May 29, 2016
907 North Austin St
In the 1960s Alvin Lucier read a pioneering book on echolocation by Donald Griffin, which traced how bats measure distance by detecting interference patterns of reflected sound.
After happening across a device called a Sondol, or sonar-dolphin, Lucier found a way of translating these natural processes to music by tasking performers to navigate and map a space using the hand-held pulse generators. In bringing Vespers to the outdoor amphitheater of Mimms Ranch, located on a hill with a panoramic view of the Chihuahuan Desert plateau, this work creates, in Lucier’s words, an “acoustic signature, as if one were taking a slow sound photograph over a long period of time.” Referring simultaneously to a type of bat and the sunset evening prayer service of certain Catholic liturgies of the canonical hours, the performance began as the light started to wane.
Erik DeLuca (leader)
Complete Score (1969) and Interview with Lucier: