Quality? raises a question — “Is this broadcast quality?” — with the implicit knowledge that monopoly, enforced and sustained through arbitrary controls, is not a healthy phenomenon. Health in this case is retained through irreverence and humour.
  • In The Sponsors, a narrative is constructed via commercial radio utterance, creating a simple condensation of the manipulation of desire predominant in contemporary media.
  • We Live in the Age… (of having to state the obvious) is comprised of few words, spoken in an aural phantasmagoria of a living soundscape. It represents an attempt to breathe — if in fact breathing in this case is possible — life into the dead space of radio.
  • Which brings us to Dead Air and the falling away of authority, creating a presence articulated by absence.
  • The piece ends with Here Comes Everybody, a telephonic, radiophonic, tongue-in-cheek liturgy in which utopian global communication theories are sung into sleep: here comes every(body), there goes no(body).


Talking to a Loudspeaker was commissioned by New American Radio and Performing Arts Inc (New York City, USA, 1988, 90). The piece premiered on the National Public Radio (NPR) Network: part I in 1989 and, part II in 1991. The tenth section, Here Comes Everybody, is by Gregory Whitehead and was performed by Gregory Whitehead (via telephone), Dan Lander and a live audience during Radio Free Banff on RADIA 89.9 FM in the fall of 1989. Talking to a Loudspeaker was realized in the artist’s home recording studio and was constructed via razor blade and analog 1/4" magnetic tape. Thanks to David Barteaux, Regine Beyer, Igor Bevc, Hanna Bulko, Peter Bulko, Hank Bull, Janice Carbert, Stephanie Carbert, Andy Dowden, Colin Griffiths, Ian Murray, Claude Schryer, Deirdre Swan, Helen Thorington and Gregory Whitehead.


Premiere

  • 1989, Concert, NPR, USA

Talking to a Loudspeaker, 1: Mister Speaker

Dan Lander

  • Duration: 0:45
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISWC: T0705326266

Destroy: Information Only

Dan Lander

  • Year of composition: 1991
  • Duration: 33:33
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISWC: T0705325503

Stereo

ISRC CAD509511600

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

The title Destroy: Information Only comes from a rubber stamp that the Workers’ Compensation Board uses on copies of microfilm pertaining to an individual’s claim. In 1976, while living in Vancouver, I experienced an occurrence with my back, thought to be the result of several years of employment as an industrial labourer. These recordings were made while visiting friends who knew me at the time of the subsequent surgery. As in the failed myelogram — a procedure in which spinal fluid is removed from the spine and replaced with a dye in order to add detail to an X-ray image — the search did not reveal what might have been expected, or even desired. The details of memory are specific to each individual and may, or may not, coincide with my own recollections of the events in question.

Synopsis

•• This work begins with Employment, with its drone as metaphor for the tedium of the job, a song for hope — We Shall Overcome — and the sound of objects crashing together as an indicator of industrial violence and, in this case, injury. As a prelude to the larger work, Employment serves to provide a quasi musical setting for the digestion of what is to come.
•• Marvin, in the privacy of his own apartment, makes coffee before reminiscing on the time following the accident. His primary memory appears to be linked to the acknowledgment of pain. However, he quickly digresses to involve himself with a video game, a diversion perhaps, from both the past and the present.
•• Yvonne (mother) speaks of memories linked to her maternal intuition and also of her own back operation. She relates the story of feeling shivers up her spine at the exact moment the surgeon’s knife is inserted into the back of her son.
•• In Loon, flatulence becomes a metaphor for the loss of control of bodily function in general. As each wind passes, a new relationship to it is developed through the conversation of fellow campers.
•• Dave does not remember much. He speaks of the importance of rock and roll, complains about the price of concert tickets for Yes and describes a Hollywood film set, all while making popcorn.
•• In the following section a creaking door, equipped with bells, triggers a spasmodic utterance of the word Spasm, drawing a relationship between the mechanical and the emotional.
•• Memory is consciously activated by Darlene (sister) as she and her brother drive through and discuss an area they grew up in. However, when it comes to the events in question she freely admits her lapses, stating “it is fuzzy.”
•• Raising and butchering chickens is a topic that Ann discusses before elaborating on a car accident in which she herself suffered no small amount of pain, prompting her to conclude, “I wish I could forget.”
•• Finally we have Dan, who, while traveling on a bus, relates a story concerning eagles who eat the afterbirth of cows until they can no longer function and need the attention of a veterinarian. He concludes with a series of statements about a face and his own unwillingness to recognize the passage of time and his immanent old age.


