Release Date: August 28, 2020
Catalog #: RR8040
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Chamber
Electronic
Percussion

Six Ecoacoustic Quintets / Avian Telemetry

Matthew Burtner composer

The Furman University Percussion Ensemble

Ravello Records is proud to release SIX ECOACOUSTIC QUINTETS / AVIAN TELEMETRY, the newest album from Matthew Burtner. In collaboration with Omar Carmenates, the Furman Percussion Ensemble, and the Shi Center for Sustainability, Burtner’s compositions incorporate avian biology, soundscape ecology, romantic-period British poetry, ecoacoustic music, and avant-garde percussion performance. And if you find all that surprising, you’re not familiar with the work of these two innovative groups.

Six Ecoacoustic Quintets is an in-depth exploration of the elemental relationships humankind shares with nature and the environment. With sensuous clarity, we hear the sounds of water splashing and lapping, of stones clattering, of air whispering—all noises so fundamental that the ear recognizes them with prehistoric instinctiveness. Joining these natural elements are percussion instruments and electronics which, together, express the complexities of human nature.

Just as stirring is Avian Telemetry, a piece based on the study of bird songs, and particularly the finding that these songs have risen in pitch over the years. Again, these sounds from nature are interwoven with electronic music and avant-garde percussion performance. This time, another surprising element is added to the mix: British Romantic-era poetry. The stanzas drift throughout the performance, helping to direct the mood through subtle suggestion.

This latest release from Burtner pairs the keen sensibilities of two formidable artists. The result is a body of music that is rooted in the incomparable gravity and timelessness of nature itself. A powerful statement about humankind’s place in the ecological world and the responsibility that comes with it, SIX ECOACOUSTIC QUINTETS / AVIAN TELEMETRY is a collection of music that will dare you to listen closely to the world around you.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 6 Ecoacoustic Quintets: No. 1, Water (Ice) Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Stephen Bevels, Nick Bruce, Hannah Carlson, Justin Lamb, Rebecca McDaniel, Ryan Patterson, Emily Salgado; Omar Carmenates, percussion soloist 4:48
02 6 Ecoacoustic Quintets: No. 2, Wood (Pitch) Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Stephen Bevels, Nick Bruce, Hannah Carlson, Justin Lamb, Rebecca McDaniel, Ryan Patterson, Emily Salgado; Omar Carmenates, percussion soloist 5:46
03 6 Ecoacoustic Quintets: No. 3, Stone (Sand) Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Stephen Bevels, Nick Bruce, Hannah Carlson, Justin Lamb, Rebecca McDaniel, Ryan Patterson, Emily Salgado; Omar Carmenates, percussion soloist 6:09
04 6 Ecoacoustic Quintets: No. 4, Metal (Noise) Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Stephen Bevels, Nick Bruce, Hannah Carlson, Justin Lamb, Rebecca McDaniel, Ryan Patterson, Emily Salgado; Omar Carmenates, percussion soloist 6:07
05 6 Ecoacoustic Quintets: No. 5, Air (Breath) Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Stephen Bevels, Nick Bruce, Hannah Carlson, Justin Lamb, Rebecca McDaniel, Ryan Patterson, Emily Salgado; Omar Carmenates, percussion soloist 7:04
06 6 Ecoacoustic Quintets: No. 6, Skin (Bones) Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Stephen Bevels, Nick Bruce, Hannah Carlson, Justin Lamb, Rebecca McDaniel, Ryan Patterson, Emily Salgado; Omar Carmenates, percussion soloist 4:28
07 Avian Telemetry: I. Songscape Anthrophony Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Kirsten Baker, Omar Carmenates, Hannah Gibson, Kam Jacoby, Tyler King, David Lord, Austen Pruner, Matthew Sandridge, Sam Sherer, Sean Simmons, Colin Smith, Christian Walters; Michele Speitz, narrator 2:53
08 Avian Telemetry: II. Aeolian Poetics Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Kirsten Baker, Omar Carmenates, Hannah Gibson, Kam Jacoby, Tyler King, David Lord, Austen Pruner, Matthew Sandridge, Sam Sherer, Sean Simmons, Colin Smith, Christian Walters; Michele Speitz, narrator 4:18
09 Avian Telemetry: III. Avian Telemetry Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Kirsten Baker, Omar Carmenates, Hannah Gibson, Kam Jacoby, Tyler King, David Lord, Austen Pruner, Matthew Sandridge, Sam Sherer, Sean Simmons, Colin Smith, Christian Walters; Michele Speitz, narrator 3:19
10 Avian Telemetry: IV. Transliteration No. 1 "Song Thrush" Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Kirsten Baker, Omar Carmenates, Hannah Gibson, Kam Jacoby, Tyler King, David Lord, Austen Pruner, Matthew Sandridge, Sam Sherer, Sean Simmons, Colin Smith, Christian Walters; Michele Speitz, narrator 2:54
11 Avian Telemetry: V. Transliteration No. 2 "Ecologies of Sound in Nature Cultures" Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Kirsten Baker, Omar Carmenates, Hannah Gibson, Kam Jacoby, Tyler King, David Lord, Austen Pruner, Matthew Sandridge, Sam Sherer, Sean Simmons, Colin Smith, Christian Walters; Michele Speitz, narrator 6:02
12 Avian Telemetry: VI. Transliteration No. 3 "Skylark" Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Kirsten Baker, Omar Carmenates, Hannah Gibson, Kam Jacoby, Tyler King, David Lord, Austen Pruner, Matthew Sandridge, Sam Sherer, Sean Simmons, Colin Smith, Christian Walters; Michele Speitz, narrator 3:40
13 Avian Telemetry: VII. Transliteration No. 4 "Landrail" Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Kirsten Baker, Omar Carmenates, Hannah Gibson, Kam Jacoby, Tyler King, David Lord, Austen Pruner, Matthew Sandridge, Sam Sherer, Sean Simmons, Colin Smith, Christian Walters; Michele Speitz, narrator 2:37
14 Avian Telemetry: VIII. Birds Why Are Ye Silent? Matthew Burtner The Furman University Percussion Ensemble | Kirsten Baker, Omar Carmenates, Hannah Gibson, Kam Jacoby, Tyler King, David Lord, Austen Pruner, Matthew Sandridge, Sam Sherer, Sean Simmons, Colin Smith, Christian Walters; Michele Speitz, narrator 4:09

