The Road
2007, 2024
by Dan Senn
To Plasy click photo above to enlarge
For Stereo Speakers and Optional Live ReMix Option.
Total duration ci. 1 hour
. (Program notes below the track files.)

01 Intro, 0'52"

04 Drain, 5'38"

07 Bang, 3'59"

10 Thud, 6'28"

13 Pow, 2'43"

The Road to Plasy
 (2007, 2024) presents 15 recordings of a Too Flutter sound sculpture invented in 1990 and performed by the artist, composer, inventer. It (see here and here) was preceded by a Flutter Harp (see drawing) and evolved from portable acoustic sound sculptures called Too Lips (see here). The Too Flutter could be described as 12 suspended double Too Lips amplified
Click photo to enlarge.

All of my sculptural instruments are made for gallery presentation, patron interactivity, and presentation in live performances.

In 2007, I made stem-by-stem, moth-by-moth (see three balanced moths in the banner photo above), recordings of the Too Flutter with each falling, cascading moth balanced by colorful paper wings, this causing, exact clicking rail-like rhythms on the metal and threaded stem. This sound is amplified by the found resonators and then by the contact microphones routed to external speakers. These rhythmic patterns are further enhanced by clockwise or countrcolockwise turns of the metal rods as seen in the Too Lips here->.
Click to enlarge.

The moths will skid around counterclockwise turns but "jump rails" around clockwise turns providing more complex and louder percussive events. In live performance, the moths are released by long nylon lines used to pull of clips holding 1-3 moths, this beng quite dramatic at times.

As the hardware store washers ("moths") twirl down the rods, rebalanced for rhythmic effect by pretty stickers travelling over straight and curving tracks in trios, duets and on solo runs, oft-times striking each other, they incur percussions along the threaded rods, theese cyclical rails, with this amplified by the nearby resonators (found  objects) each with an unique and unplanned frequency spectrum. This is what you are hearing on the recordings—all quite simple and direct yet exceedingly and beautifully complex in sound, sight and motion.

02 Bands, 0'52"

05 Sand, 2'42"

08 Ratatat, 1'43"

11 Klick-Klack, 2'43"

14 Knuts, 4'42"

The Road to Plasy, is made from these 2007 recordings of my Too Flutter. In 2009, I composed  Mass for Heavy Rail, a work for these recordings and SSAATTBB choir. This updated release was made in April 2024 where the resolution of the online files has been increased to performance quality, the original tracks also improved with current engineering protocols with a renewed thinking applied to the idea of a live remixing option the tracks, i.e., a live remix of subset of these in stereo or quad by others.

The title of this work refers to my second landing in The Czech Republic. The first was in Prague in 1971 when traveling with a touring university choir. The second was in 1998 after an exhibition in Düren, Germany. I had been invited to lecture and perform by the Hermit Foundation located at the ancient Plasy Monastery. To get there I took local trains using rail tracks that were not yet in the best repair. Even so the slow-fast ride to Plasy, through small towns and forests, was enchanting and memorable. Then, when listening to these recordings in 2007, this trip came to mind as did the extraordinary two weeks at Klaster Plasy where I slept on a bare mattress near the Cathedral. This Monastery visit set the stage for my Mass for Heavy Rail built around these recordings.

This is quintessentially a fluxes work. The Too Flutter is handmade using common objects to produce complex musical artifacts. It is a kinetic sculpture made for exhibition or live performance where the instrument effectively acts as the score.
DS 042324

Dan Senn (Prague-Watertown) is an intermedia artist working in music composition and production, kinetic sound sculpture, experimental and documentary film. He has been a professor of music and art in the United States and Australia and travels internationally as a lecturer, performer, producer and  installation artist. He lives in Prague where he directs the Echofluxx festivals, and Watertown, Wisconsin, the USA, with his partner-collaborator, Caroline Senn. Dan's work moves freely between expressive extremes and languages depending on the aesthetic joust at hand. He is cofounder of Roulette Intermedium in New York City, Cascadia Composers of Portland Oregon, and the Echofluxx media festivals in Prague. (read more)

03 Squirrels, 8'13"

06 Wisp, 7'09"

09 Klunk, 2'45"

12 Angels, 5'00"

15 Spinner, 6'02"

Live Performance Options. The 15 tracks here, the titles for which were spontaneous and later replaced by section titles for my liturgical Mass, are at the highest mp3 resolution. The stereo files may be played directly from the site (choose a brower with loudness controls), out of order, recombined willy nilly, some played, others ignored...

For your own listening, use headphones or a capable sound sytem.
Be sure to give attribution to the composer.

Here are some other presentation suggestions.

1. Play straight through the tracks as presented, this lasting 1 hour.
2. Select a subset of the 15 tracks playing them seqentially, in or out of order, one after another.
Select a subset and present them in your own order while mixing and merging these in stereo or quad. Works of 10 to 30 minutes make sense here.

As quad performances are effective, the simplest way is to use two playback devices, one connected to the front two speakers, the other to the rear speakers. While one performer can handle, say, two iPads, two performers would be interesting.

If you desire copies of these tracks for use with clip launching software, like Ableton Live, send an obsequious request to echofluxx (at) gmail dot com.

The banner photo above is from a similar sculptural instrument called a Flutterbye Five. The drawing below is labeled, used to better balance this page.

Early Too Lips drawing