HOTS! Paisai Soinu Irratia

podcast #17 Number Soundscape



“Number Soundscape”
An interview with Tom Johnson

American composer and critic Tom Johnson (Greeley, Colorado, 1939), is one of the few composers to self-identify as minimalist; in fact, he may have coined the term while serving as the new music critic for the Village Voice. He has since collected those articles in the book The Voice of New Music which is available free through his website. He has lived in Paris since 1983.

His pieces are most often based simply on mathematical and logical processes, such as tiling, which he attempts to make as clear as possible. His works include: Rational Melodies, An Hour for Piano, Organ and Silence, and The Four Note Opera. As Greg Sandow (2003) describes Nine Bells, “in which he walked, at a steady rhythmic pace among nine suspended burglar alarm bells, systematically exploring all the possible paths among them. Which, since he strikes each bells as he passes it, are also all the possible melodies their pitches might make. As in many of Tom’s works, theory and practice are identical here… You see and hear the structure of the piece.”
Johnson is married to artist Esther Ferrer.

[Biography from WIKIPEDIA]

Extracts from the interview:

“I like to listen to numbers”
“I can probe that, in my compositions, every note has to be where it is”
“I’m interested in truth… that’s beautiful”
“I like music that knows where it is going”
“Anything can be false, specially recordings”
“19th century societies were as noisy as today”

Elkarrizketa eta Edizioa / Entrevista y Edición / Interview and edition :
Xabier Erkizia

Irudia / Imagen / Picture:
Imaginary Music. No. 65, “Syncopated Texture”

Erabilitako musikak / Músicas utilizadas / Music used during the interview (all them by Tom Johnson’s discography):
– Symmetries (Karnatic lab records, 2006)
– Rational Melodies (Hathut, 1993)
– Nine Bells (1979)
– Kientzy loops (Kientzy plays Johnson, Pogus, 2004)
– Pascal’s Triangle (Music for 88, XI records, 1988)
– Bedtime stories (1986-2003)
– Organ and Silence (Pogus, 2000-2003)
– Counting language (2002)

Eskerrak / Agradecimientos / Thanks to:
Natalia Barberia, Arteleku