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Ellen Fullman's work places you in real world/virtual spaces only possible with surround sound. Margaret Tuned the Radio In Between Two Stations is one of two pieces on Immersion that employs composer-created instruments using unusually long strings. Since 1981 she has composed for her Long String Instrument, which uses strings nearly 100 feet long, filling her warehouse studio. Fullman comments that "In creating the surround sound mix, it was thrilling to hear a recording, for the first time, that envelops the listener, mirroring the live experience of my instrument."
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Paul Dresher also wrote his postminimalist work, Steel, for a unique instrument, the Quadrachord, which he co-invented and constructed. It has four 14-foot long steel strings, with electric bass pick-ups at both ends. He writes that "both ends of the strings are acoustically 'active,' making the Quadrachord's sound inherently spatial. Because of their length, the strings often vibrate sympathetically, imparting a remarkable reverberant quality. This aspect in particular inspired its use in this surround sound composition for Starkland." Dresher, "one of the best post-minimalist composers" (Stereo Review), writes for a wide variety of forms (from experimental music theater to orchestral pieces), tours with his Electro-Acoustic Band, and has had his works performed at the New York Philharmonic, BAM's Next Wave Festival, Minnesota Opera, and five New Music America Festivals.
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Lukas Ligeti co-founded the group Beta Foly, perhaps Africa's only experimental music ensemble combining traditional and electronic instruments. PropellerIsland takes advantage of widely spaced playback speakers to explore his interest in polymetrics. He surrounds you with steel drums, West African balafons, and other percussion in multiple tempos. Every time you listen, the beat elusively shifts and new rhythmic vantage points emerge and recede.
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In her Immersion work, Sayonara Sirenade: 20/21, Pauline Oliveros draws on materials from a 1966 spatially-presented improvisation. "Extracting sounds from the old piece, I used today's software to create new tracks, adding placement and movement. The new piece reveals the depth of field that was missing since that first studio performance. The flatness of stereo became fullness in surround sound. Spatiality becomes the clarifying parameter in composition." Oliveros and her work with improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth, and ritual have been an important influence on American Music for four decades; in 1991 she was awarded a letter of distinction from the American Music Center at New York's Lincoln Center. John Rockwell has written: "On some level, music, sound consciousness and religion are all one, and she would seem to be very close to that level."
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Ingram Marshall's piece for Starkland, Sighs and Murmurs: A SeaSong, is based on his memories of an isolated, "austerely beautiful white farm house which sat like a shining beacon on this rough and tremulous coast" of Nova Scotia. "One's feeling of solitude was tempered by an underlying sense of souls, long departed, who had once dwelt there." You hear murmuring voices, a poignant piano melody, and sea sounds that evoke strangely familiar memories. Marshall's music has been performed by ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and St. Louis Symphony. His music often uses real-time digital processing, and he has widely performed his live electronic music works in Europe and the USA.
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The Immersion DVD ends with an ethereal vocal work from Meredith Monk, a pioneer in what is now called "extended vocal technique" and "interdisciplinary performance." A composer, singer, creator of new opera and music-theatre works, films, and installations, she has created more than 150 works since 1964, and has made twelve recordings (mostly on ECM New Series). Regarding her Starkland piece, Monk writes: "In Eclipse Variations I was interested in the idea of a new sound being revealed when another one disappears - a sonic equivalent of the light or glow coming from behind the shadow of the moon in an eclipse," noting that "the entrances and exits of the singers leave an aural residue which modifies the texture. In surround sound, the piece becomes a suspended ring of sound, with the voices moving across the space, colliding, leaning, and creating beats in the air." With DVD-Audio, you hear Monk's shimmering, seamless vocal layers in a floating, enveloping space never before heard in home sound systems.
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Each piece on the Immersion DVD is accompanied by 5-10 slides shown during playback.

In addition to bios and notes from all the composers, the comprehensive 32-page booklet presents three Introductions from leading new-music critic Kyle Gann, Tomlinson Holman (likely the world's foremost surround sound authority), and the CD's producer, Thomas Steenland, President of Starkland.

The DVD-Audio/Video recording was mastered at Gateway Mastering by Bob Ludwig, a leader in surround sound. Records mastered by Ludwig, one of the world's finest mastering engineers, have been nominated for hundreds of Grammies. In addition to 5.1 surround mixes in both DVD-Audio and DVD-Video formats, the release also provides composer-supervised stereo mixes.

The standard DVD format had the most successful introduction of any consumer electronics product in history. DVD-Audio added high-resolution surround sound. Whereas conventional CDs have been limited to a resolution of 16 bits and a 44.1 kHz sampling rate, DVD-Audio channels can be recorded up to 24 bits and 192 kHz. While regular DVDs also offer surround sound, they use an encoding process that discards most of the sound data. DVD-Audio keeps 100% of the high-resolution material.

With all music commissioned exclusively for high-resolution surround sound, Starkland's Immersion DVD became the first such recording in history. If you're interested in new music, you need to experience Immersion. If you're interested in surround sound, you need to hear Immersion.


  Immersion Cover

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Pamela Z

Bruce Odland

Maggi Payne
  White Turbulence 2000

Carl Stone
  Luong Hai Ky Mi Gia

Phil Kline
  The Housatonic at
    Henry Street

Ellen Fullman
  Margaret Tuned the Radio
   In Between Two Stations

Lukas Ligeti
  Propeller Island

Paul Dresher

Pauline Oliveros
  Sayonara Sirenade 20/21

Paul Dolden
  Twilight's Dance


Ingram Marshall
  Sighs and Murmurs:
    A SeaSong

Meredith Monk
  Eclipse Variations

All pieces were commissioned by Starkland for surround sound and for premiere on this
DVD release.

Introductions: Kyle Gann, Tomlinson Holman,
and Thomas Steenland

Total Time 65:46

This DVD has been authored for playback on all DVD-Video and DVD-Audio players.

DVD-Video playback is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

DVD-Audio playback is high resolution 5.1 surround sound.

Composer-supervised stereo mixes are also included.

All versions play with over 90 images.

There are no Region restrictions. NTSC.


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