Astrology, Ecology, Non-Musicology
Zizia. (21-December 2019). Umbelliferae [Compact Disc].
- Moon Taurus 4° 1st [60:00]
Zizia performed a series of 24 concerts across the United States from September 2018 to October 2019. In these performances, Zizia acknowledged the traditional connections between astrology and music, while collaborating with nature and sub-nature to create an experience of extra earthly, super-nature. Materials and methods of Zizia performances will be described below according to an fourfold elemental scheme. We will begin with the element of earth to describe the physical context of performances and then move to fire to describe our actions and intuitions. Next, the element of air will introduce our conceptual framework and inspirations, and lastly, we will proceed to water to describe an imagination of our concert experiences.
Earth is associated with the physical body. Earth symbolizes the material context that forms a necessary structure for spiritual consciousness to grow. Zizia performed 24 concerts at mostly art galleries and organizations from fall 2018 to fall 2019. The sequence of 22 cities that we visited is presented at http://zizia.xyz. Venues occurred in 19 Level III Ecoregions of the Continental United States, displaying diverse biotic and abiotic ecosystem qualities. Concerts were booked in collaboration with local artists and musicians; we shared almost every concert with at least one other performer. Zizia brought our own multichannel amplification, sometimes used PA systems provided by venues, and on two occasions performed acoustic sets. We handcrafted 42 pounds of seed bombs comprising 12 species of wildflowers for the last 12 concerts. Zizia improvised from the environments of each concert venue for site-specific performances.
Fire is associated with the "I" or the ego. Fire symbolizes both the activities and the spiritual potential of performance, as well as the capacity for intuition. Zizia rattled, rubbed, struck, and scraped percussion instruments comprised of plants and other natural objects sourced from the environments surrounding each venue. Stringed instruments were plucked with fingers and vibrated using an electronic bow (Heet Sound EBow Plus). Electronic instruments were manipulated, programmed, and triggered, while tape loops recorded and delayed environmental sounds. Insect recordings sourced from the Borror Lab of Bioacoustics at the Ohio State University were broadcast, while ultrasonic pest repellers sounded in different areas of each room. Zizia sowed wildflower seed bombs into the disturbed and degraded habitats surrounding 12 concert venues. Zizia performed with awareness of the spiritual origin of tone, and collaborated with electronic and organic beings as agents of indeterminacy in order to cultivate intuitive capacities for performer and audience.
Air is associated with the astral body. Air symbolizes the conceptual framework of composition, the social context of performance, and the capacity for inspiration. Zizia organized our compositions according to seven-minute segments resulting in performances that lasted from 28 to 70 minutes. Dynamics ranged from triple pianississimo to triple fortississimo. Musical scores were performed at a rate of ~72 beats per minute, and natural object percussion occurred according to a 13-count circular breathing pattern. Zizia remained on stage or centralized during the majority of our first concerts. By less than half way through the tour, we continually moved around each venue, percussing natural objects or shifting the positions of portable amplified electronics.
Astrology determined the tunings and tones performed on guitar and harp. During the first 12 concerts, melodies emerged from a 5:7 polyrhythm (Figure 1). During the last 12 concerts, melodies were composed from translations of local apparent astrological charts according to esoteric principles (Figure 2). Electronics were performed with both haphazard and random methods of indeterminacy and traditional percussion rudiments (Figure 3). Local ecology determined our percussion instruments and the creation of wildflower seed bombs, which were sown mid-performance to enhance habitats for pollinators and other beneficial insects. Thus, Zizia composed from astrology and ecology, synchronizing performances with cosmic-chthonic rhythms to inspire performers, audiences, and environments.
Water is associated with the etheric body. Water symbolizes the feeling of the performance and the capacity for imagination. Imagine:
You sit in a dark, quiet room with others, most of whom are strangers. A performance is about to begin. You feel slightly anxious due to the extended silence. Soft crackling, popping, rattling, rustling, and snapping sounds begin to intermittently percuss around you. You imagine that something is creeping towards you through leaf litter on the forest floor. Sounds from people and places inside and outside the venue punctuate the susurrations. You realize that the rhythmic crepitations and stridulations of night insects have slowly been growing louder without you noticing, amplifying from the corners of the room...
A warm tone begins to resonate; the frequency gradually amplifies fills the entire space. You listen to the depth of overtones and undertones that phase back and forth between your ears. A low-frequency tone has amplified, rumbling your stomach. You notice how the tone transforms, distorting then compressing, hissing under the sounds of night insects and rustling plants. A measured twanging of strings emerges, the frequencies synchronically harmonizing with the cricket calls. You lose track of time, lost in a phasing melody that seems circular yet impossible to memorize. The notes metamorphose, filtered as though underwater...
