Sound art is often presented as an installation — that is, as a site-specific event in which the resonances of the space are an inherent part of the work. Still, we can’t all make it to Santa Fe, Chicago and Albuquerque every time an artist such as Steve Peters presents something new. Though video records of such performances-cum-sculptures are becoming all the more popular, the most prevalent record of sound art is the audio.
A new CD, Three Rooms (on the Sirr label), collects recordings of sound art by Peters presented in the three mentioned cities above: “Delicate Abrasions” was taped in an old warehouse in Santa Fe, “Center of Gravity” is processed breaths recorded at the School of Art of Chicago, and “Mountains Hidden in Mountains” is built, according to Peters, from “a single strike of the meditation bell at a zendo in Albuquerque,” a “zendo” being a Buddhist meditation hall.
Two-minute excerpts of two of the pieces are available as free downloads from the Sirr website. “Gravity” is a whorl of airborne experience, never so fully removed from its origin that you don’t picture the human mouth (MP3). “Abrasions” is all microsonic activity, little drops and burrs, with enticing tonal intrusions (MP3).