music from leaves floating in water
adjacent to Temples in Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan

             POND MOSS   5:08
             WATERSTEM   8:30
             LOTUS TOJI   10:34

looped and overlaid in a perpetual intermix

in conjunction with an installation at
Galerie Omotesando, •\ŽQ“¹‰æ˜L
Tokyo, Japan, June 2008

details ¬

Floating Texture

(C) 2008 Steven Berkowitz / Fluid Musics (634479801198) (format: CD-R)

Classic Ambient / sound environment from art installation, perfect for relaxation, contemplation or inspiration


Floating Texture is a piece that is actually a combination of three separate scores, written to interweave through time. It is very dense and is just as much about the holes between the notes than the harmonies themselves.
This water music is great for relaxation or contemplation yet is compelling and inspires positive thought.  The Floating Texture music is also useful for any physical therapy that requires a relaxed state.

The inspiration for these pieces is photographic series of leaves floating in water. These photos are analyzed by computer and a process called esonificationf is used to translate their structure into sound. More specifically, the placements of the leaves in visual space are used to determine the placement of notes in musical space.  Because the source is organic structure, the resulting music is a very fluid experience.

One detail of the Pond Moss piece is the use of a sample of a Suikinkutsu (a Japanese musical instrument that uses dripping water to play notes) recorded at the Tea House of the Hosen-in Temple in Ohara, outside Kyoto, Japan. All other instruments have some element of a water sound included in their design.

The Pond Moss composition follows the aesthetic of etone clustersf where so many notes are played at once they can no longer be heard as single notes but become part of a ecloud of tonesf with a distinct musical texture. It appears to be monistic with internal plurality.

The Water Stem piece Intersection uses the locations of the stems branching into two sections determine the when sharp sound of dripping water are played.

The Lotus composition is an example of Extended Tonality where the round shapes of the lotus leaves floating in water generate long low tones that float in the air.

All of these pieces also employ a eslow evolutionf through eextended timef.

The environment of the Floating Texture music Lateral Imaging is Extended Time, the time between the ticks of the clock. Berkian music resides in extended time and creates a condition of listening that taps the deepest resources. It removes the listener from present time and place, allowing the imagination to move into new realms.

The slow evolution of the composition invites the listener to pay even closer attention to the details, seducing them into a more intimate relationship with the music. This music links artist and audience, suspending them on a journey of shared emotions and source memories. As with dreams and myths, extended time music can overcome resistance to forgotten powers and images.

The scores from each photo sequence is a different length. All three pieces played as continuous loops on three separate sound systems. The scores line up differently as they loop, creating a Perpetual Intermix, always sounding similar but always different.

This CD is a recording of the mix on one particular day. To experience the real composition you could purchase each individual sound piece and play them on three separate sound systems, spread around the room. This is the way Steven Berkowitz has his living room set up. This is a true multi-media sound experience. Another option is to purchase the DVD Audio version recorded in 5.1 surround sound audio.

The presentation of variations of a single image or related images forces the audience to use eCompound Perceptionf to absorb all the information. This helps remove us from our typical linear mode of thought to employ lateral thinking.

When an image is perceived simultaneously through multiple senses, such as organic patterns of leaves and water presented as photographs and sound, an experience called eSynaesthesiaf can occur. This is a profound ecstatic mood. Since the sound is created by natural patterns the human body begins to vibrate with sympathetic vibrations. This can be a powerful healing force. A resonance is created that intimately connects the artist and audience. This can become an emotional inspiration.

Lateral Imaging is a way of seeing the world. It is a philosophy that links our perception, conception and emotion. Lateral Imaging views the world as a field of coincidental events, each affecting all others, everything connected in an intimate way. The way the 3 scores in the Floating Texture piece intertwine is a model of this philosophy. This is an example of eCompound Perception to realize Lateral Imagingf.


The bottom line of this and all of Stevenfs work is to show how we are totally integrated with our world, not standing outside looking in. The patterns of nature are the same as the patterns of life in general. The patterns of our intellect determine our view of the world, i.e. our world creates us so we can create our world. This unity is the essence of Lateral Imaging.

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Steven Berkowitz is a multi-media artist whose base is photography. He shoots sequence of photographs to capture patterns in nature. He then translates these patterns into sound using a process called esonificationf. When the photos and sound are installed in a gallery together, the same image is presented to both the eyes and ears, presenting the possibility of a esynaestheticf experience. The philosophical base for this work is the concept of eLateral Imagingf that indicates a unified view of the world.

Steven is currently Associate Professor at Tyler School of Art / Temple University. He is the Area Head of Photography in the Department of Art & Art Education.



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