Destroy: Information Only was made possible by a grant from the Media Arts Section of the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA). Excerpts of this piece were premiered during the Radio Contortions festival in Montréal in 1991. It was realized in the artist’s home recording studio and was constructed via razor blade and analog 1/4" magnetic tape. Thanks to Darlene Blair, Janice Carbert, Dan Dornan, Eva Ennist, Ann Kitto, Yvonne Louden, Marvin Maylor, Danita Noyes, Dave Paisley, Lindsay Rodgers and the WCB of British Columbia.


Premiere

  • July 1991, Radio Contortions: Concert, Montréal (Québec)

Destroy: Information Only, 1: Employment

Dan Lander

  • Duration: 2:59
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISWC: T0703064394

Failed Suicide

Dan Lander

  • Year of composition: 1991
  • Duration: 5:10
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISWC: T0708477137

Stereo

ISRC CAD509511610

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

One evening six people gathered at my apartment, each with microphone and tape recorder in hand. What emerged is a corporeal tale conveyed through the mastication of thought and subjectivity. The sense of loss that accompanies the disembodiment of the recorded voice becomes a metaphor for loss in general. We are left with a vehicle for the reconstruction of meaning and object-hood: the residue that is recorded sound.

Synopsis

The text of Failed Suicide concerns itself with notions of disappearance and meaning (we have to say something we can remember). A statement about a suicide prompts a question about near death experience. A phenomenological question is raised about how we know the difference between a dog and a cat. The answer to this question is provided by both a kitten and a human. Towards the end, a conversation develops on a difficulty in speaking. One of the speakers concludes with the following statement: “you have to decide if it’s in the morning or at night; or if you slept good; or ate good, or bad, or too much… or not enough.”


Failed Suicide was realized in the artist’s home recording studio and was constructed via razor blade and analog 1/4" magnetic tape. It premiered on March 14, 1991 during Radio Possibilities at the Forest City Gallery and simultaneously broadcast on CHRW FM Radio Western in London (Ontario). Thanks to Benoît Fauteux, Geneviève Heistek, Julia Loktev, Christof Migone, Diane Obomsawîn, Paik and Rosa.


Premiere

  • March 14, 1991, Concert, Forest City Gallery, London (Ontario, Canada)

City Zoo / Zoo City

Dan Lander

  • Year of composition: 1992
  • Duration: 12:22
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: CKUT FM, with support from the CCA
  • ISWC: T0708743912

Stereo

ISRC CAD509511620

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

This polyphony of contradictions contemplates the zoo as an urban environment which houses not only the various species of ‘wildlife’ but also the technological apparatus necessary for the maintenance and presentation of such a construct. ‘Wild’ sounds coexist with mechanical sounds, the human voice ‘sings’ in consort with the animals, parrots chatter to the beat of a promotional video tape soundtrack. Through this convergence of aural information I wish to evoke in the listener a sense of wonderment at the beauty of the ‘lawless’ region, while alluding to a human condition which demands order, confinement and control.

Synopsis

This work relies much more on an ambient sound environment than the previous works, whose meanings are constructed primarily through human speech. The work begins with the statement “at the zoo, once again, technology substitutes for nature.” As the work proceeds we hear a father speaking with his son about the eye of an eagle, instructions to “leave the snake alone,” and a conversation between a small, irate child and his parents in which they suggest visiting the on-site MacDonald’s in order to calm him. The final section includes shoppers in the gift store making various comments on what objects it is they desire to purchase as memoirs of the zoo.


City Zoo / Zoo City was commissioned by the radio program Sons d’esprit (CKUT FM, Montréal) and made possible by a grant from the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA). It premiered on CKUT FM during the 7e Printemps électroacoustique festival in June, 1992. All of the source recordings were made at the Metro Toronto Zoo. It was realized in the EARS Studio of The Banff Centre for the Arts using a digital sound editing workstation.


Premiere

  • June 1992, Concert, CKUT FM, Montréal (Québec)