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STRAIGHT TO THE SOURCE

The two composers at the core of Sound / Source, a 10-hour immersion in the electro-acoustic zone, couldn’t be less alike methodologically but are very much humanist brothers under the skin. Alvin Lucier’s 1969 minimalist classic, I Am Sitting in a Room, kicks things off with a slow-motion exploration of the P.S.1 geodesic dome’s resonant properties. Then the 30th birthday of Paul Lansky’s “Idle Chatter” series of granular vocal manipulations will be celebrated with a new live arrangement by Roomful of Teeth, a new eight-channel surround-sound version performed by the composer himself, and yet another new interpretation by Holly Herndon. Also: a Tyondai Braxton solo set, Vicky Chow’s rendition of Tristan Perich’s lovely Surface Image, site-specific installations by Daniel Lopatin, and Lucky Dragons’ version of elevator music — performed on a real elevator.

Sun., Oct. 19, noon, 2014

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A WHOLE NEW WORLD

Eighty-three-year-old psychoacoustic innovator Alvin Lucier’s Criss-Cross, performed by doom-metal guitar spelunkers Stephen O’Malley and Oren Ambarchi, is the centerpiece of the three-day Tectonics Festival. This unique occurrence, curated by Icelandic Symphony Orchestra music director Ilan Volkov, is debuting in the U.S., and without a symphony at its disposal;
instead, the festival focuses on works for soloists, duets, and other small configurations. Tonight’s program offers works by younger composers including Eyvind Kang and Iancu Dumitrescu, alongside pieces by venerable avant-gardists Lucier and Italy’s Giacinto Scelsi. On Saturday, the late composer Harley Gaber, who committed suicide in 2011, is remembered with a rare performance of his 100-minute minimalist monument The Winds Rise in the North. Tectonics wraps up Sunday with a solo set by cellist Hildur Ingveldardottir Gudnadottir.

Fri., May 23, 7 p.m.; Sat., May 24, 7 p.m.; Sun., May 25, 7 p.m., 2014

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Callithumpian Consort

Works by microtonal magus Alvin Lucier are the focus of this New England Conservatory ensemble’s two-night stand at Brooklyn’s finest experimental-music hall. This evening marks the local premiere of Lucier’s glacial, spatial Braid along with Fideliotrio, Two Circles, and Slices; Christian Wolff’s miniscule Microexercises; and Tristan Murail’s Lachrymae.

Fri., March 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., March 29, 8 p.m., 2014

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BANG, BANG

As the centerpiece of the 25th annual Bang on a Can Marathon, the looping resonances of Alvin Lucier’s 1969 minimalist masterpiece “I Am Sitting in a Room” should draw attention to the unorthodox nature of the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden as performance space. As it is, you’ll have 12 hours in which to contemplate this looming atrium’s palm trees, food court, and inside-outside vibe while reveling in Pauline Oliveros’s Deep Listening Band, Evan Ziporyn’s expanded arrangements of Conlon Nancarrow’s “Piano Studies,” Lois V. Vierk’s “Go Guitars,” Thurston Moore’s “Stroking Piece #1,” DJ Envee’s “Bang on a Can Remix,” the Grand Band playing Steve Reich’s “Six Pianos” and Julia Wolfe’s “My Lips From Speaking,” and much more of the most accessibly inventive modern music being created today.

Sun., June 17, noon-midnight, 2012

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Bang On A Can All Stars

Not that it’s much of a surprise anymore, but Bang On A Can’s annual People’s Commissioning Fund performance will maintain their quarter-century-long open channel between contemporary composers and their slightly shaggier art-rock equivalents. But who needs surprises? BOAC’s venerable All-Stars will feature experimental guitarist Fred Frith and the New York premiere of “How Deep Are Rivers?” by Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, who will also perform (and perhaps detune) with the All-Stars. Pieces by two young composers, Kate Moore and Lok Yin Tang, round out the program, along with experimental pioneer Alvin Lucier’s recent “Canon.”

Thu., April 2, 8 p.m., 2009

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HEADACHE

Forget what Clarence told you: Every time a bell rings, a Columbia University professor analyzes it for three hours. This weekend, the sharp minds of the Society of Fellows in the Humanities present Listening In, Feeding Back, an experimental-music conference that gathers musicians and scholars to discuss the practice of listening as it relates to feedback. Lecture topics include auditory structures of car radios and polyrhythmic calls of West African toads; the Friday night concert features Alvin Lucier performing his famed electro-acoustic piece “I Am Sitting in a Room,” in which he chants those words, then plays back and re-records them until only the resonant frequencies remain. And now you can sit in that room! Meta.

