Chuck Johnson is a composer, producer, and musician residing in Oakland, California. He approaches his work with an ear towards finding faults and instabilities that might reveal latent beauty, with a focus on pedal steel guitar, experimental electronics, alternate tuning systems, and composing for film and television.
JWPATON is a Yuin musician based in Western Sydney. He uses alternative sounds and field recordings from both the natural and the human-made worlds to create rich, thick, time-stretched padded ambience.
Tangled mirror yarn was composed in response to Sol LeWitt’s Wall drawing #955, Loopy Doopy (red and purple) (2000), installed in the John Kaldor Family Hall at the Art Gallery of NSW, as an enhanced audio reading of LeWitt’s work.
Tangled mirror yarn was recorded in our respective homes in Oakland, California, and on Darug Country in Western Sydney. It began with each of us sending the other sounds that were inspired by the ‘Loopy Doopy’ drawing and the works of the central desert artists that share the gallery space with the LeWitt work. We then processed each other’s sounds until we had the building blocks that could be sequenced and mixed into the final arrangement. We took special inspiration from knowing people who have installed the LeWitt work in the past who have said that the installers sometimes take Tylenol to help cope with the intense effect of the scale, colour, and height of the work. We try to recall this feeling of dizzying disorientation in certain passages, as well as moments of calm and relief that comes with a shift in perspective.
Our process began with sounds and sonic textures rather than notes or chords, so the entire work is based in listening.
Listening as a practice—in the sense that Pauline Oliveros taught it—sometimes involves holding the entirety of your sonic environment within your attention, in a way that doesn’t focus specifically on any discrete sounds. It can be as though everything that you hear in any given moment can be heard as a composition. It is similar to inhabiting the space with the LeWitt drawing and the paintings of Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Gloria Tamerre Petyarre that are currently in the main gallery at AGNSW in that it’s impossible to see all of it at the same time. And yet the works are in dialogue, and are part of a greater whole. Chuck Johnson