Boomkat Product Review:
Pauline Oliveros’ astonishing drone classicism finally surfaces on vinyl for a definitive 30th anniversary edition newly expanded with material from the slightly later but related ‘The Readymade Boomerang’ album.
Recorded in 1989 in a cistern with a 45” reverb, located 14 feet below the ground in Seattle, ‘Deep Listening’ is a masterclass of intuitively divined harmony helmed by one of the 20th century’s most revered composers, accordionists and musical thinkers; Pauline Oliveros. Accompanied by her long-time Deep Listening Band collaborators Stuart Dempster (trombone, hosepipe, conch shell, didjeridu) and Peter Ward a.k.a. Panaiotis (voice, whistling), the trio generate an utterly atavistic yet future-facing music that sounds convincingly electronic but is actually entirely acoustic in origin, and is likely to leave deep listening types floored at their conception of in-the-moment composition.
Like the plangent call of mother earth lamenting for the ages, it’s hard to avoid comparisons for this record with events practically beyond human conception. Of course, it’s just three people in a very echoic space, but the results directly speak to our sixth senses in a way that really escapes concrete classification and can really only be grasped at the most elusive, spiritual level - unless you want to get into the physics of acoustic phenomenology and psychology, and to be fair that might spoil the effect. Instead, we recommend finding time and space to give this album your full attention - preferably at night, when conditions are similar to the darkness the performers experienced in the cistern - and feel yourself dematerialised, like their sounds, into a perceptive state of pure, finely graded vibrational decay and harmonic mystery.