Stemming the Plumb & Rooting the Onion (field document)

by Shawn Edward Hansen

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about

S.T.E.M.
Suspend Time and Extend the Moment

This was an exercise I did as a kid when playing under the sycamore tree out back. I practiced with some fine dirt sediment at the base of the tree where the roots began to spread out. The dust was fine but heavy. I would take a handful of the dust and let it pour out of my hand focusing on the speed of the dirt traveling back to the Earth. I practiced slowing down the drop time, using concentration and an unfocused intake of perception to unfold the distance.

In 2001, I was re-approaching the piano and wanting to let my improvising method slow down and find new avenues of concentration. I remembered my earlier STEM practice and I developed a technique of playing a single note and listening to it decay and expelling all possible "next" notes as it decayed. Once the note was gone from the ear and mind, it was time to play the next note, starting the meditation again. Each note was a piece of its own, a starting and ending, as well as a piece of an infinite melody.

The recording here, is an early field recording document from the summer of 2001. These notes are written on a scroll of paper and I still use this scroll today to STEM in live performance situations.

The sections labeled "ROOT" are attempts at hearing the vertical harmonic qualities of small sections of the STEM melodies, and how that harmonic density would decay, basically folding the STEMS ontop of each other.

This "rooting" has been accomplished more recently in live situations with a sound on sound tape delay.

credits

released August 1, 2001

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about

Shawn Edward Hansen Kansas City, Missouri

1984 marks the beginning of Shawn's experiments with the imaginary world and the borders to others when he first broadcast the radio station, KJEA in Kansas City.

He is a product of the BARD school of sound, having studied with Maryanne Amacher, Richard Teitelbaum, and George Lewis among others. Since, he has created music and thought structures along the fringe of the conventional arts.
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