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 multidisciplinary 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 performance 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 The release also includes a 64pg book with writing, a previously unpublished text by Oliveros, photography by Claire Harvie, and a Flexi Disc with a listening score that invites new listening experiments.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.
Side A: The Sound Of Awakening; a new sound poem by IONE (artist, author and Oliveros’ spouse), recorded in their home in Kingston NY, 2021.
Side B/C/D: To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of their Desperation; orchestral work by Pauline Oliveros (1970), recorded in a live performance at Council Chambers Toronto City Hall in 2019 (LP format).
Book: Writing, scores, a previously unpublished archival text by Oliveros (1979), photography, and a Flexi Disc with listening score.
Project devised by Christopher Willes. Courtesy of The Pauline Oliveros Trust. Co-produced by Christopher Willes and Public Recordings. Publication design by Jeremy McCormick. Photography by Claire Harvie.
Recorded by Paul Hodge and J.L Simonson. Mix: Christopher Willes. Mastering: Brandon Hocura.
Contributing Artists and Performers: Anne Bourne, Allison Cameron, Victoria Cheong, Ishan Davé, Prices Easy, Ellen Furey, Thom Gill, Claire Harvie, Ame Henderson, Ione, Brendan Jensen, Germaine Liu, Jeremy McCormick, JL Simonson, Kate Nankervis, Pauline Oliveros, Bee Pallomina, Liz Peterson, Heather Saumer, Brian Solomon, Anni Spadafora, Evan Webber, and Christopher Willes.
Created in partnership with Art Metropole, The Pauline Oliveros Trust, The Music Gallery, Séance Centre, and Happy like a flower. The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.
See further credits within the publication.
Ships out June 30, 2023 (Pre-Order Now)
Order it directly on Bandcamp.
Half of the proceeds are being donated to The Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto.
“A monumentally stunning piece of work… We couldn’t possibly think of a better tribute to the work of Pauline Oliveros. It carries her work toward new futures with startling insight and beauty. Absolutely fantastic and not to be missed. – Soundohm, August 2023
“… the work rings undeniably urgent.”- Wire Magazine, September 2023
“… the swelling waves become immersive echoes. It’s utterly enthralling. Repeated listens reveal so much depth and detail. It’s so, so rewarding. Highest recommendation.” – The Capsule Garden Vol 2.26, Foxy Digitalis, August 2023
“an immense, vibrant wall of sound reminiscent of some of the Scratch Orchestra’s concerts-cum-public rallies or a particularly wild Fluxus gig.” – Pauline Oliveros and Chamber Music, Boring Like A Drill, 2023