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På skive


«A room outdoors»

A room outdoors is a 48-minute composition written in 2006 by American experimental composer Michael Pisaro-Liu, a key member of the Wandelweiser Group, for sustaining instrument, harmonium and pre-recorded field recording. It was the first work in which Pisaro-Liu incorporated field recordings into his score.

Pisaro-Liu says: «A field is obviously a very different place to play music than a room. But what happens, when one plays in the field, is that it becomes a kind of room. In this piece, the field is brought indoors. In the best realizations, the piece brings about a reversal, where the walls seem to be on the verge of disappearing».

The double album offers the first recorded realization of this philosophical-metaphorical composition and features two versions of the composition, one made in Brussels, Belgium, during the Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020 and one set up in Cremona, Italy, in June 2023. Pisaro-Liu mastered both versions. The first version features Belgium-based keyboard player Guy Vandromme and synth and field recordings player Adriaan Severins. It reflects faithfully the silent, ethereal and spacious atmospheric hum of a desolate city during the Covid-19 pandemic, except for the sounds of the subway and occasional footsteps. And it completely blurs the sonic borders between the external, outside environment, and the intimacy of the Wild Gallery space, where this piece was performed.

The second version features Italy-based, viola da gamba player Luciana Elizondo and field recordings player Fabio Gionfrida, in collaboration with Guy Vandromme who played the Indian harmonium, and it was performed at the Museo Archeologico San Lorenzo. This version captures beautifully the quiet and calm, yet richly resonant and much more lively drone-like atmosphere of the Italian city, famous for the violins and violas made there in the 16th-18th centuries by the Amati family and their pupils, the Guarneri and Antonio Stradivari.

The two completely different versions of this intriguing composition demand the listeners to alter their listening skills and re-calibrate them for much larger and wider environments, even endless ones. With this composition, Pisaro-Liu asks us to think about our own sound prints and their effects or potential and responsibility to bring harmony and peacefulness to our troubled environments.

Eyal Hareuveni

Guy Vandromme (keyboards, Indian harmonium), Adriaan Severins (synthesizer, field recordings), Luciana Elizondo (viola da gamba), Fabio Gionfrida (field recordings)