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--New York Times
Light becomes sight becomes sound becomes music. New York-based installationist and sound artist Stephen Vitiello steps out as a composer in his own right, after years of collaborations with artists, musicians and choreographers including Nam June Paik, Scanner, Pauline Oliveros, Tony Oursler and Constance De Jong, Joan Jeanrenaud, Frances-Marie Uitti and many others.
During his "WorldViews" residency at the World Trade Center in 1999 (the first media artist to be invited by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and ThunderGulch), Vitiello was inspired by nightviews of the cityscape -- billboards, harbor lights, police cars -- to translate/amplify the visual into a sonic experience. Collaborating with noted sound technician Bob Bielecki, Vitiello developed the photocell controller, which translates the vibration (color, speed) of lights into tones.
Having thus captured the genie, Vitiello's sounds were further processed both in computer and in live musical collaboration with avant/improv friends David Tronzo and Pauline Oliveros (among others), musical geniuses in their own right. The result is a flowing, gorgeous set of sound/song pieces constantly alternating between noise and tone, between lyricism and disturbance.
"Bright and Dusty Things" at times recalls the drones of soundfield pioneers (La Monte Young, Michael Snow, Tony Conrad), the handmade imperfect loose wired contraptions of Fluxus artists (Kosugi), and the microcosmos glitchwerk explorations of younger European and Japanese artists.
A collection of 11 tracks dense with mystery and alien logic, consistently both alluring and elusive.... shouldn't be misconstrued as wilfully abstract, however. Even the ten minute-plus "Light Readings" is masterfully edited, describing a wandering melodic arc that reveals its shape in a similar way as the freeform alap portion that begins an Indain raga. Other tracks coalesce into something like new songforms, particularly those abetted by David Tronzo's guitar playing. Multiple bottleneck phrases unspool, then reverse upon themselves above muted arpeggiations constructed by Vitiello from fragments of Rebecca Moore's violin. The net effect is unsettling, yet arresting, as is each entry in Vitiello's presciently titled catalogue of bright and dusty things.
(Bright and Dusty Things is a Wire selection for Best Of 2001 in the "Outer Limits" category)
1. Crossing Her Eyes and Sneezing 4:53
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