Stephen O'Malley - Géante 4 (Performed by Eye Music)

SOMA036 / Géante 4 (Performed by Eye Music) Stephen O'Malley


Composed by Stephen O'Malley for Stuart Dempster March 2010

Recording engineer: Doug Haire
Recorded November 14, 2010 at Jack Straw Productions
Studio time provided by the 2010 Jack Straw Artist Support Program
Amber Pendant : Fmi Metsäpirtti
Published by Ideologic Organ Music (SACEM)


Géante 4 (2010) by Stephen O’Malley for Stuart Dempster

"Géante 4" is a graphically scored piece that I’ve illustrated/written of about 10-12 minutes in length that I was hoping you could tackle as a solo piece. It involves between 3-7 voicings per section over 5 sections, in total around 10-12 minutes. I had the Japanese guitarist Michio Kurahara do a version of this last autumn when we were doing some basic tracking for this session in Tokyo.

We also did a 90-minute version in Norway last summer with 2 double bass players, a haldorophone, piano and sine wave/tape. I’d love for you to approach this very much as you like, based on the rough parameters of the score. I imagine that the common aspects to Kurahara's version would be the sustained tones and the transitions, as well as the modes you’re transitioning between.

I’m working with spatialization for playback on this material, in the theatres during the performances. This piece in particular I’ve envisioned/hoped could take advantage of the lateral movement possible with this sort of speaker diffusion setup, with each phrase sliding "forward" in space and settling with the full chord clusters before moving "forward" again.

Specific instructions for performance (given verbally to SD): The arrows up or down indicate a slow glissando from the end of one section to the beginning of the next. The squiggly lines indicate a fade out or in. Each “section” would be ca. 2 minutes plus, based upon an overall timing of 10-12 minutes

(Notes/info by Stephen O’Malley, condensed/expanded and edited by Stuart Dempster)


Originally formed in August 2006 to perform a student composition by Sune Smedeby, Eye Music has continued to focus on playing graphic scores since that time. Graphic scores are written musical compositions that rely on visual information rather than standard notation to convey musical ideas. Often these scores are as beautiful to look at just as they are intriguing to play. In addition to graphic scores, Eye Music has also plays text scores which consist of verbal instructions for music making. In all cases, the scores used by the ensemble allow for a certain amount of openness in interpretation. These are musical pieces selected for the possibilities they inspire. They often require improvisation on the part of each performer because much can be interpreted differently each time a piece is played. However, they maintain a sense of form in one or more areas making the pieces a group activity in reaching a common goal. The openness of these compositions allows Eye Music to draw its membership from a wide range of musical backgrounds, instrumentation, and musical skill. Whenever possible, the ensemble works with guest composers on their pieces to gain a greater appreciation for possible approaches and considerations in performance of these works.

Members of the ensemble on this recording are:

#1 David Stanford - electric guitar
#2 Esther Sugai - flute
#3 Dave Knott - bowed stringboard w/ metal slide
#4 Jay Hamilton - cello
#5 Carl Lierman - synthesizer
#6 Stuart Dempster - trombone
#7 Jonathan Way - field organ [final transition of piece only]
#1~5 Michael Shannon - harmonium

Stuart Dempster – Sound Gatherer - trombonist, composer, didjeriduist, et al, and Professor Emeritus at University of Washington, is best known for creative beautiful, rich acoustic drones in reverberant natural spaces and for commissions for trombone by Berio, Erb, Erickson, Krenek, Oliveros, Suderburg, and many others. He has recorded for numerous labels including Columbia, Nonesuch, and New Albion. The latter includes In the Great Abbey of Clement VI at Avignon - a "cult classic" - and Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel consisting of music sources for a 1995 Merce Cunningham Dance Company commission. Grants include: Creative Associate at SUNYAB; Fellow, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois; Fulbright Scholar (Australia); NEA Composer Grant; US/UK and Guggenheim Fellowships. Dempster, a leading figure in development of trombone technique and performance, published his landmark book The Modern Trombone: A Definition of Its Idioms in 1979. Dempster has had a front row seat in the world of avant garde music having played in the world premiere of Terry Riley's minimalist masterpiece In C and the US premiere of Cornelius Cardew's Treatise. He has worked with artists as diverse as Merce Cunningham, Luciano Berio, Folke Rabe, Jani Christou, The Nihilist Spasm Band, Yuji Takahashi, Lesli Dalaba, William O. Smith, Sheri Cohen, Dave Knott, Ellen Fullman, David Tudor, John Cage, Wu Man, and Greg Powers. Most important of his musical collaborators is Pauline Oliveros, with whom he founded the Deep Listening Band.

Jay Hamilton studied music composition at Fairhaven College on the campus of Western Washington University with Americole Biasini and Dr. E. LaBounty. He has attended the workshops of Kenneth Gaburo, David Mahler, Meredith Monk, and Pauline Oliveros. He has composed music for varieties of performance art, and is 'strangely influenced' by growing up in the woods.

Dave Knott: (Animist Orchestra, Greasy, No Clocks No Clues, Anomalous Records Thursday Nights above the Artificial Limb Company, Messenger Girls Trio, Ready Made Ensemble, Metaphonic Orchestra, inscrutable-d). Solo and group electro and/or acoustic improvisation & composition using natural & artificial materials, original as well as traditional stringed instruments. With particular interests in timbre, listening practice, the tension between utility and aesthetics of music & the forms exposed through exercises in instability.

Carl Lierman is a self taught visual artist and sound composer. He is co-founder of FotoCircle Gallery in downtown Seattle in the 90’s, and a member of Gyre. His work has been heard in Iancu Dumitrescu's 1st Annual Computer Music Festival in Bucharest, and the Center on Contemporary Art's "People Doing Strange Things With Electricity Too”.

Michael Shannon is a sound/recording artist, musician, photographer, and performer of experimental media, based in Seattle. He began performing in the punk clubs of San Francisco in the late 1970's evolving performance and sound designs through various venues and media, specializing in the use of a variety of string instruments from Asia, percussion, sound objects, and electronics. In San Francisco, he began Joy Street Studios, the name for all of his sound art productions and his studio in 1983, to the present. First releases of audio works in the form of cassettes began in 1987, followed by an LP 'Laguz' on Anomalous Records and CDs on various labels around the world. Presently a member of Seattle-based performing groups Gyre, Eye Music, Echore, Aono Jikken Ensemble, Animist Orchestra, Broken Mask (Bay Area). Past San Francisco bands: Appliances, Kahunas, KuKuKu, Earnerve, Joyo, Lethal Gospel.

David Stanford: First instrument was saxophone. Began theory lessons, piano lessons, and self-instruction on guitar several years later. Graduated Cornish College of the Arts (B.M., 2000). Has played with Gamelan Pacifica, Seattle City Gamelan, animist orchestra, and has collaborated with a number of different choreographers and video artists. Current focus is on playing natural objects, amplification/electronics, and (when access permits) prepared piano.

Esther Sugai is a flutist and composer. She is a founding member of the Aono Jikken Ensemble and also performs with the Fisher Ensemble. She has a Masters degree in Music Composition from the University of Utah, where she studied with electronic music pioneer Vladimir Ussachevsky. Esther has received grants from Meet The Composer and ASCAP and is a past Seattle Arts Commission Composer-in-Residence.

Jonathan Way is a translator of Asian texts as well as a sound artist. He is probably best known for playing with the Seattle Phonographers Union. He has also released a CDR on Greg Davis' Autumn Records and a track on the 7 compilation.