Field Recordings is an ongoing major multimedia project featuring commissioned works by Tyondai Braxton, Mira Calix, Anna Clyne, Dan Deacon, Bryce Dessner, Florent Ghys, Michael Gordon, Jóhann Jóhannsson, David Lang, Alvin Lucier, Christian Marclay, Paula Matthusen, Richard Reed Parry, Steve Reich, Todd Reynolds, Daniel Wohl, Julia Wolfe, and Nick Zammuto.
Says David Lang: “Field Recordings is a kind of ghost story. We asked composers from different parts of the music world to find a recording of something that already exists – a voice, a sound, a faded scrap of melody – and then write a new piece around it. And so they did.”
For 135 years recorded sound has permeated every corner of our lives, changing music along with everything else. Bartok and Kodaly took recording devices into the hills of central Europe and modern music was never the same; rock and roll’s lineage comes from artists revealed to the world by the Lomaxes, the Seegers, and other archivists. Hip-hop culture democratized sampling: popular music today is a form of musique concrète, the voices & rhythms of the past mixing with the sound of machinery and electronics. For our own Field Recordings we’ve asked fourteen composers (and counting) to go into the field of recorded sound itself – to find something old or record something new, and to respond with their own music, in dialogue with what they found. Using archival audio, found sound and video, Field Recordings builds a bridge between the seen and the unseen, the present and absent, the present and the past, channeled through the “unstoppable, sexy, and loud” Bang on a Can All-Stars.