In Long Distance Music, composers Max Eilbacher and Stefan Maier explore listening and composition across vast geographic distances. Drawing on Maryanne Amacher’s text-scores of the same name, Eilbacher and Maier reinterpret Amacher’s call for “new awarenesses” beyond normative spatial listening and investigate the prospect of telematic listening in the contemporary moment of supposed unprecedented “interconnectedness.”

Having emailed on-and-off for a number of years with the intention of eventually collaborating, the duo’s attempts at working together were continually frustrated by competing projects, touring schedules, and, most of all, by the fact that Eilbacher and Maier do not live in the same city. Long Distance Music thematizes this frustration and materializes the conditions of their inability to collaborate in-person through sound.

Work began with Eilbacher and Maier exploring the material differences between specific spaces — places of leisure, work and commerce — in their native homes of Baltimore and Vancouver, respectively. Over a number of months, this research was documented through time-sync’d field recordings of harbours, stadiums, casinos, business districts, their day-jobs and studios, among others. These recordings later became “backing tracks” for time-sync’d telematic improvisation sessions. Here, Eilbacher and Maier would improvise alongside the other’s field recordings, attempting to play “together” despite not being able to hear what the other was playing.

To augment these encumbered attempts at real-time collaboration, the duo developed different strategies to enhance and develop long-distance listening which included commissioning custom software by Victor Shepardson for each to use. Internalizing Amacher’s contention that the manifold conditions of a place — the geographic, acoustic and social factors that constitute a space — all contribute to the resultant sonic characteristics in a highly specific and perceptible manner, Shepardson’s software translated nuanced sonic information into Eilbacher and Maier’s synthesizers so as to directly condition and influence their playing. At the same time, deep-listening meditation sessions were conducted before each recording and improvisation session, wherein the duo attempted to connect cognitively and further embody new psychic awarenesses despite the glaring reality of geographic impasse.

Following these “enhanced” time-sync’d sessions, the duo mixed both field recordings and improvisations simultaneously so as to make audible the differences between place and their respective improvisational decisions at all times. The finished work consists of a single 20 minute piece assembled and mixed from the material recorded and generated from the five locations. In addition to the long form piece, available for download are each location/improvisation mixed down by Eilbacher and Maier. These 10 mixes are the sub mixes of each location that were then utilized to sculpt the long form piece. A conversation about the work and process between Maier and Eilbacher is also available in PDF.

Recording/Improvisation Sessions

Places of Work

Intellijel Designs Inc. (Vancouver, CA) – 03-27-2018

Notam studios (Oslo, NO) – 05-08-2018

Bar Clavel (Baltimore, MD) – 03-27-2018

315 E 33rd Studio (Baltimore, MD) – 05-08-2018

Harbour

Oslo Port Authority (Oslo, NO) – 05-09-2018

Deep Blue studios (Vancouver, CA) – 06-07-2018

Inner Harbor Tourist District (Baltimore, MD) – 05-09-2018

315 E 33rd Studio (Baltimore, MD) – 06-07-2018

Business District

Bank of Montreal (Vancouver, CA) – 06-06-2018

Deep Blue studios (Vancouver, CA) – 06-07-2018

East Baltimore Street Subway Stop(Baltimore, MD) 06-06-2018

315 E 33rd Studio (Baltimore, MD) – 06-07-2018

Stadium

BC Place (Vancouver, CA) – 06-06-2018

Bard College (Hudson, US) – 06-10-2018

M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD) – 06-06-2018

Attic Studio (Baltimore, MD) – 06-10-2018

Casino

Edgewater Casino (Vancouver, CA) – 06-06-2018

Bard College (Hudson, US) – 06-10-2018

Horseshoe Casino (Baltimore, MD) – 06-06-2018

315 E 33rd Studio (Baltimore, MD) – 06-10-2018

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