Alex Keller and Sean O’Neill
2. The Island That Is Not There
5 June 2020
Alex Keller and Sean O’Neill, longtime stalwarts of the Austin experimental music community, have collaborated in performance and installation pieces since 2015, when they worked together to create a subsonic environment for Christine Sun Kim’s Bounce House and quickly found common ground in their use of repurposed and found technologies. Using field recordings, vintage telephone test equipment, magnetic oscillators, light and space, their work has addressed the agents and artifacts of change in the urban and acoustic realms.
In 2017, following a tour across the American Midwest, a discussion about the work of Japanese architect Tadao Ando led to the development of the piece that would become “Ando.” Keller and O’Neill created a score, divided into five sections that would take shape according to seven distinct parameters related to Ando’s work: contrast, motion, perspective, exterior/interior, texture, functionality, and the corridor as transition. Using a random number generator, they determined to what degree each artist would focus on each parameter across each section of the piece. They would generate this script anew for every performance, thus creating a unique interpretation of the piece every time.
“Ando,” the first of two tracks on this Loma Editions release, is a fixed version of the piece. The second track, “The Island That Is Not There,” captures a performance, recorded live at Thomas Bey William Bailey’s Third Rail series, that employs a similar methodology. Composed of field recordings, live performance recordings, electromagnetic oscillators, and analog and digital synthesis, “Ando” is an expansive and immersive sonic exploration of movement, space, and form.
Alex Keller and Sean O’Neill: field recordings, live performance recordings, electromagnetic oscillators, and analog and digital sound synthesis.
Vanessa Gelvin: cover photo of Tadao Ando’s Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art.
Sean O’Neill: cover design.
Alex Keller: mastering.