speaking with shadowsharvey goldman
the search for it and other pronounswarren lehrer and harvey goldman
full CDs available
Speaking with Shadows is a celebration and exploration of the emotive qualities of language, laughter, sound and rhythm. The eclectic vocals and sounds encountered in this recording were collected over a five year period and punctiliously worked into the compositions in a manner analogous to that of a visual artist juxtaposing disparate elements of a collage. There was a conscious decision to work with exotic language and the uninhibited vocalizations of young children and passionate adults, thus relying solely on the emotive sonic qualities of these human utterances and articulations. My hope is that the listener finds the music mysterious, rhythmic, warm and enchanting.
Speaking with Shadows is also and attempt to get in touch with the other side, the world of shadows, spirits and the unknown. Much of the ethereal and enigmatic aspects of the music reflect a growing and personal affirmation of the sublimeness and splendor of the human spirit. Upon the recent death of my mother, Shirley, my seven year old daughter Marieke consoled my sorrow one evening whispering,” dad, don’t be sad, you know when people die they turn to stars”. then pointing up tom the sky she exclaimed, “look, there’s grandma now!”
As I listened to this collection of witty, graceful compositions, it occurred to me that good writing for synthesizers is a relatively rare phenomenon. Only Frank Zappa, Wendy Carlos, the lesser known Erling Wold and a handful of other composers have set out to write to the synthesizer’s strengths – namely, its almost unlimited tonal pallette, flexible tuning parameters and mathematical precision. Goldman’s music is intricate and sophisticated, but it is also warmer and less manic than Zappa’s, and perhaps less self-conscious than Carlos’s excursions into exotic tuning systems and ethnic tim-bres. Three of Goldman’s six pieces use processed vocals (hence the subtitle “eloquent gibberish”), but the vocal element is no gimmick and is nicely integrated into the compositions. “Laughter of Butterflies” features children’s laughter, but is saved from mere new age “niceness” by its ex-cellent compositional qualities, which include remarkably convincing synthesized saxophone counterpoint. Processed voices on the two other pieces are a bit more mysterious and experimental, and they supply a playful weirdness. I don’t think Goldman is really caught up in the old self-de-feating quest for accurate synthesized approximations of “real” instruments; rather, part of his intent seems to be creating a rich collection of evocative, musically satisfying sounds.
Bill Tilland, Options Magazine, July 1993
This full-length audio CD is a musical setting of attitudes and longings for voices and instruments. Nine pieces explore the search for the big ITs — power (Tag Yer IT), search for an AIDS cure (It Just Might Work), love (Hymn for Her), victory (I for an I), god (You and Me), material wealth (You Got Nothin), the ineffable (Something or Other); and other pronouns — (They, He is a She Dog). A collaborations with Warren Lehrer, this post-minimalist opera, has received some good airplay on new music radio programs throughout the country. Composed with the aid of midi-synthesis, the recording features Warren and I on digital and acoustic instruments and voice, as well as baritone Alan Seale, sopranos Patricia Ruiz, Nina Heller and Angela DeCicco, extended vocals by Stacy Schuman, spoken word by Judith Sloan and Brother Blue. Includes 12 page booklet with complete lyrics.
“The Search For IT and Other Pronouns is an aesthetic colossus, straddling theater, music, social satire and design… a carefully constructed study in counterpoint, filled with lots of surprises… The CD booklet is a work of art…”David Garland, New York Public Radio (WNYC)
“The Search For IT and Other Pronouns is a brilliant, fantastic work. Absolutely riveting!”Charles Amirkhanian, Pacifica Radio KPFA