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Bright and Dusty Things

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Album Review

In 1999, Stephen Vitiello was given a residency on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center (tower one). Gazing at the lights of New York City, he decided he wanted to translate sights into sound. To do so he simply used a photocell to record the luminosity of various points around him and through the windows. A computer assigned sound parameters to the collected data. This interesting process could have generated arid music if applied to the letter. Luckily, Vitiello had something else in mind. He treated the "Light Readings" (the title of three tracks on this CD) as sound sources. He played with them, arranged them, and sculpted them into beautiful sound art pieces. In the studio he used the photocell to improvise with other musicians, waving it around the mixing desk and instruments. The guests include rock guitarist David Tronzo and Pauline Oliveros on accordion (she also appeared on the composer's debut CD, The Light of Falling Cars). All the resulting music is stamped with the influence of the Deep Listening guru. Vitiello tweaked the music after the fact to create an album with a peaceful flow and a sense of purpose that doesn't impose itself. Even though it is still there, you can completely forget about the process and immerse yourself in the music. The composer keeps things simple, tasteful, and ambient, highlighting the players before his own work. Bright & Dusty Things was one of the best, most profoundly moving albums of 2001, regardless of the unsuspected terrorist attack on the World Trade Center that shortly followed its release. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A sound artist based in New York City, Stephen Vitiello started in music as an electric guitarist. His encounter with video artist Nam June Paik propelled him into a different world. Collaborations with Pauline Oliveros, Scanner, and Frances-Marie Uitti helped him gain recognition, but he is mostly known for his photocell recordings of the World Trade Center, for which he enjoyed (although the word seems out of place) some media attention following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Vitiello's...
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Bright and Dusty Things, Stephen Vitiello
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