SIX ECOACOUSTIC QUINTETS
Recorded January 28-29, 2015 in Daniel Recital Hall at Furman University in Greenville SC
Recording Session Engineer John W. Parks IV, Garnet House Productions, LLC
Recording Session Producers Omar Carmenates, Matthew Burtner
Editing and Mixing John W. Parks IV, Matthew Burtner
Student Research Fellows Tyler King, Beth Fraser, Kate Stevens

Funding provided by The David E. Shi Center for Sustainability, The Furman Research and Professional Growth Program, The Furman University Student Government Association

AVIAN TELEMETRY
Recorded May 9, 2019 in Daniel Recital Hall at Furman University in Greenville SC
Recording Session Engineer Brian Nozny
Recording Session Producers Omar Carmenates, Matthew Burtner, John Quinn
Editing and Mixing Brian Nozny, Omar Carmenates
Mastering John W. Parks IV
Booklet photography Jeremy Fleming | jeremyfleming.com

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Lewis

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

Matthew Burtner

Composer

Matthew Burtner is an Alaskan-born composer and sound artist. An IDEA Award winner and first prize winner of the Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music composition, is an Alaskan-born composer and sound artist whose work explores embodiment, ecology, polytemporality, and noise. His music has been performed in concerts around the world and featured by organizations such as NASA, PBS NewsHour, the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the BBC, the U.S. State Department under President Obama, and National Geographic. He has published three intermedia climate change works including the IDEA Award–winning telematic opera, Auksalaq. In 2020 he received an Emmy Award for “Composing Music with Snow and Glaciers,” a feature on his Glacier Music by Alaska Public Media.

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Omar Carmenates

Percussionist

Omar Carmenates is currently the Associate Professor of Percussion at Furman University in Greenville SC. He holds a Doctor of Music degree from Florida State University, a Master of Music Degree in Percussion Performance from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Central Florida.

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Michele Speitz

Michele Speitz

Narrator

Michele Speitz is Associate Professor of Romantic Literature and Culture at Furman University and Director of the Furman Humanities Center. She is Editor of Romantic Circles Scholarly Editions, and is currently working with Alan Liu (University of California at Santa Barbara) to establish and advance Critical Infrastructure Studies (CIS.org) across environmental humanities programs in the United States. Her work appears in SEL: Studies in English Literature, Studies in Romanticism, European Romantic Review, Essays in Romanticism, Romantic Circles: Praxis Series, and The Keats-Shelley Review. She has received the Trent R. Dames Fellowship in the History of Civil Engineering from The Huntington Library’s Munger Research Center and has stood as a residential fellow at The National Humanities Center.

