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Stephen Vitiello is an electronic musician and media artist. His installations and multi-channel sound works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum and the
Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon. CD and LP releases have been published by numerous labels, including New Albion, Sub Rosa, 12k, and Room 40. Vitiello has collaborated extensively, with such
artists and musicians as Pauline Oliveros, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Taylor Deupree, Steve Roden, Robin Rimbaud/Scanner and Lawrence English.

Brendan Canty is a Washington DC based musician and filmmaker, primarily known for his work as the drummer in the bands Fugazi and Rites of Spring. He presently tours and records with his instrumental trio, The Messthetics, with Joe Lally and Anthony Pirog. In addition to composing for film and television, he has made multiple live concert films for Wilco, Eddie Vedder, Death Cab for Cutie and others, and also works as a record producer. Canty currently lives in Washington DC with his wife Michelle and their four children.

Composer, producer, and performer Hahn Rowe has developed a uniquely personal sonic language, traversing a vast array of musical terrains and weaving them into ever-shifting, polymorphic soundscapes. At home in the studio as well as in the performance arena, he has worked to break down the barriers between traditional musical performance, sound art, and physical theatre. As an engineer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist (violin, guitar and electronics) he has worked with Hugo Largo (two albums on Brian Eno’s LAND/OPAL imprint), David Byrne, Anohni and the Johnsons, Glenn Branca, Swans, R.E.M. and Yoko Ono, among many others. A recipient of three New York Dance and Performance Awards (aka the Bessie), Hahn Rowe has a long history of scoring music and performing for dance and theatre, and is active as a composer for film and television.

Artist notes:
‘First’ began as an extended sketch – electric guitar resampled through modular synthesiser, with the goal of having Brendan Canty overdub drums. I knew Brendan’s work as a member of Fugazi – the greatest
live band I’ve ever seen and heard. We had previously collaborated on the EP, Stephen Vitiello with Brendan Canty. In a similar vein to that EP, I expected Brendan to be a performer, contributing to a work
of mine. I booked studio time in Maryland at Brendan’s preferred studio and with his requested engineer. Spontaneously, the first thing we did was add piano. I played simple plucks of the strings while Brendan
added far more prominent chords and melody. Drums came next and transformed my scattered rhythms into something more alive and propulsive. I then took the tracks to Hahn Rowe in New York. Hahn had
contributed to two previous CDs of mine, ‘Scratchy Marimba’ and ‘Between You and the Shapes You Take’. Hahn also played in Hugo Largo, one of my all-time favourite bands. Here, Hahn added bowed guitar as well as viola. He also kindly offered to do the final mix. Brendan and Hahn moved from contributing as performers to becoming real collaborators through their input, the track taking a form, and musicality that I never could have envisioned without them.

There are so many kinds of listening, ways in which focus and attention can be directed. I have learned to listen more carefully through playing instruments, feeling the vibration of an old wooden guitar and listening to music that I love but also through field recording, mixing, collaborating, sitting still. In 1998 I had the good fortune to meet Pauline Oliveros (along with Robin Rimbaud, Frances-Marie Uitti and Anthony Moore) at a festival in Cologne, Germany. On the flight home, I asked Pauline if I could study with her. She said, “No, start looking at John Cage’s scores and next week you’ll play a show with me and Joe McPhee”. Such an opportunity meant learning very quickly, like being thrown in the water when I could barely swim. (Stephen Vitiello)

Working with Stephen is always a joy and an adventure. I love his sonic textures and the openness of his compositions. A long piece of music such as this allows for another level of abandon when it comes to improvising. You really have to settle in and allow for the blank space to become its own rhythmic element. All of Hahn’s additional elements were truly inspired. (Brendan Canty)

Stephen Vitiello: modular synthesizer, guitar, smaller piano sounds
Brendan Canty: drums, piano
Hahn Rowe: bowed guitar, viola

Drums recorded by Don Godwin at Tonal Park
Mix by Hahn Rowe
Mastered by Simon Scott at SPS Mastering

Funding support, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts.


released August 15, 2023


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Stephen Vitiello Richmond, Virginia

Sound and visual artist, based in Richmond, VA

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