Since the early 1980s, Ellen Fullman has been perfecting her Long String Instrument. This unique instrument of her own design is some 80 feet in length and played by literally walking through it. The resulting sounds are beautiful gliding tones with a rich harmonic content.
The CD presents two works from her time in Austin, Texas in the late 1980’s which beautifully display a sound you can get inside of. These long tracks envelope you in their cascading overtones. Even though she has performed widely in the United States and Europe, this is only Ellen’s third solo CD, following previous releases on XI Records and New Albion.
So hearing these gorgeous and important pieces from her archive is cause for celebration. “‘Staggered Stasis’ (1989) was commissioned by the Deborah Hay Dance Company for part 1, ‘The Navigator’ in Hay’s trilogy, ‘The Man Who Grew Common In Wisdom’. Microtonal shifts in the colouring occur in a staggered fashion, traveling on an axis of Pythagorean intervals, (the circle of fifths). Chords created by stacking 3/2s, or fifths, are referred to as ‘suspended chords’. There is a flatness in this drama, what I imagine it must be like in the middle of an ocean, continually moving yet appearing the same. The four part score was plotted on a timeline. Each track was recorded and performed by myself. An excerpt of ‘Staggered Stasis’ was released on the Aerial CD series. ‘Duration’ (1986) was composed as a 13-limit study for the Long String Instrument, in the key of C. The fundamental tone is continually sounded, under chords constructed with pitches from the overtone series. The intention of the piece was to listen to the variations within each chord, as it is sounded continually while the performer walked the length of the instrument. As the performer’s position changes, one clearly hears a cascade of overtones. ‘Duration’ was never previously released. The original recordings were made direct to a PCM digital processor using a vintage AKG C24 stereo tube condenser microphone placed about 15 feet from the resonators.” – Ellen Fullman.