History - Sounds That Art Makes (1987)
September 25 - 26, 1987 - Art Barn, Salt Lake City, Utah

History | History Text | History Posters | 1987 | Sounds That Art Makes | Poster | Program | Video Program
Charles Amirkhanian (1987)

Music Written & Performed by: Charles Amirkhanian
Location: Art Barn, Salt Lake City, Utah
Length: 7:33 minutes
Since 1965 Charles Amirkhanian has made use of speech as a primary element in his music, which, also is informed by his background as a percussionist and his fifteen years in front of a radio microphone (as Music Director of KPFA, Berkeley). After writing extensively for percussion ensembles from 1961 to 1969, his work turned primarily to the tape medium. Using the recording studio as a compositional tool, he incorporates tape loops, tape delay, multi-track layering, digital modulation and synthetic and acoustic percussion tracks in combination with ambient sound recording to produce enigmatic wordscapes characterized by intense rhythmic activity and abstract objectification of words into sound objects.

From the literary point-of-view, he was influenced by the prose and poetry of Gertrude Stein and the non syntactical extensions of her ideas in the work of Clark Coolidge. Musically, in 1971 he developed his current style of restless minimalism in which repeated figures are sustained for only short periods of time before giving way to other expansive variations on similar themes. Since 1974, Amirkhanian has collaborated with artist Carol Law to create performance works which include image projections via slides and film.

Amirkhanian's text-sound works have been incorporated into performance by the Ballet Rambert (London). Margaret Fisher, Nancy Karp & Dance, and Anna Halprin. He has received commission from The Arch Ensemble (chamber orchestra). Fylkingen (Stockholm). VPRO Radio (Holland), ZBS Media, The Wilderness Foundation. The New Arts Foundation, Radio KOPN (Columbia, Missouri). Newport Harbor Art Museum, West German Radio (Koin) and the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. His work has been published numerous record and tape anthologies both in the United States and Europe.

Specifically, his work is available on two LP's from 1750 Arch Records: Lexical Music and 10+2=12 American Text-Sound Compositions. A third album, Mental Radio, was released by Composers Recordings, Inc. (CRI SD 523) in 1985.