Richard Lerman


Within Earreach

Sonic Journeys

Recorded mostly from hand built microphones

1 Autos, Windharps & Glass 4:48
2 Tree Pieces 2:19
3 Birds 5:18
4 Five Fence Pieces 3:45
5 Takuhon 4:44
6 Cremation Ceremony (Kuta, Bali) 2:58
7 Two Foot Bridges 3:13
8 Rain and Knotted Windharp (Machu Picchu, Peru) 1:45
9 Two Windharps in the Rain (St. John's Harbor, Nfld.) 4:13
10 Three Grass Pieces 2:29
11 Window Screen Pieces 2:19
12 Two Thatched Roofs 3:09
13 Windharps and Thorns (Pisaq, Peru) 2:01
14 Three Cityscapes 4:49
15 Insects 2:28
16 The Pool of St. Helen 1:08
17 Boat Pieces 6:21

Total time: 58:32

ISRC Fi-3AB-05-00002-00018

An Aureobel Production
Artistic Direction Petri Kuljuntausta
© 1994 Lerman / 2005 Aureobel
Produced by 2005 Aureobel

Album includes an essay by Richard Lerman:
"Within Earreach. Sonic Journeys"
+ Flash presentation, writing about the album tracks and a picture

Download sample

Richard Lerman, works in Music, Film, Installations, Performance, and Video. He often constructs functional microphones from diverse materials, and then composes using these transducers to amplify and pick-up sounds of the environment. These site-specific sound pieces allow the sonic flavor of each material to emerge. They also develop strong connections between the recording locations and the installations in which they are used. Recent works combine sounds from his self-built microphones with computer and MIDI techniques.

He has performed and screened his work nationally and internationally since the 1970's. In October 2000, he offered work at the Experimenta 2000 Festival in Buenos Aires, Bariloche and Cordoba, Argentina and in Santiago, Chile. In January 2001, he performed at the Kiasma Museum for the Helsinki Sound 2001 Festival. Other performances and screenings in 2001 occurred in Seattle, Boston and Chicago.

His Travelon Gamelon for amplified bicycles, has been performed in many cities in the US, Europe, New Zealand, 300 times at EXPO 86 and at the 1994 Fringe Festival in Hong Kong. The mobile "Promenade" Version, is scored for 25 to 40 bicycles with riders. Small loudspeakers attached to the handlebars amplify pitch in the spokes as the ensemble rides through the streets. A stationary "Concert" version for 3 upside-down bicycles and 6 performers transforms the bicycles into rhythmic and melodic instruments similar to a SE Asian Gamelan.

Incident at 3 Mile Island for performers, amplified tuning forks and laser light uses visual and sonic images to contrast the difficulties of control and the seductiveness of technology. Changing States uses self-built transducers made of different metals. As these are heated with a small blowtorch, expansion, contraction, and the metals' changing states are heard. Music for Plinky and Straws for small amplified instruments uses straws cut with scissors to create sounds like an organ pipe and plucked string.

His piece, A Matter of Scale was performed inside the Astrodome at the 1986 New Music America Festival in Houston. He performed at sound symposium in Newfoundland and toured New Zealand, Australia and Bali later that year. The Pacific Transducer Series audio and film pieces were produced during this time. 1987 tours of Belgium, Holland and Germany included the premier of his installation A Footnote From Chernobyl at the Contemporary Museum in Bremen and at the Echo II Festival in Eindhoven.

He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Sound Art for 1987-88, and traveled to Argentina and Peru to film and record South America Transducer Series. After visiting Santiago, Chile in June, 1989 he and Mona Higuchi completed Los Desaparecidos, an installation with sound and video about the Disappeared persons, for the Amnesty International USA General Conference in Chicago later that month. Later they collaborated on a performance/installation, Cold Storage at the 1994 Fringe Festival in Hong Kong.

