Morphine presents Water Above Sky Below Now from pioneering American composer Pauline Oliveros and Ione. An experimental musician and educator, Oliveros is the creator of the deep listening practice -highly attentive full body audition-. She is joined on the album by author, improviser of spoken word and sonic vocals Ione, artistic director of the former Deep Listening Institute founded by Oliveros.
The three-part improvisation was produced using Oliveros’ Expanded Instrument System (EIS), an electronic sound-processing environment that allows improvising musicians to transform their own acoustic input in real time. Here, her specially tuned digital accordion —accompanied by Ione’s vocals and spoken word— is converted via EIS , manipulated, and diffused through multiple channels. “The EIS imperative (and improvisation imperative),” Oliveros writes, “is to listen and respond: spatial relationships and progressions are as important as the traditional parameters of music.”
The release of Water Above… is the latest movement in Oliveros’ six-decade-long career, which began at the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the ’60s and was distinguished with the William Schuman Award for lifetime achievement in 2009. It is Morphine’s third full release of the year, following from Charles Cohen’s Brother I Prove You Wrong. “Go Deep and Listen,” from that LP, is a silent dedication to Oliveros from Cohen, who participated in her workshops.