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3 CD Box Set: L'Oeuvre Musicale The complete works of Pierre Schaeffer, re-digitised and re-issued with newly discovered tracks.
Book and 3 x CDs: Solfege de l'Objet Sonore This book, accompanied by 285 tracks on 3 CDs of examples is a unique and indispensable resource work for all those interested in electroacoustic music. Examples by Parmegiani, Henry, Bayle, Xenakis, Luc Ferrari etc. illustrate Pierre Schaeffer's text.
Book: Audible Design by Trevor Wishart
5 CD Box Set: GRM Archive 5 CD Boxed Set containing music spanning half a century of GRM inspired compositions
12 CD Box Set: Parmegiani: l'Oeuvre Musicale The complete works of Bernard Parmegiani on 12 CDs

Trevor Wishart - Globalalia/Imago

Trevor wishart - Globalalia/ImagoA re-issue of Globalalia which explores human speech and the syllables common to all, and Imago, which is constructed entirely out of the sound of 2 whiskey glasses being clinked together. Classic Wishart at his best!

Wishart writes: "In Globalalia, I wanted to use human speech, but focus on what we hold in common as human beings. Although the world’s languages contain many millions of words, these are constructed from a much smaller set of sounds, the syllables. I wrote to several friends asking them to collect voices from their local radio stations, and also recorded voices from TV stations via satellite dish, assembling sounds from 134 voices in 26 different languages. I then edited these into their syllables, ending with more than 8300 sources."

Francis Dhomont - Etudes Pour Kafka

Francis Dhomont - Etudes Pour KafkaA new release from Francis Dhomont, who in the opinion of many is the greatest living composer of electroacoustic music. This CD contains 3 studies which were the seeds from which many of his other works grew. Behind major works of the scope of … mourir un peu, Sous le regard d’un soleil noir, and Forêt profonde, in these studies Dhomont experiments with the themes, tries out sound materials, and unveils glimpses of the final work. Dhomont at his best!

Denis Smalley - Sources - Scénes

Denis Smalley - Sources - ScénesrOne of our most popular titles is back in stock. Denis Smalley is one of the UK's best known composers of electroacoustic music, and this CD is a personal favourite of ours - definitely a desert island disc. The music is simply stunningly beautiful, the production and sound quality are as good as it gets. If you don't already have this CD, don't put it off any longer.
Parmegiani: l'Oeuvre MusicaleWe are fans of Bernard Parmegiani and so we now have all of his CDs in stock, including the newly released l'Oeuvre Musicale. If you don't know his music, we recommend that you make an acqaintence with it by listening to some clips and reading the comprehensive notes which we have on the site. Click here for links to his biography and all his CDs.
Pierre Hanry: Labyrinthe We now stock a selection of the best electroacoustic CDs from the GRM Catalog, both historic and new - Electroacoustic Classics from Pierre SchaefferPierre Henry Luc Ferrari and  Jean-Claude Risset are just some of the new offerings.

One of our most popular GRM titles is Pierre Henry's Labyrinthe - Pierre Henry says of Labyrinthe - "For the first time during my journey and ventures into the world of creation, I dreamt of a breath of fresh air deriving from the electronic realm." This CD is a real retrospective of this pioneer of electronic music.
New from Digital Music Archives - Download a continually expanding catalogue of electroacoustic music tracks!

You can now download a selection of single tracks of music from our website. All the tracks are encoded as top quality MP3s at 320k. All you have to do is go to our tracks page, add the ones you want to your shopping cart, and you will be presented with a webpage with links to the tracks as soon as your credit card payment has been authorised. You will also be sent an email with the links and a seven day period to download the tracks.
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We now have a listings page for concerts, festivals, conferences and workshops of electroacoustic music in the UK. We hope it will soon be the place to check up on whats happening and where. Its already up and running - click here! to check it out.
Looking for a course in electroacoustic composition? - Try our links page for some of the best places in the UK. You'll also find links to organisations and institutes all over the world.

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CD Details for Hildegard Westerkamp: Transformations

Transformations Hildegard Westerkamp
Westerkamp's work combines poetry, texts, spoken voice and sounds/music - on this CD: A Walk through the City (1981), Fantasie for Horns II (1979), Kits Beach Soundwalk (1989), Cricket Voice (1987) and Beneath the Forest Floor (1992)
Out of print
 Customer Reviews 
 Audio Clips 
Track 1
A Walk Through the City (1981)
Track 2
Fantasie for Horns (1979)
Track 3
Kits Beach Soundwalk
Track 4
Cricket Voice (1987)
Track 5
Beneath the Forest Floor (1992)
 Sleeve Notes 

About the Artist

Hildegard Westerkamp b. (Osnabrück, Germany, 1946)

Hildegard Westerkamp emigrated to Canada in 1968 and gave birth to her daughter in 1977. After completing her music studies in the early seventies her ears were drawn beyond music to the acoustic environment as a broader cultural context or place for intense listening. Whether as a composer, educator, or radio artist most of her work since the mid- seventies has centred around environmental sound and acoustic ecology.

