…..when a lot of things were happening in downtown manhattan during 2004-05 a group of interdisciplinary artists were making work in obscurity and orbiting across the east river in williamsburg, brooklyn. they met right on that scene around late 2004 or early 2005 when they were performing shows in unknown venues and in front of the usual 5 to 10 people. It was quite natural that they had met each other considering their common interests and the small community at the time. it all evolved very organically from there with true purity, passion, and interest for sound and light, collaboration, and the sense of experimental-lab-like brotherhood. experimental music, sound art, and everything in between brought them together. video-making and photo-exploratory techniques were also part of the practice. sharing ideas, strategies, systems, and practices of expanded possibilities helped to shape what turned out to be denominated as ea. they tried to make sense and give significance to the acronym but it always resulted in blank nameless meaning. so in a way their work and efforts invented the name as much as the name invented their work. for a few years ea recorded many sessions, for the most part once a week, at what now is called fotófono—gill arno’s studio and alternative venue dedicated to intimate live events. as a result ea has an indeterminable collection of rich sonic material, scores, and moving image documents. ea / variations was derived from this archive and is in a way the result of merging the past and the present. it combines original tracks that were the result of a recording session that took place on august 25th, 2005 in williamsburg, brooklyn, and it grew from there by adding to the collection re-edited versions of the original tracks. the session that evening consisted of andy graydon, ben owen, gill arno, gil sansón, and richard garet—five of the original six ea members. additionally, that night the five were joined by special guests reto pulfer, siew wai kok, and tom mulligan. however, each recorded set had a different combination of players at the time. ea / variations had no restrictions or specific guidelines for making the re-edits. each artist had the freedom to approach his own contribution in any way he considered appropriate. therefore, this work explores ea’s own idle conundrum of time, that through the expression of the ear and geographical distance, it invited the ea’s five to re-interpret their own gestures and refresh their collective creations. in addition to the re-edits made by arno, garet, graydon, and sansón, ben owen applied a distinct approach to his contribution. he made a score based on the four original tracks and invited civyiu kkliu, matt marble, richard kamerman, and seth cluett to perform his piece. this recording not only seals the project but it also mirrors the night of august 25th, 2005 by representing in the present the living spirit of ea….
5- errata / addenda 5824
this piece operates much like a fond and faulty memory for me: while containing the initial spark of that collaborative moment, and reflecting its general outlines, this reworking reshapes a live session into something that is, somehow, more familiar to me than the event itself. its contours have changed significantly, and no longer contain the facts, but somehow it rings true, and all the more so for its migration.
the past is a foreign country, and our work in ea was always trying to stretch that definition into the present: toward making each gesture strange, toward interpenetrating each intuitive decision with external suggestions, infectious affects, last-minute reversals or jumps ahead. the work was often about displacement: of sound through image and into action; of self into the group sound; of the momentary onto the malleable substrate of the recording. and as our collective work ages and becomes more and more at home on these recordings, this mission to displace it seems more and more natural.
it is as if we are only now beginning to see the larger strategy of these interactions, performances, and discussions: to create a situation in which the output is merely the starting point, and where the work is in a constant process of rewriting itself, and perhaps us along with it; where the only solid ground is projected just beyond the horizon of the near future.
andy graydon, berlin, may 2010
6- ea, the siren song
five years after the event i am addressing the recollections from a live recording session that was in itself atypical and sui generis regarding our way of working. increasingly confident about the encouraging results of our previous investigations, we felt that bringing performers from outside the main core of gill, richard, andy, ben and myself would only enrich the outcome of our collected efforts. the general dynamics of the session was outlined prior to the beginning, requiring the we split the group in trios, the first involved siew wai, andy and myself. i decided then to add live sampling of siew wai to my sonic palette for the evening. having never played with her before was the excuse for it, allowing me to leave my comfort zone and explore the human voice in a more or less neutral manner. needless to say, one can hear a live recording of one´s own playing and find it utterly alien when divorced from its original context and this is not the exception. the original recording of the first set sounds both alien and familiar to these ears after all these years. it is, therefore, perfectly suited for reworking, for it feels more like a material than a fixed sound object. from this material i tried to keep its basic character and sonic imprint. reworking became re-imagining, or perhaps finding a new psycho-geographical context for the basic material.
gil sansón, caracas, may 2010
7- here, there, anywhere and nowhere
ea seemed to incessantly ponder so many questions 5 years ago. for my contribution to this release i acted impulsively instead. i took the one track that seemed more remote to me (track 2, which at the time didn’t make it into my archive of ea recordings), and re-recorded it as it ran through a piano soundboard.
then i played an mpld set over it, which implies that lights were shut off in the studio: as the projectors’ sounds were being recorded, projected images appeared and disappeared but were not documented. finally, the different takes were mixed into this sonic construct.
gill arno, brooklyn, may, 2010
dislocation/s: the displacement of something from its usual or proper position
the original idea for this project consisted of selecting a track from the original four recordings and making a re-edit of it. i could not select one track in particularover another and i had no interest in deciding that one segment or part from one track was more important than another therefore, i designed a system in max where all four tracks would be fed into it and have them randomly dislocated, reconfigured, re-structured, and modified. then i sat back in my studio chair and i listened for several hours eventually hitting the record button arbitrarily and i capturing the studio session. as a conclusion it fluctuated, it diverged, and by the act of dislocating and reconfiguring i established my contribution. i liked what i heard and how it changed…. you now may hear it too.
richard garet, astoria, may, 2010
9- a year for each (side)
what is art?
is it the moon?
the fingertip, which points to this moon?
nam june paik, 1972
on the occasion of a release for the ea project, i was asked to rework a recording from a session in august 2005. for my rework, i decided to create a score based on each wave form of the original four recordings. to find four people to play the score, i decided to choose participants who were not in some way involved with the project throughout it’s history. each participant chose one of four scores to perform in a one off recording session. in ea fashion, no rehearsals or conversations happened before the recording of the score. instrumentation, a clock and amplification choices were left up to each player. what i found meaningful to contribute to a project that could in some way reflect the essence or spirit of ea was to have a few people together to play/improvise with a visual score.
i found the session recordings a perfect base for the new collaboration, as they lent visual information that referenced auditory data. the connection of visual and audio data was with ea and is for me today an important element in the direction of work produced. a year for each finger (of one side) was written by ben owen. performed by seth cluett, matt marble, richard kamerman and civyiu kkliu on april 3rd, 2010 in astoria queens. recorded by richard garet. my sincere thanks goes to seth, matt, richard and robert for working with me on the project, and to richard garet for hosting and recording the session.
ben owen, brooklyn, may, 2010
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