Other collaborations with Ms. Higuchi include Takuhon, an installation with dance along with shakuhachi player, Aki Nakamura presented in Tokyo in 1991 and the installation Kristallnacht at the Klanken an de Dijk Festival in Neerijnen, the Netherlands in 1991 and at Gallery Kdstrich in Mainz, in October, 1993. The former also included his composition Kristallnacht Music for cello and electronics performed by Maria Hal. While in residency at Stichting Steim in Amsterdam, he offered concerts in Belgium and Holland w/ Aki Nakamura. In Fall 93 offered a performance in the Jewish Cemetery at the 4th construction as process festival in Lodz, Poland which was taped for Polish Radio.

Richard Lerman was born in 1944 in San Francisco. He has worked in electronic music since 1963 and taught performance art, film making and sound art at the Boston Museum School from 1973-1994. Lerman has performed at many International and American festivals and has worked with John Driscoll, The Merce Cunningham Dance Co., The Dance Exchange, and others.

Now a Professor of Media and Digital Arts at Arizona State University West, he has also screened his films and videotapes at numerous media centers including Pacific Film Archives, Millennium Film Studies, The London Film Co-op, Grierson State Cinema (Melbourne), Image Forum (Tokyo), and in 1999 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC as part of Big as Life: A History of Super 8 Film in America.

He directed Sound Art at Mobius, a two year series commissioning the work of 13 international sound artists from 1984-86 and also the Sound Art Festival at Mobius, with 18 sound artists collaborating in 10 events in June 1987. He also directed the Sound Culture 'Mini-Festival' 2002 in Phoenix.

He has received Fellowships in New Genres from the Massachusetts Artist's Foundation, the NEA, and most recently, in March 2001, from the Arizona Commission on the Arts for an installation with Mona Higuchi concerning the internment of the native Alaskan Aleut People during WW2. In 1989, he was the recipient of a grant from the Asian Cultural Council for a five month residency in Tokyo.

He has released solo CD’s for Anomalous Records, Artifact, and Folkways/Smithsonian and also has pieces on many compilations. Within Earreach: Sonic Journeys, now out-of-print solo CD, was originally released on the Artifact label in June, 1994.

Within Earreach. Sonic Journeys

In 1984, when I began these pieces, the working title was audio transducer series pieces. The pieces have been recorded either at site-specific sound installations or as soundscapes. I envisioned an open-ended series of sonic explorations which was to be recorded mostly using self-built microphones and transducers. I reasoned that if the human experience of hearing was based on vibrations striking the surface of the ear drum, then we might also experience sound as perceived/recorded through other ear drums. And, since all objects and materials anywhere are vibrated by sound, one could hear the sound coaxed from these "other ear-drums" by creative and investigative recording techniques.

It was in 1978 that I first built piezo electric transducers for Travelon Gamelon, for amplified bicycles. I had entered a world of sound that literally explored m i c r o-phone — small sounds made large. The piezo disks I worked with provided the technical possibilities at a very modest price. Soon, I began to build specific preamps for specific piezo disks, to capture what I felt was the best possible audio. I have investigated hundreds of sources of piezo materials, and used them both as microphones and loudspeakers.

Early transducer pieces involved attaching piezo devices to found objects — including window screens, (brass, bronze and copper), metal sheets, lengths of string (windharps), glass, cards... To my delight, every object so amplified had its own sonic flavor, and also captured sounds from the environment. Later, I began to attach the piezo devices to cactus thorns, leaves and other growing things.

Many of the recording situations in this album provide the listener with visual and sonic images. I hope these pieces make the "microphones", materials, and locations more tangible to the listener. The pieces on the album should be listened to in different sequences, geographical or otherwise. They are now in a sonic order. I will extend this album into live performance using computer and audio technologies. The works were recorded using audio cassette tape, super 8 film, video 8 and a few on dat.

The majority of the pieces were recorded on five separate trips:

  • Newfoundland, Canada, for the Sound Symposium Festival, 1986
  • Australia, Bali and New Zealand, 1986
  • Argentina, Peru and Chile, 1988 and 1989
  • Japan and Hong Kong, 1989 and 1990

I have received grants to support portions of this work from organizations including the Asian Cultural Council, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, Meet the Composer and the Mellon Foundation.

- Richard Lerman

© 2005 Aureobel