She has taught courses in Acoustic Communication at Simon Fraser University (1981-1991) in Vancouver (BC) and [is giving lectures and] conducting soundscape workshops internationally. She is a founding member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE, 1993) and was the editor of The Soundscape Newsletter between 1991 and 1995 [and is now on the editorial committee of Soundscape—The Journal of Acoustic Ecology, a new publication of the WFAE.

[Her compositions have been performed and broadcast in many parts of the world.] The majority of her compositions deal with aspects of the acoustic environment: with urban, rural or wilderness soundscapes, with the voices of children, men and women, with noise or silence, music and media sounds, or with the sounds of different cultures, and so on. She has composed film soundtracks, sound documents for radio and has produced and hosted radio programs such as Soundwalking and Musica Nova on Vancouver Co-operative Radio.

In a number of compositions she has combined her treatment of environmental sounds extensively with the poetry of Canadian writer Norbert Ruebsaat. More recently she has written her own texts for a series of performance pieces for spoken text and tape. In addition to her electroacoustic compositions, she has created pieces for specific ‘sites,’ such as the Harbour Symphony (1986) and École polytechnique (1990). In pieces like Visiting India, she explores the deeper implications of transferring environmental sounds from a foreign place into the North American context of electroacoustic composition and audio art culture. [Most recently she collaboarated with her Indian colleagues Mona Madan, Savinder Anand, and Veena Sharma on a sound installation in New Delhi entitled Nada—an Experience in Sound, sponsored by the New Delhi Goethe Institut (Max Mueller Bhavan) and the Indira Ghandi National Centre for the Arts.

By focusing the ears’ attention to details both familiar and foreign in the acoustic environment, Hildegard Westerkamp draws attention to the inner, hidden spaces of the environment we inhabit. On the edge between real and processed sounds she creates sonic journeys in her compositions that reveal both the contradictions and visions of beauty in todays’ world.]

About the Music

The Music and Soundscapes of Hildegard Westerkamp

Sound surrounds us. We are sound inside and we resonate with the soundscape even if we are not listening. Hildegard Westerkamp is sensitive to soundscape. She ably shapes fanciful, imaginative music from her recordings, mixing and transformations of the soundscape. Westerkamp creates new possibilities for listening. One can journey with her sound to inner landscapes and find unexplored openings in our sound souls. The experience of her music vibrates the potential for change. Her compositions invite interaction—a chance to awaken to one’s own creativity. One can transform through listening as she has. In the music and soundscapes of Westerkamp we feel memory and imagination as we hear through to the future.

—Pauline Oliveros, Kingston (NY, USA), August, 1995

Transformations, the disc

I feel that sounds have their own integrity and need to be treated with a great deal of care and respect. Why would I process a cricket’s voice but not my daughter’s? If the cricket had come from my own garden, had a name and would talk to me every day, would I still be able to transform it in the studio? Would I need to?

The moment of recording the cricket in the Zone of Silence (a desert region in North Eastern Mexico) had been a magical moment (see Cricket Voice’s note). So, studio ‘manipulation’ of the sound seemed somehow inappropriate. Its transformation into a composition had to become a new sonic journey of discovery to retain the level of magic first experienced. I remember when I had to say ‘Stop’ to electroacoustic experimentation: the cricket was in danger of being obliterated.

Same experience with the raven in Beneath the Forest Floor. Slowed down, it reminded me of a westcoast Native Indian drum. By sampling a small portion of the slowed down raven’s cry, I tried to make it beat with a regular drumbeat. But it simply wouldn’t let me. It kept turning into a drum machine. It took a whole day to fly off into ‘electronic land’ before returning to the original raven call, finally really hearing it and letting it be what it was in the first place: a sound reminiscent of the drum.

On the other hand I was ruthless with the truck brakes in A Walk through the City. I processed them until they were unrecognizable: by filtering out all the low frequencies from the surrounding traffic, I managed to extract pure-pitched sounds, mixed them with each other into chords that ended up giving the composition a melancholic undertone, most unexpected from such a screechy, ear-piercing sound source.

I hear the soundscape as a language with which places and societies express themselves. In the face of rampant noise pollution, I want to be understanding and caring of this ‘language’ and how it is ‘spoken.’

