Electric Songs: Bob Gluck (saz, shofar, and electronics)



Track List:

'Zamir' (2003), for saz and electronics

'Sshofar' (2002), for shofar and electronics

'Doina' (2003), for saz and electronics (percussion samples by Ben Chadabe)

'Sshofar' (2003), for shofar and electronics

'Interlude' (2003), for saz and electronics

'Shofaralong' (2001), for shofar and electronics

'Electric Songs I, II , III' (2002), for voice and electronics (Zoe Zak, live and recorded voice)

'Cape Cod Imaginary Landscape' (1974), musique concrete


The Compositions: I have long missed the incorporation of physical gestures, so characteristic of acoustical instrumental performance, in electronic musical practice. These recordings are representative of my recent concerts, in which I have been exploring ways to expand electronic musical performance technique, while extending the natural sonic characteristics of acoustical instruments. Realtime digital processing of the instrumental sounds are layered and mixed to create complex, evolving sound collages. The performances have been edited for clarity, yet all layered sounds are mixed live in performance, sometimes including prerecorded sound material that is triggered by instrumental performance; there are no studio overdubs. The saz solos, 'Doina' and 'Zamir', are abstractions of traditional Jewish musical forms. Doina draws from the klezmer literature; Zamir is a setting of a Sephardic Jewish melody for 'Tzur Mishelo', a traditional Sabbath dinner table melody. 'Electric Songs' is a three movement setting of Jewish liturgical texts for multiple banks of recorded vocal sounds, voice, and digitally processed voice. The middle section is an abstraction of the biblical narrative, 'The Binding of Isaac', scored for digitally processed voice. 'Cape Cod Imaginary Landscape' is the first electronic music work I composed, as a student of Donald Funes at the Crane School of Music.

The Instruments: The saz is a classical Turkish long-neck stringed instrument in the lute family. This 'eSaz' has been fitted with I-Cube sensors that measure finger pressure and position. They are placed on the sides of the neck and on the body of the saz, to allow simultaneous control over multiple parameters. The shofar (ram's horn) is an ancient instrument whose purpose is not strictly musical. The shofar blast - in our day, mostly limited to the Jewish High Holy Days - provides a call to reflection, an alarm, a wake-up call. The 'eShofar' sounds are amplified, recorded live, and digitally filtered in realtime. The processing is controlled by finger movements within an I-Cube sensor glove worn on the hand that holds the shofar. The goal is to listen 'inside' the sound of the shofar. eBoard is a home designed and built interactive electronic musical instrument, created by Bob Gluck, using I-Cube sensors and digitizer. Musical materials include sound samples manipulated in real-time, a 'Dulci-harp' electric stringed instrument, and computer models of a flute and a stringed instrument. The eBoard is played by the placement of one's fingers along various positions on the instrument, tilting the instrument, and plucking a group of four dulcimer strings attached with parts from a violin and an electric guitar. Bob Gluck custom designs his live electronic performance systems using Max / MSP software, A Digitech Control 8 pedal board is used to shape the mix and toggle between sensor assignments.

Many thanks to: my family for their support and encouragement, Joel Chadabe, Curtis Bahn and Neil Rolnick, David Zicarelli and everyone at Cycling74, Axel Mulder and the people at Infusion Systems, Perry Cook, Dan Trueman and R. Luke Dubois for the software physical flute model, and Benjamin Chadabe for the bell sound sample and for his fabulous percussion that has been an important component in my recent concerts. Carolyn Funes, Aileen and Stan Gluck, Arnie Gluck, Rita Lerman, Peter Schubin and Rachel Civens and Mark Haag helped make this CD possible. I am greatly indebted to the music and aesthetic perspectives of Keith Jarrett, Ozan Firat, Miles Davis / Ted Macero, Josef Zawinul and Jimi Hendrix. Thanks to Zoe Zak for her contributions to my past two years of concertizing, 'Cape Cod Imaginary Landscape' is included in loving memory of my late teacher and friend, Don Funes.

Bios (2004)

Bob Gluck is a composer and performer of interactive sound installation and performance, and electroacoustic soundscape composition. His current work includes the sound installation 'Sounds of a Community', in which visitors trigger and shape recorded sounds by interacting with electronic musical sculptures, and performances featuring home-built and retrofit sensor-based electronic instruments. Gluck's previous recording, 'Stories Heard and Retold' (1998, EMF 008), is a series of sonic collages relating to Jewish life. His musical training is from the Julliard, Manhattan, and Crane schools of Music, the State University of New York at Albany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His music has been performed in Austria, Berlin, Boston, New York ... His work has been discussed and reviewed in the Computer Music Journal, Moment, The Forward, Reconstructionism Today, Hadassah Magazine ... Gluck is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of the Electronic Music Studio at The University at Albany, and Associate Director at the Electronic Music Foundation. He is also a Reconstructionist rabbi. More info: http://www.electricsongs.com.

Zoe B. Zak's music has been described as "blurring the line between praying and playing." Her music invites the listener to journey where the ancient and the modern meet in a seamless and unique musical experience. Zoe was commissioned to write the music for Conference of the Birds, a musical interpretation of the work of Sufi poet Attar, which premiered in July at Bird-On-A-Cliff Theater in Woodstock, NY. She has two dozen CDs to her credit, as composer, performer, and producer, most recently Zoe B. Zak (with the Zoe B. Zak Ensemble), a recording of ancient Hebrew texts woven into modern settings; Come, My Friend (with Rabbi Jonathan Kligler), traditional songs and prayers for Shabbat and Havdalah, and the soundtrack for Conference of the Birds. Zoe performs regularly both as a solo artist and with her ensemble ZAK & SONS. More info: http://www.zoebzak.com.

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