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INSCAPES FROM EXILE is a concept album, an electronic composition inspired by the history, myths and legends of New Mexico. The pieces were composed in 1994-95 in Albuquerque and Lauten perceived this two-year period as a double exile, from her place of birth, Paris and her home of adoption, New York.

The music is drone-based - a postminimalist starting point - but what makes it different is the microtonality of its electronic layers. Microtonality is defined as the use of any tuning/temperament other than the standard A=440/equal temperament. The electronic synthesis process includes several types of custom tunings, building rich textures of simultaneous layers. Again, like in TRONIK INVOLUTIONS, Lauten's previous release, no sequencing takes place. Everything is played live, including the spinning 'Barbie's Fugue State'. As a keyboardist, Lauten focuses her art, beyond synthesis, in the playing of the electronic sounds. In most programs used in this work, the amount of pressure applied to the keys triggers slightly different tonal colors (aftertouch) and she is adept at playing the sound from within, letting it trigger an almost organic development of its own characteristics. Lauten was called "the mistress of electronics" (New Hope International, London) and was voted #1 keyboardist in a recent Internet poll (Green Dolphin, April 98). The music on this CD was described as "expanded contrapuntal freedom, couched in unearthly timbres, creating a fluid feeling of stationary motion, hovering busily in space." (Kyle Gann, The Village Voice, review of a performance at Experimental Intermedia, New York).
INSCAPES is a new age landscape music, it is rather a musical journey, a kind of electronic "On The Road', but as usual with Lauten's work there is a sub- text: it is an existential journey more than a physical one, an exploration of inner more than outer reality. There are three levels of exploration: the physical experience of a place (passive), the mental experience connected with it (receptive), and the instrospection triggered by the experience (active). This approach is expressed in the poem THREE RED DOTS (on the CD booklet), preceding the last piece, UNKNOWN PRESENCE AT THE MESA
The first piece, GUSTY WINDS MAY EXIST, is named after an oddly poetic road sign often seen on the highways. A long car ride through barren vistas in the unavoidable prelude to any experience in New Mexico. The focus is on the unseen. In the desert or tundra, one is faced with an almost extra-terrestial reality. The horizon displays itself so widely, opening to space and infinity, and there is a sense of unexplained presence, the nature of which can be left to the imagination - is it the memories of long lost civilizations or visitations of alien or spiritual origin?

The journey starts with Roswell. Here the sub text is the familiar so-called Roswell incident. The story goes: a UFO crashed in Roswell with its alien crew, and some of them may have been alive - all of which was denied by the US Army, but the truth remains a mystery. This story triggers two movements: CHANGING GRAVITY and CLEARLY IDENTIFIED FLOATING OBJECTS. The two "Barbie" pieces, BARBIE'S ABDUCTION and BARBIE'S FUGUE STATE express opposite viewpoints on alien abductions: on the one hand, some people believe they have had an abduction experience which feels real to them; on the other hand, there is a strong possibility that it is only a "fugue state" or amnesiac state in which people temporarily lose track of where they were, why or who they are.

ORDINARY SPATIAL DISTANCE is about the melancholy of adjusting to ordinary reality. The next stop on the journey, entitled QUANTESAURUS, recalls a visit to the petroglyphs or prehistoric stone carvings on deserted hilltops of black volcanic stone, which stand as witnesses of a lost world.

The journey continues through Hispanic pueblos with LOS IN LOS LUNAS. Two or three houses as a restaurant, closed, with a sign on the door: hot food on Tuesdays. Such sites bring on a feeling of exile in space and time, as if one had suddenly and unwittingly been thrown into the past.

The song AT THE SUNDOWN, in memory of Geronimo, was given to the composer by a Sioux soprano, Bonnie Jo Hunt, whom she met during sessions for the TBS documentary THE NATIVE AMERICANS. The arrangement and lyrics are adapted from an early 20th century transcription of the folk song.

The MESA piece was inspired by Chaco Canyon. Chaco is no tourist trap. You have to ride through 25 miles of dirt road before getting to the kivas and ruins of the ancient city, and at dusk it is particularly desolate. The site itself, a very wide canyon carved into red cliffs, is of incredible beauty. The whole experience is overwhelming.

Lauten felt a strong empathy with the Anasazi or "Ancient People". Their presence exuded anger and sadness, a kind of continuous mourning for those who have gone, as there are no more descendants of the Anasazi. In the music, this feeling is expressed by the ghostly flute solo. The sound was created from a series of samples of traditional Indian flute, played by ceremonial artist Ron Sunsinger.

INSCAPES FROM EXILE is Elodie Lauten's 8th release. Elodie Lauten has been described as a seminal figure, one of the leaders of the postminimalist movement (20th Century American Music, Schirmer, 1997), "a force on the experimental music scene" (Fanfare, Spring 98). Over the past 20 years Lauten's various bodies of work - multimedia operas, sound installations, electronic, piano and chamber music - have met critical acclaim in Europe and North America. Recordings have been released by O.O. Discs, Nonsequitur, Tellus, Point/Polygram, Lovely Music, Silenzio and New Tone. Lauten has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, Meet the Composer, and commissions from Lincoln Center, the Soho Baroque Opera, the Queen's Chamber Band, The Lark Ascending, Elinor Coleman Dance Company, David Hockney, etc. A disciple of LaMonte Young and Sri Chinmoy, Lauten has a Masters in Electronic Music Composition from New York University, and has taught/lectured at the New School for Social Research, the Berklee School of Music, Bucknell University, CUNY and New York University.


Label: Frog Peak Music
Collaboration with Melody Sumner Carnahan
Selection: ANSWER
Order from: Frog Peak Music, 52 Green St, Lebanon NH 03766 Tel: 603-448-8837
Frog Peak Music's web site

Melody Sumner Carnahan's cryptic, enigmatic fiction has found form in collaboration with composers and musicians. The new CD release THE TIME IS NOW on Frog Peak includes music by Elodie Lauten, Robert Ashley, Joan LaBarbara, Steven Clark, Marghreta Cordero, Nick Didkovsky, Barbara Golden, Nessie Lessons, Larry Polansky, Brian Reinbolt, Laetitia Sonami and Susan Stone. Lauten's piece, ANSWER, from the DEUS EX MACHINA cycle, features soprano Mary Hurlbut, mezzo-soprano Oreen Zeitlin and flutist Andrew Bolotowsky. The recording was produced by John Schaefer for WNYC New Sounds.


The Boston Visionary Cell Group Exhibition, October 28, 1998
Federal Reserve Gallery, Boston
Installation/interactive performance: THE SOUNDLESS SOUND
Knitting Factory, Monday November 9, 1998 at 9 PM
Elodie Lauten performs INITIATION, an electronically interactive septet, with sopranos Mery Hurlbut and Meredith Borden, flutist Andrew Bolotowsky, violinist Juliann Klopotic, Jon Catler on electric guitar, Johnny Reinhard on bassoon and Elodie Lauten on synthesizers/custom built intruments.

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