Copy of Deep Minimalism series tile

24 – 26 June 2016

St John’s Smith Square

24th June – 7.30pm concert with LCO

25th, 26th June – from 3pm each day


An alternative title for this three day festival in St John’s Smith Square produced by Southbank Centre might be “Slow Change Music”. Through an extended email conversation with Laurie Spiegel I have discovered this term as an aesthetic and technological practice in 1970 which is emblematic of the motivation for wanting this festival to exist in 2016. It’s important that a mainstream institution has supported this festival fully; it raises important points about establishment music programming and an awareness of canon-building.

In the last few days Laurie Spiegel has digitised a 20 minute piece of music from magnetic tape made in 1970, entitled “Return to Zero”. Spiegel, Éliane Radigue and Rhys Chatham shared the same Buchla synth in 70-71 and it was their first chance to use an analog synthesizer:

 “What we talked about wanting to do was to make very small barely perceptible changes within a relatively stable sound or sonic complex. We wanted the changes to be small and subtle so that our mind’s ear’s filters would open and lift, to reassure with constancy so that any sense of being sonically on guard again through sudden change (because sudden sonic change can feel violent) would fade away and we could be entirely open in the experience of the moment. You want to get beyond all the little tricks the mind has learned to play to avoid the shocks of sudden change or the stress of overload, to be able to hear sound without the preconceptions we put between us and it.” (Laurie Spiegel)

Meditation and alternative states of consciousness was one goal. Another was the forging of a new simple difference between the pencil and the oscillator in the process of writing music. Lastly the intent was one of breaking from a dominant serialist aesthetic and embracing perception and the depth of listening in audiences of all types.

Come to hear music written with pencil and oscillator, world and UK premieres from Daphne Oram, Laurie Spiegel, Pauline Oliveros, Mica Levi, Edmund Finnis, and Meredith Monk alongside music by J.S. Bach and Éliane Radigue.


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