On the 4th and 5th of March as part of Adelaide Fringe 2002 MUSIC OF TRANSPARENT MEANS performed live at SEAS Art Gallery 66 Hindley Street Adelaide

Program cover

The Pythagoreans apparently had a saying: "Learn to be silent - let your quiet mind listen and absorb". As more of a listener than a composer, this serves as an apt introduction to my own intentions as a musician. But despite the saying's suggestion of a Cagean attunement to sound as a perceptual phenomenon, my own project of "listening" is focused rather on a more foundational, even scientific level of sound: the sound of sound itself. This type of focus involves listening not to particular sounds so much as through them.

The chord presented by Music of Transparent Means contains 17 tones, all tuned to particular harmonics of a single fundamental. The "composition" of this chord has not been a process of "creation" so much as one of selection and distillation. Indeed, as each of these harmonics are theoretically present within any given resonant body in the natural world, it may even be said that this chord existed before its apparent "composition".

These 17 tones, all within the space of a "fourth", enter gradually and flock microtonally around a simple 3-note skeleton, allowing one to renounce the usual expectation of change, and commit to an ever-deeper immersion in the experience of this sonic and vibrational object.

Contrary to traditional notions of music, I do not view myself as the source of my art and sound as my "tool"; I prefer to think of sound itself as the source of my art and myself as a medium through which it manifests. Thus, sound is not the means through which I express myself, but rather something prior to my expression, and something to which my expression must remain transparent.

"My expression" here refers to my choice of tones, their entry points, "instrumentation", etc. These things are normally the very "stuff" of music, and they will surely be among the first few things you notice about Music of Transparent Means, but at some point they must be disposed of, they must be made to disappear, for only in their disappearance will the truth of this music be revealed.

Program notes by Alex Carpenter

Fringe show 4/3/02

L-R: Paris Downes, Clare Butler, Melinda Graefe, Stephanie Harrison. Photo by Dara Clayton.

Disappearance #1 (Alex Carpenter)  [Excerpt]


Alice Bignall
Daniel Binks
Clare Butler
Alex Carpenter (Director)
Sam Carpenter
Cambell Davison
Paris Downes
Russell Goodwin
Melinda Graefe
Aleks Habus
Stephanie Harrison
Josh Hartshorne
Tim Martin
Daniel Mohor
Beatrice Stevens
Lindsay Stevens
Tamika White

Alex Carpenter
Russell Goodwin

Kirsty Radestock

Dara Clayton