I compose with any sound that the environment offers to the microphone, just as a writer works with all the words that a language provides. It is in the specific ways in which the language is selected, organized and processed that composition occurs.

I like to use the microphone the way photographers often use the camera, searching for images, using the zoom to discover what the human eye alone cannot see. I like to position the microphone very close to the tiny, quiet and complex sounds of nature, then amplify and highlight them for radio or any other electro-acoustic medium: to make them audible to the numbed urban ear. Perhaps in that way these natural sounds can be understood as occupying an important place in the soundscape and warrant respect and protection.

I like walking the edge between the real sound and the processed sound. On the one hand I want the listener to recognize the source, and thus want to establish a sense of place. But on the other hand I am also fascinated with the processing of sound in the studio and making its source essentially unrecognizable. This allows me as a composer to explore the sound’s musical/acoustic potential in depth.

But I abstract an original sound only to a certain degree and am not actually interested in blurring its original clarity. I transform sound in order to highlight its original contours and meanings, similar to the manner in which a caricaturist sharpens the contours and our perception of a person’s face.

These compositions are now on this disc, an altogether abstract place, far away from the places in which the sounds originated. They now may have to put up with bad playback equipment and noisy living rooms, with car radios or distracted ears. A forest piece in an apartment by a freeway… can it draw the listener back into the forest? An urban piece in quiet country living… is it necessary?

—Hildegard Westerkamp, Vancouver, August 1995

Recordings for the live portions of this CD (Kits Beach Soundwalk and Fantasie for Horns II) as well as the final mix for Kits Beach Soundwalk were done at Ireme Studio in Surrey (BC), the studio of Canadian composer Sergio Barroso. I would like to thank Sergio and Michael Maguire for lending their experienced ears to this process. The final mix for Fantasie for Horns II was done at the composer’s own studio Inside the Soundscape.

Track 1: A Walk Through The City (1981) | 16m02s

text: Norbert Ruebsaat

A Walk through the City is an urban environmental composition based on Norbert Ruebsaat’s poem of the same name. It takes the listener into a specific urban location— Vancouver’s Skid Row area—with its sounds and languages. Traffic, carhorns, brakes, sirens, aircraft, construction, pinball machines, the throb of trains, human voices, a poem, are its ‘musical instruments.’ These sounds are used partly as they occur in reality and partly as sound objects altered in the studio. A continuous flux is created between the real and imaginary soundscapes, between recognizable and transformed places, between reality and composition.

The poem is spoken by the author and appears throughout the piece, symbolizing the human presence in the urban soundscape. Its voice interacts with, comments on, dramatizes, struggles with the sounds and other voices it encounters in the piece.

A Walk Through the City was realized in 1981 at the Sonic Research Studio at Simon Fraser University and, in its final stage, at the CBC studios in Vancouver, with the technical assistance of Gary Heald. The piece was commissioned by and first broadcast on CBC Radio’s Two New Hours, in April, 1981. Many of the sounds were taken from the World Soundscape Project’s environmental tape collection at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, including two of the street oldtimers, recorded by my friend and colleague, the late Howard Broomfield. Some were recorded by myself.

Track 2: Fantasie for Horns II (1979) | 12m50s

French Horn and tape
Brian G’Froerer, French Horn

Fantasie for Horns II was composed in two stages: the tape part was completed first, in 1978, and was conceived as a composition in its own right (Fantasie for Horns I, which received honourable mention at the 1979 International Competition of Electroacoustic Music in Bourges, France). After the completion of the tape, it seemed natural to add a live horn part. Besides being environmental in its choice of sounds, the tape could now become the acoustic environment for the horn—an instrument which, in turn, has had a long history as a sound signal in many parts of the world.

The sound sources of the tape part are Canadian trainhorns, foghorns from both the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts of Canada, factory and boathorns from Vancouver and surroundings. Additional sound sources are an alphorn and a creek. Most of the material was taken from the World Soundscape Project’s environmental tape collection at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver; some of it was recorded by myself.

Listening to the various horns in the collection was fascinating because of the way their sounds were shaped and modulated by the surrounding landscape. Some horns would echo only once, others many times, their sounds slowly fading into the distance. A trainhorn’s echo was half a tone lower as the train approached, but the same pitch as it passed. Each horn acquires its unique sound from the landscape it inhabits. This strong interaction between these sounds and their environment gave the inspiration to work with this material. Horn sounds are interesting for another reason—they rise above any ambience, even that of large cities. They are soundmarks that give a place its character and give us, often subliminally, a ‘sense of place.’

The tape part of the piece was realized in 1978 at the Sonic Research Studio at Simon Fraser University and Fantasie for Horns II was premiered by James MacDonald in October, 1979 at the Music Gallery in Toronto. For the present recording two horns were used: a Yamaha 666-V for the main body of the work, and an Alexander descant horn for the imitation of the tug-boat horns.

