Dream House, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela

After years of intending to go to this long standing sound/art installation, I finally did. Jordan has some photos here

The Dream House is basically a loft space on Church St. with magenta gels over the windows and a couple of small hanging mobiles lit to project symmetrical, blurred, letter-like shapes on the walls. Four PA speakers on wooden risers placed in the corners of the room play a constant sine wave drone of, let us say, an extremely particular set of intervals, from low bass to very high. In other words, it's a big, mirror image chord. The name describes the intervals in what may be a bit too much detail for most listeners:

"The Base 9:7:4 Symmetry in Prime Time When Centered above and below The Lowest Term Primes in The Range 288 to 224 with The Addition of 279 and 261 in Which The Half of The Symmetric Division Mapped above and Including 288 Consists of The Powers of 2 Multiplied by The Primes within The Ranges of 144 to 128, 72 to 64 and 36 to 32 Which Are Symmetrical to Those Primes in Lowest Terms in The Half of The Symmetric Division Mapped below and Including 224 within The Ranges 126 to 112, 63 to 56 and 31.5 to 28 with The Addition of 119, a periodic composite sound waveform environment created from sine wave components generated digitally in real time on a custom-designed Rayna interval synthesizer."

The title is really the score. This would demystify the installation (something it really needs) except the intervallic explanation is for the most part inscrutable.

Because of the nature of sine waves, and the positioning of the speakers, the quality of the sound changes drastically depending on the position of your body in the room. Even turning your head an inch to the left or right will change the sound dramatically. The carpeted room, which you enter after removing your shoes, is empty except for the speakers, hanging art and a shrine.

The three-dimensional moirĂ© pattern waterfall of sound doesn’t change--it just has different dimensions. Your position in it changes, and the information that the different positions express shifts based on where you are within the space. It's a fascinating, physical experience of sound. It's almost silly to try to describe it too much using words-- check it out.

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