audio video images scores text credits

about the project

ROCK PAPER SCISSORS was a concert series by Inlets Ensemble exploring strategies for creating music with non-musical objects. Held at Audiotheque in Miami Beach during the summer of 2015, each concert focused on one object—rocks, paper or scissors—and featured a program of historical and contemporary works. The recordings available here consist of studio recordings for a little over half of the pieces, along with live recordings and video where more appropriate. The pieces below, and on the audio and video pages, are listed as closely as possible to the order they were performed in the concerts.

audio recordings

Stones (1969) by Christian Wolff conveys simple text suggestions for creating sounds with and out of stones. For this performance, a number of independent and idiosyncratic processes and approaches were created by each performer independently. It was performed within the intimate acoustics of the Audiotheque and its rather cavernous outside hallways.

Stone Guitar (2005) by Gustavo Matamoros involves each performer slowly moving a stone across the length of the neck of an electric guitar. Throughout the piece, the performers gently tap the stone to maintain a continuous, yet inevitably irregular, rocking motion, creating one long glissando that lasts the duration of the work.

WEN 52 (1999-2007) by Jürg Frey is part of the composer's extensive WEN series of solo pieces, 59 in total and written for a variety of traditional and nontraditional instruments. Each work utilizes a symmetrically repeating formal structure and includes equal parts notated sound and silence. This particular work is for harmonica and steinplatte.

Igneous (2015) by Robert Blatt consists of photographs taken with a microscope of thin sections of igneous rock under polarized light. Following a process based on medieval isorhythmic techniques, the photographs were edited into videos that are read as scores, where the color and shape of magnified minerals suggest the pressure, speed and movement of stone against tile and the pitch of hummed tones.

Rock Piece (1979) by Pauline Oliveros creates a polyphony of percussive rock pulses interacting with the environment through asynchronization and movement. For this realization, the performers began the work dispersed throughout the performance space. They gradually moved outdoors and finished the work in a tight circle a number of blocks away from where the piece began.

sitting on a stone [readings 25] (2008) by Mark So is one of his many works involving the poetry of John Ashbery. The score calls for a performance outdoors at night with large stones rubbing, a recurring low tone and two readers. Excerpts from the poem They Like the work references:

Dark objects loom
Out of the night, attracted by the light of conversations
let your serious proposals stick out
Into the bay a considerable distance, like piers. Remember
I am not the stranger I seem to be, only casual
And ruthless, but kind. Kind and strange. It isn't a warning.
Only the story
Stays behind, when they go away, sitting on a stone. It grew and grew.

Micro 1 (1961) by Takehisa Kosugi requires a large sheet of paper to be wrapped in a tight bundle around a live microphone. The paper is then allowed to unwrap on its own for five minutes.

Lines (1) (1998/99) by Craig Shepard calls for five lines to be drawn with a pencil as slowly as possible on a standard letter size sheet of paper. It is extremely quiet, the paper just barely amplifying the sound of the human hand writing, yet also turning the possible preparation of a page for notation (in this case, drawing the five lines of a staff) as a musical and theatrical gesture.

untitled (2013) by Joseph Kudirka is a series of handmade paper containing small bits of detritus from everyday life embedded into the page (lint, hair, bits of metal foil, etc.) that may be read as scores. For these performances, three solo realizations were made from one of the sheets of paper. Materials for the performances included a book, harmonica, tissue paper, card stock, paper towel, guitar, a business card, chopstick and radio.

Cipher For The Lighthouse Twins (2015) by David Pocknee consists of two identical books created by the composer to be read by two performers facing each other. The books contain over 250 pages of graphic instructions indicating the direction and amount of pages to turn in response to the direction and amount of pages previously turned by the opposing performer, creating a self-perpetuating feedback system.

with paper (2006/8, 2009-) by James Saunders is an uncommon work in that it combines score and instrument into one object. The work consists of numerous pages of paper containing simple instructions for making sounds with the paper containing such instructions. The pages are arranged and possibly repeated in any order or combination for any duration and with any number of performers. For this performance, pages allowing for continuous sounding action were selected.

Amadou (2008) by Luciano Chessa is based on the death of young black man by the New York city police and contains a number of symbolic actions performed on the guitar, such as progressively cutting the guitar's strings with scissors.

thriving on irreparable separation (2015) by Alex Lough requires a performer to repeatedly remove and cut a strip of tape from a cassette and play it on an exposed tape head following different indications for speed, rhythm and pressure.

Scissors Paper Stone (2004/05) by Stephen Chase is a performance of the game of the same title substituting hand gestures for representative sounds. When a performer wins a round, they may perform a solo with their winning throw. For this performance, tag team rules were used.

video recordings

Nothing Is Surprising (2015) by David Pocknee is an aleatoric dance, a permutative finger painting coloring book, a rhythmic study using picture frames and chewing gum, a separation of clasped hands and the sounding of a chord in one's mind. It also uses a lot of paper.

Symphony No.1, Fluxversion 1 (1962) by George Brecht positions performers behind a full size photo of an orchestra. They cut holes at the shoulders of the photographed musicians and hold instruments through the holes while attempting to play an old favorite. For this performance, a photograph from a 1963 fluxus concert capturing a performance of Hommage a Adriano Olivetti by George Maciunas was used as the backdrop for an attempted live performance of Drip Music by George Brecht, an old favorite of ours.

Composition with the Sound of Its Own Découpage (2015) by Michael Baldwin makes reference to Robert Morris' similarly titled work from 1961, Box with the Sound of Its Own Making. Baldwin's work contains a video of the composer cutting out a melody from a small sheet of staff paper while hearing the melody performed on a toy piano and a recording of the melody being cut out with scissors. All of these elements are formally cut into fragments throughout the piece and convolved together.

about the performers

Inlets Ensemble is a Miami-based new music ensemble specializing in the performance of contemporary and historical works of experimental music. The ensemble features some of the city’s most adventurous musicians and sound artists, including Jorge Gómez Abrante, Robert Blatt, Eric Gottlieb and Alex Lough. For these performances, they were joined by UK-based composer-performers Michael Baldwin and David Pocknee.