The Dunrobin Session

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by John Malkin

Pauline Oliveros and Jesse Stewart

Oliveros has explained deep listening as “listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what one is doing.” She describes it as a practice that’s “larger than music and includes bodywork; sonic meditations; interactive performance; listening to the sounds of daily life, nature, one’s own thoughts, imagination, and dreams; and listening to listening itself.”

The Dunrobin Session is a new album that features Oliveros on accordion and Jesse Stewart on percussion. Don’t be too quick to assume what the duo may sound like; the accordion Oliveros plays is not an average accordion—it’s a Roland V-Accordion digital synthesizer that simulates all kinds of sounds. Stewart plays percussive instruments like the frame drum and the waterphone, an instrument created by Richard Waters that’s made of bronze rods attached to a steel resonator that’s partially filled with water.

The Dunrobin Session is a journey across unknown territories, with Oliveros’s accordion achieving surprising and sensitive moods. “Breathe” is free and jazzy, with Oliveros’s accordion sounding like Coltrane’s saxophone, accompanied by Stewart’s drums rolling around a bottomless beat. The chaos of “Pound” is contrasted by the spacious water drips and clouds-floating-by sense of “Feel.” Oliveros is also a philosopher and author of “Deep Listening: A Composer’s Sound Practice.” As Deep Listening Institute suggests, “There’s more to listening than meets the ear.” 

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