Noises, sounds, and tones amplify to an immersive cacophony. You sense the presence of a supernatural organism: a creature of this earth, yet unlike anything you have observed in waking life. You feel inexplicable relief as the being vanishes while the noises gradually decay and echo. The songs of night insects are still present, although their calls now seem more melodious, somehow. You ponder: are these the sounds of insects inside or outside of the venue? Are these tones from the performers or the environment? You sit, perplexed yet calm, listening for an extended duration, quietly meditating. You do not applaud...
Zizia created immersive sound environments from esoteric concepts, including the elemental world and the fourfold human. The mineral world awakened us to observe and collaborate with our living chthonic environments surrounding each performance. The human world strengthened and warmed our intuitive explorations of the spiritual nature of tone. The animal world inspired us to create and harmonize with our living cosmic contexts during each performance. The plant world formed our imaginative investigations of health through restorative musical performances. Thus, Zizia enlivened body, soul, and spirit by performing with awareness of our physical body, etheric body, astral body, and "I".
- Recorded live on 16-October, 2019 at The Creative Music Series, Wheeler Concert Hall, Casper College, Casper, WY.
- Composed and produced by Zizia
- Designed by Moé Kamura and Zizia
- Distributed by hibari music
- Acoustic G20-110 Combo Amplifier
- Akai MPC1000 Music Production Center
- American Printing House for the Blind GE M5194 Cassette Recorder
- Apple iPhone 6s
- Arturia KeyStep Controller and Sequencer
- Aspectek Yard Sentinel Ultrasonic Outdoor Pest & Animal Repellent
- Audacity 2.3.2 Multi-Track Audio Editor and Recorder
- Cedar Heights Red Art Clay
- Centaurea cyanus L.
- Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michx.) Greene
- Cichorium intybus L.
- Coast of Maine Organic Wiscasset Blend Earthworm Castings
- Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt.
- Cosmos bipinnatus Cav.
- D'Addario Planet Waves Cables
- Eschscholzia californica Cham.
- Fairfield Circuitry The Accountant Compressor
- Fairfield Circuitry The Barbershop Millenium Overdrive
- Fairfield Circuitry Modèle B Always On Barbershop Overdrive
- Fairfield Circuitry Four Eyes Crossover Fuzz
- Fairfield Circuitry Shallow Water K-Field Modulator
- Fairfield Circuitry Meet Maude Analogue Delay
- Fairfield Circuitry Randy's Revenge Ring Modulator
- Fairfield Circuitry The Unpleasant Surprise Experimental Fuzz/Gate
- Fender Rumble 100 v3 Bass Combo Amplifier
- Gilia capitata Sims
- Harmony H410A H410-A Tube Amp/Combo
- Heet Sound EBow Plus
- Kay Hollow Body Electric Guitar
- Lobularia maritima (L.) Desv.
- Marantz PMD-660
- Mogami Cables with Neutrik Gold Connectors
- Mooer Audio Slow Engine
- MXR M108S 10-Band Graphic Equalizer
- Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Bass Compressor
- Panicum virgatum L.
- Phacelia tanacetifolia Benth.
- Radial JCR Reamp Amplifier Interface
- Radial JDI Duplex MK4 Stereo DI Box
- Realistic Minisette-20 Compact Cassette Recorder
- Roosebeck Heather Harp 22-String
- Rucci Handmade 3X2 Matrix Mixer
- Rucci Handmade 4X4 Matrix Mixer
- Rucci Handmade Clock Manipulator
- Rucci Handmade Passive Filter
- SKB Cases
- Smallsound/Bigsound Fuck Overdrive
- Sony MDR-7506 Headphones
- Sony TCM-200DV Standard Cassette Voice Recorder
- Strymon Deco Tape Saturation & Doubletracker
- Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo
- Strymon Flint Tremolo & Reverb
- TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate
- Teisco Checkmate 88 Combo Amplifier
- T-Rex Replicator Junior Tape Delay
- Trifolium incarnatum L.
- Venus Tuning = E-F#-B-F#-B-E
- WMD Utility Parametric Equalizer
- Berenbaum, M.R. (1990). Evolution of specialization in insect-umbellifer associations. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 35:319-43.
- Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics (2019). The Archive [Digital Audio]. The Ohio State University.
- Bianchi, F. & Manzo, V.J. (2016). Environmental Sound Artists: In Their Own Words [Book]. Oxford University Press.
- Burke, S. (2019). Semiosis Duology [Audiobook]. Macmillan Audio.
- Cage, J. (1999). Branches [Compact Disc]. Edition Wandelweiser Records.