photo: Jeremy Fleming
THE FURMAN UNIVERSITY PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE

The Furman University Percussion Ensemble

The Furman University Percussion Ensemble performs a wide variety of literature while also dedicating itself to the commissioning and performing of new chamber works from a diverse body of composers. As part of a long-standing collaboration with Furman’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability, the ensemble also has become known for its performances and recordings of ecoacoustic music, helping promote Furman’s standing as one of the nations academic leaders in sustainability. Students of the Furman Percussion Ensemble have also presented interdisciplinary performances and research at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the Ecomusics and Ecomusicologies conference, the nief-norf Summer Festival Research Summit, the International Conference on Romanticism, and the Esri International GIS User Conference.

photo: Kristen Janes

Notes

The Six Ecoacoustic Quintets (2010) for percussion quintet express elemental human relationships with the environment through music. These pieces express the environmental, physical, mental and spiritual complexities of human-nature dialectics. As humans affect and control the natural environment, the changes we create reflect back onto our species’ behavior, psyche, and imagination. The Six Quintets set up elemental systems of tension that point to this abstraction: Water (ice), Wood (pitch), Stone (sand), Metal (noise), Air (breath), and Skin (bones). These movements progress from the outward material affects of our behavior (melting ice) to our body and breath as material.

Avian Telemetry (2018) was composed for the Furman Percussion Ensemble and the Shi Center for Sustainability as part of a birdsong collaboration between John Quinn (biology), Michele Speitz (English literature), and Omar Carmenates (percussion). The musical composition brings together current research on avian biology, soundscape ecology, romantic-period British poetry, ecoacoustic music, and avant-garde percussion performance. The piece uses various forms of measurement procedures and transliteration devices to explore human-nature interaction through a focus on birdsong. These “telemetries” include field recordings, musical transcriptions of environmental sound, sonifications of scientific data about bird habitat and behavior, and readings of romantic poetry employing mimesis of birdsong. Further, the piece employs second order transliterations, treating each of these modes of telemetry as a source for further remapping. For example, a snare drum quartet plays the iambic pentameter rhythm transcribed from a Charlotte Smith poem about a nightingale, and a keyboard percussion instrument performs a melody mapped onto a sonification of biophonic data while an ensemble of guiros accompanies a sonification of anthropomorphic data. The result is a highly idiosyncratic and varied blend of human mappings of birdsong, covering a wide range of fields and time periods. In this way the musical composition brings diverse disciplines into counterpoint through live percussion performance on stage, creating an evocative space for the contemplation of avian habitat and conservation through music.

— Matthew Burtner

“A Brief Introduction to British Romanticism,” Beth Fraser
“Charlotte Smith: A Brief Biographical History,1749-1806,” Michele Speitz
“John Clare: A Brief Biographical History, 1793-1864” Michele Speitz
“A Selected Compilation of Birdsong in The Poems of Charlotte Smith,” Beth Fraser
“Selected Compilation of Birdsong in John Clare, Major Works” Michele Speitz and Beth Fraser
“Intersections of soundscapes and conservation: Ecologies of sound in naturecultures”, John E. Quinn, Anna J. Markey, Dakota Howard, Sam Crummett, Alec Schindler
“A primer of acoustic analysis for landscape ecologists”, Luis J. Villanueva-Rivera, Bryan C. Pijanowski, Jarrod Doucette, Burak Pekin
“An assessment of noise audibility and sound levels in U.S. National Parks”, Emma Lynch, Damon Joyce, Kurt Fristrup
“Variation in Avian Vocalizations during the Non-Breeding Season in Response to Traffic Noise”, Amy I. Oden, Mary Bomberger Brown, Mark E. Burbach, James R. Brandle, John E. Quinn “:Avian Vocal Production in Noise”, Henrik Brumm and Sue Anne Zollinger

Works Quoted (as sonification of scientific data or spoken poetry):

“The Return of the Nightingale”, Charlotte Smith (1791)
“The Village Minstrel”, John Clare (1821)
“Avian Vocal Production in Noise”, Henrik Brumm, Sue Anne Zollinger (2014)
“Intersections of Soundscapes and Conservation: Ecologies of Sound in Naturecultures,” John E. Quinn, Anna J. Markey, Dakota Howard, Sam Crummett, Alec Schindler (2018) “To a Sky- Lark,”Percy Shelley (1820)
“Birds: Why are ye silent”, John Clare (184x)