Track 3: Kits Beach Soundwalk (1989) | 9m42s

spoken voice and tape
Hildegard Westerkamp, voice

About ten years ago I produced and hosted a radio program on Vancouver Co-operative Radio called Soundwalking, in which I took the listener to different locations in and around the city and explored them acoustically. Kits Beach Soundwalk is a compositional extension of this original idea.

Kitsilano Beach—colloquially called Kits Beach and originally in native Indian language Khahtsahlano—is located in the heart of Vancouver. In the summer it is crowded with a display of “meat salad” and ghetto blasters, indeed light years away from the silence experienced here not so long ago by the native Indians.

The original recording on which this piece is based was made on a calm winter morning, when the quiet lapping of the water and the tiny sounds of barnacles feeding were audible before an acoustic backdrop of the throbbing city. In this soundwalk composition we leave the city behind eventually and explore instead the tiny acoustic realm of barnacles, the world of high frequencies, inner space and dreams.

Kits Beach Soundwalk was realized in 1989 in my own studio Inside the Soundscape and was premiered in March, 1989 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Track 4: Cricket Voice (1987) | 10m55s

To Norbert Ruebsaat

“It’s hard to be a night in the desert
without the crickets.
You make it with stars.
You make it with the skin
of the desert night.
You stitch those two together
sky and earth.
You find it with your cricket voice.” —Norbert Ruebsaat

Cricket Voice is a musical exploration of a cricket, whose song I recorded in the stillness of a Mexican desert region called the Zone of Silence. The quiet of the desert allowed for such acoustic clarity that this cricket’s night song—sung coincidentally very near my microphone—became the ideal “sound object” for this tape composition. Slowed down, it sounds like the heartbeat of the desert, in its original speed it sings of the stars.

The quiet of the desert also encouraged soundmaking. The percussive sounds in Cricket Voice were created by ‘playing’ on desert plants: on the spikes of various cacti, on dried up roots and palm leaves, and by exploring the resonances in the ruins of an old water reservoir.

Cricket Voice was completed at my own studio Inside the Soundscape with the assistance of the Canada Council [for the Arts]. It was premiered in June, 1987 at the Community Arts Council in Vancouver.

Track 5: Beneath The Forest Floor (1992) | 17m23s

Beneath the Forest Floor is composed from sounds recorded in old-growth forests on British Columbia’s westcoast. It moves us through the visible forest, into its’ shadow world, its’ spirit; into that which effects our body, heart and mind when we experience forest.

Most of the sounds for this composition were recorded in one specific location, the Carmanah Valley on Vancouver Island. This old-growth rainforest contains some of the tallest known Sitka spruce in the world and cedar trees that are well over one thousand years old. Its stillness is enormous, punctuated only occasionally by the sounds of small songbirds, ravens and jays, squirrels, flies and mosquitoes. Although the Carmanah Creek is a constant acoustic presence it never disturbs the peace. Its sound moves in and out of the forest silence as the trail meanders in and out of clearings near the creek. A few days in the Carmanah creates deep inner peace—transmitted, surely, by the trees who have been standing in the same place for hundreds of years.

Beneath the Forest Floor is attempting to provide a space in time for the experience of such peace. Better still, it hopes to encourage listeners to visit a place like the Carmanah, half of which has already been destroyed by clear-cut logging. Aside from experiencing its huge stillness a visit will also transmit a very real knowledge of what is lost if these forests disappear: not only the trees but also an inner space that they transmit to us—a sense of balance and focus, of new energy and life. The inner forest, the forest in us.

Beneath the Forest Floor was produced in CBC’s Advanced Audio Production Facility in Toronto with the technical assistance of Joanne Anka and Rod Crocker and was commissioned by CBC Radio for Two New Hours. The piece was first broadcast on Two New Hours in April, 1992. Thanks to Norbert Ruebsaat for providing his recordings of an adult raven and a young raven from the Queen Charlotte Islands. All other recordings were made by myself mostly in the Carmanah Valley on Vancouver Island, as well as in forests near Cowichan Lake on Vancouver Island, on Galiano Island and in Lighthouse Park near Vancouver. All sounds were recorded throughout the summer of 1991. Thanks to Peter Grant for assisting in much of the recording process. Special thanks go to David Jaeger, producer of Two New Hours for making this possible and for giving me the opportunity to work in the CBC Radio studio in Toronto. Beneath the Forest Floor received a special mention at Prix Italia 1994 and was recommended for broadcast by the International Music Council’s Rostrum of Electroacoustic Music in 1992.

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