Electronic Music / Audio-Visual / Video
“Where do we go from here? Towards theatre. That art more than music resembles nature. We have eyes as well as ears, and it is our business while we are alive to use them.” – John Cage
Bell(n) was originally created in 1994 as an electronic music work, a sonic journey through the timbres of bells. Bells and bowls were collected from all over the world: Japan, Tibet, India and recorded, processed, manipulated through the aid of digital sampling techniques. Combined with synthesized bell sounds, appropriately through the incorporation of FM synthesis, the result is a collage, more a celebration of the rich sounds of these instruments, their mysterious almost magical quality, the extraordinary sense of ancient ritual embodied in their reverberation.
The same year, in collaboration with light show artist Glenn McKay, who worked with Jefferson Airplane among others in the 1960s, together we created an audio-visual version of Bell(n). The work was presented at the Bayfront Theater in San Francisco with a live performance of the music by percussionists Don Baker and Dan Kennedy. Bell(n) was performed as part of the Percussion Currents festival, which also featured Indian percussionist Zakir Hussein and the third and final installment of the John Cage Memorial Concert.
In 1996, in collaboration with video artist Dave Berry, we created a music-video version which is included below. Through all of these permutations of Bell(n), the sounds of bells served as a musical thread that united the various multimedia realizations. The experience of reverberating bells has its counterpoint in the visual realm, where light, movement, transformation, and color resonate in the imagination.
Bell(n) was composed by Randall Packer, performed by Don Baker and Daniel Kennedy, with live bells collaged with sampled and synthesized bell sounds.
Video by Dave Berry, music by Randall Packer: a collage of desert imagery and morphing stone-carved imagery of ancient figures, combined with the timeless sounds of bells.