- Denver Botanic Gardens. (2018). Wildflowers of the Rocky Mountain Region [Book]. Timber Press.
- Eno, N. (1977). Before and After Science [Audio Cassette]. EG.
- Eno, B. (1982). On Land [Vinyl Record]. EG.
- Fowler, J. et al. (2011). Non-Musicology [Website]. XVNMY.
- Fowler, J. & Droege, S. (2019). Pollen Specialist Bees of the Eastern United States [Website]. JFM.
- Fowler, J., Unami, T., et al. (2016). Species pluralis [USB]. No Schools Recordings.
- Fripp, R. & Eno, B. (1975). Evening Star [Compact Disc]. Island.
- Fripp, R. & Eno, B. (2005). The Equatorial Stars [Compact Disc]. Opal Ltd.
- Fukuoka, M. (1978). The One-Straw Revolution An Introduction to Natural Farming [Book]. Rodale Press.
- Fukuoka, M. (1985). The Natural Way of Farming: The Theory and Practice of Green Philosophy [Book]. Other India Press.
- Gilmurray, J. (2018). Ecology and Environmentalism in Contemporary Sound Art [Thesis]. University of the Arts London.
- Goethe, J.W. (1993). The Metamorphosis of Plants [Book]. Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association.
- Goh, T. (2014). Australia's Microtonal Modernist [PDF]. Edith Cowan University.
- Hamilton, E. (1926). The Nature of Music in the Light of Anthroposophy [PDF]. Anthroposophy.
- Hamilton, E. (1953). The Modes of Ancient Greece [PDF]. Private Press.
- Husemann, A. (1994). The Harmony of the Human Body [Book]. Floris Books.
- Kahn, D. (2001) David Tudor and the Sound of Anthroposophy [PDF]. Getty Research Institute.
- Khan, H. I. (1996). The Mysticism of Sound and Music [Book]. Shambhala.
- McNeil, A. & Brummitt, R.K. (2003). The usage of the alternative names of eight flowering plant families. Taxon 52, 4:853-856.
- Mann, A.T. (1979). The Round Art: The Astrology of Time and Space [Book]. Dragon's World.
- Nakai, Y. (2017). David Tudor and the Occult Passage of Music [PDF]. No Collective.
- Nmperign (2009). Ommatidia [Compact Disc]. Intransitive Recordings.
- Pisaro, M. (2001). mind is moving I [Compact Disc]. Wandelweiser.
- Pisaro, M. (2019). Nature Denatured and Found Again [Compact Discs]. Gravity Wave.
- Renold, M. (2015). Intervals, Scales, Tones, and the Concert Pitch C = 128 Hz [Book]. Rudolf Steiner Press.
- Rounds, A.W. (2020). Tone Art: Anthroposophy, Astrology, Music [Thesis]. Antioch University New England.
- Ruland, H. (1992). Expanding Tonal Awareness [Book]. Rudolf Steiner Press.
- Schlesinger, K. (1923). The Return of the Planetary Modes [PDF]. Anthroposophy.
- Schlesinger, K. (1939) The Greek Aulos [Book]. Bouma's Boekhuis.
- Steiner, R. (1979). Occult Reading and Occult Hearing [Book]. Rudolf Steiner Press.
- Steiner, R. (2015). The Inner Nature of Music and the Experience of Tone [Book]. SteinerBooks.
- Stevens, B. & Renold, M. (2012). A Handbook of the Middle Tuning [PDF]. Private Press.
- Thun, M. (1999). Gardening for Life: The Biodynamic Way [Book]. Hawthorn Press.
- Thun, M. (2019). Biodynamic Calendar [Calendar]. Floris Books.
- Tudor, D. (2013). The Art of David Tudor [Compact Discs]. New World Records.
- von Lange, A. (1992). Man, Music, and Cosmos [Book]. Rudolf Steiner Press.
- Wildfeuer, S. (2019). Stella Natura [Calendar]. Camphill Village Kimberton Hills.
- Xerces Society, The. (2016). 100 Plants to Feed the Bees [Book]. Storey Books.
- Young, L. (1960). Composition 1960 #5 [Event Score]. MELA Foundation.
- Zizia. (2018). Zizia [Audio Cassettes & Digital Audio]. Zizia.
Acknowledgements... AW, DR, GK, GK, KD, KK, LT, MK, MP, NK, RC, RF, RS, SH, TU ...
FiguresFigure 1. Melody composed from a 5:7 polyrhythm, tunings determined by local apparent astrology.
Figure 2. Score composed from local apparent astrology for 16-October, 2019, Wheeler Concert Hall, Casper College, Casper, WY.
Figure 3. Electronics performed from traditional percussion rudiments, double paradiddle and paradiddle-diddle.