Gong (Cymbal​)​/​Ear in the Desert (2009)

by Philip Corner & Steve Peters



The complete recording was released on CD and digital download by Innova (227) – www.innova.mu/albums/philip-corner/gong-cymbalear-desert

This 11-minute segment was released in 1992 on Volume 5 of The Aerial compilation series (AER1992/5) – www.nseq.org/releases/the-aerial-a-journal-in-sound-5/

In April 1991, composer/Fluxus artist Philip Corner was en route to New York from Indonesia and stopped in Santa Fé to visit. One day we went hiking at Tent Rocks. Philip brought along his trusty Korean shaman cymbals and I packed a portable DAT recorder, stereo mic, and headphones. We had no plan. Philip began prostrated before his cymbals, slowly crawling towards them through the sand, and the rest of our “duet” flowed spontaneously from there. I followed him as unobtrusively as I could, moving in close or backing off, riding the input levels, recording ambient sound when he would wander off into the interior of the canyon.

All of the intimate, tactile details of Philip’s performance are clearly audible: his hands, footsteps, and breath, the tiny sounds of sand on metal, the infinite sonic variety of the cymbals. We hear not only his activity/presence in the landscape, but also his quiet listening to the place itself, leaving room for its own music to be heard: insects, birds, the wind in the trees. It feels to me less like a document of a “performance,” and more like a very specific moment of pure being in time and place that has been exquisitely, miraculously preserved.


released August 11, 2009

Philip Corner: Korean shaman cymbals in the sand

Steve Peters: listener with microphone

Recorded by Steve Peters at Tent Rocks (Kasha-Katuwe), New Mexico, April 22, 1991




Steve Peters Seattle, Washington

I make music and sound using field recordings, acoustic instruments, found/natural objects, electronics, and voices. Much of this work is site-specific or place oriented. Thank you for listening.


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