Fri., Feb. 13, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 14, 9 a.m., 2009

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Film

Video might’ve killed the radio star, but beginning in the 1960s, new media inspired musical avant-gardists to grab cameras and create complex 16mm collages (and later, VHS palimpsests). Results range from static to sublime, and renaissance man Jim O’Rourke and Anthology archivist Andrew Lampert have gathered key examples of such synchronization for the three-week series “Eye & Ear Controlled.”

The tag was plucked from Michael Snow’s 1964 New York Ear and Eye Control, a frenetic documentation of mid-’60s NYC avant-jazz. Snow will discuss the classic—perhaps best known for its ESP soundtrack (Albert Ayler perched atop the masthead)—along with his newest work Short Story and 1974’s epic Rameau’s Nephew by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen. George Manupelli, alumnus of arts collective Once Group, will present the rare Dr. Chicago trilogy. Starring new-music maestro Alvin Lucier as a “sex exchange” surgeon, installment one finds Chicago hiding out in a cabin with female associates and a silent herbalist before jetting to Sweden to start a clinic. Lucier’s monologue on “Little [Albert] Schweitzers” is not to be missed.

If the event has a center, it’s inimitable Pythagoras punk-slapper Tony Conrad, who will host four days of his visual works while also re-enacting filmic performances, e.g., a ’70s film-stock fry. Conrad’s works for public access are especially invigorating, but his 1966 debut and structuralist mind melt, The Flicker, remains the most arresting: a 30-minute b&w strobe soundtracked with an electromechanical synthesizer, tape delay, and reverb effects to create a total sensory immersion. (It comes attached with a warning re mild symptoms of shock treatment.) Conrad’s Straight and Narrow (1970) makes transcendent horizontal/vertical use of John Cale and Terry Riley’s explosive “Ides of March.”

For those who enjoy musicians wearing oven mitts, absurdist Argentine Maurcio Kagel represents big-time, especially via Ludwig Van (1969), which fixates on a reproduction of Beethoven’s sheet-music-wallpapered studio. Other highlights include a pair of Charlemagne Palestine videos; minimalist Phill Niblock’s The Magic Sun (1966-68), a super-constrasty documentation of an ecstatic Sun Ra performance; and Gunvor Nelson’s My Name Is Oona (1969), a sunspot portrait of his daughter backed with Steve Reich voice loop. Takahiko Iimura’s 10-minute 16mm Kuzu (Junk) is perhaps the most haunting. Featuring an almost subliminal score by Takehisha Kosugi, the downcast elegy takes place on Tokyo Bay’s industrial beach amid dead animals, craggy garbage, playful children, and the filmmaker’s shadowy footprints. Each oddly baroque frame is crammed with gloomy nostalgia, lodging resonances that refuse to budge.

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Meteorological Avant-Transmissions, Intercepted From Air

Avantricity’s freebirds (Matmos, Autechre, Fennesz, many more) ride the soundtrack of David Toop’s new book, Haunted Weather: Music, Silence, and Memory. Right channel clusters, left one cloisters, then they hook up, passing through each other. In time as well as space, when (b) connects with (a) and (x). Disc 2 is mostly ghostly instruments; Disc 1 is everything. For inst., the singing fry and fray of Alvin Lucier’s “Sferics.” (“Natural radio-frequency emissions in the ionosphere, radiated from nearby or distant lightning,” Toop notes.)

One Weatherbird’s ambushed by street sounds, but they’re countered by visionary description; violence gets safely aestheticized. The artist as museum guard? Where is she later, when I hear a shovel blade in oily gravel, too near a hypnotic/hypnotized-sounding muezzin?

On Luc Ferrari’s Les Anecdotiques, voices are talking, frequently in female and French, beware. (American’s also spoken, in Chicago and “dancehall Texas.”) Often near bird-bordered beaches, while engines drive up and away. Eventually, doors slam and then beat on—doors of a sea tunnel, turns out. Anecdotal, yas: L.A. swings, as Ferrari intends, in and out of meaning, like a pendulum do. Worth hearing, at least once. Go listen to your pillow and be glad.