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Jeff Talman | Under the Sun

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Avant Garde: Sound Art Electronic: Experimental Moods: Type: Sonic
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Under the Sun

by Jeff Talman

The sounds of the Sun, scientifically modeled and scaled to the range of human hearing, are the sole sound sources for this composition of symphonic proportions; a 4-D choreography of spatial sound is featured in this binaural stereo recording.
Genre: Avant Garde: Sound Art
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Under the Sun
42:45 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"And the Sun ever shifts, every moment, the mirage, where advances the delusion."
The Silence, Émile Verhaeren

The Sun roars with thousands of resonant sounds that cease at the vacuum of space. But analysis of the oscillations of the Sun's mass enables scientific reproduction of its sounds. "Under the Sun" features only these modeled solar sounds scaled to the range of human hearing. Working at St. Peter's Church in NYC, the composer retrofitted the solar sonic materials to the site's inherent acoustic properties, which then served as the framework for a quasi-symphonic sound field composition. The building became a giant tuned instrument reverberating with the sound of the Sun. This CD is a record of this installation, formatted in binaural stereo, which will emulate a 4-D presentation of the sound in which spatial disposition, the sonic choreography crucial to the composition is revealed.

Seeking a human sensibility to a celestial phenomenon, the work embodies both meditative and highly dynamic passages as it engages the luminosity and resonance inherent to the church's stunning architecture. Enhanced senses of spatial presence are offered as the cosmic reality of the otherwise space-veiled sounds engages art, architecture, and the radiant solar energy that sustains our lives.

The title of the work relates to the interior of the Sun as the source of solar resonances, but also refers to a passage from Thomas Hardy, who further quotes Ecclesiastes:

"I had a neat stock of fixed opinions, but they dropped away one by one; and the further I get the less sure I am… I perceive there is something wrong somewhere in our social formulas: what it is can only be discovered by men or women with greater insight than mine – if, indeed, they ever discover it – at least in our time. ‘For who knoweth what is good for man in this life? …for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?’"


International artist and composer Jeff Talman has created installations with the sounds of the stars, with the polymetric rhythms of pulsars, with the hum of the Earth, with sounds of the ocean's depths and from that of a single kiss. His installations, often collaborations with scientists, have been presented in Cologne's Cathedral Square, Galleria Mazzini in Genoa, Rothko Chapel, the MIT Media Lab, St, James Cathedral in Chicago, Mt. Wilson Observatory in California and other locations including four installations in the Bavarian Forest. "Under the Sun" is the third CD that preserves the sonic composition involved in his installations.

Astrophysicist Dr. Daniel Huber, as a team member of NASA's Kepler Mission worked at NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute in Mountain View, CA. Viennese by birth, he is a professor at the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii where his primary research is in the structure and evolution of solar-type and low mass stars using techniques such as asteroseismology, optical long-baseline interferometry, spectroscopy and broadband photometry, as well as the study of exoplanets through the characterization of their host stars.

Under the Sun (2018) marks the third collaboration of Daniel Huber and Jeff Talman.


The fugitive moment is source to sonic minutiae that we ignore and relegate to passing time. These moments engender the emergence of recollection. They are a negative space of memory, always awash in an aural backdrop that might be considered "negative sound," which constitutes the sonic framework of the spaces we inhabit. Upon these sonic frameworks we perceive and make ‘normal’ or 'positive' sounds - conversation, music, radio and other desired sounds. Importantly, however, these under-examined backgrounds root us in place. They are always available, if remaining vague or unobserved.

The reiterated sonic resonance of Jeff Talman's installations shifts focus to these aural backdrops while referencing the physical space. Installation-enhanced senses of spatial aural awareness charge the continued inevitable visual senses of space. By invoking a higher level of consciousness of background, the sonic apparentness of a space and a greater sense of self in relation to space are made available.

These site-inscribed sonic fields might be complemented by visual references to the site via video, light and object-art, with an intention to magnify site presence. As matrices of actuality support they are overlapping sensual fields that produce phenomena-charged experience in which constituent parts meld into enhanced, synthetic expressions of place and being.

As phenomenal systems that are vehicles for art, in addition to the context of local space, they are interlaced with conceptual, metaphoric, formal and expressive art potential. The sonic phenomena, in relation to space and visual art components, exhibit gesture and moment form. They are choreographed, embracing time and movement, as well as stasis and point location. They are all-over fields inhabiting four-dimensional space, while often also invoking historical space – as though the walls could speak – as they invite the perceiver to traverse and encounter the site-manifest environment.

An installation becomes an indivisible, reflexive art object, an open-ended self-performance/experience – a time machine at the intersections of sound, architecture, space, object and self – non-existent without the space and that revealed within its silences.



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