'Playing with Transformations'

Glazier studied at Goldsmith’s college of Art in London with the intention to immerse himself in the visual arts.
Now, recognizing the possibility to expand and strengthen the visual experience, he dedicates increasingly more time to sound and music.
In the last decade Paul Glazier’s work has moved between installation, sound and two-dimensional media.
This diversity reflects his preoccupation with how the viewer perceives an artwork and how this process can be influenced, with the synthesis of audio and visual stimulus playing an important role.

The current trend in contemporary art towards a multidisciplinary practice echoes movements such as Situationism, Dadaism, Futurism and Surrealism that in the past have all had close relationships with music.
Likewise, many bands from the post punk period of the early eighties, for example the English group Cabaret Voltaire, emerged from Art Schools manifesting a strong connection with these earlier movements.
These, in turn, were important players in the development of Glazier’s own sensibilities.
Similar preoccupations can be recognized in the work of many twentieth century composers, for example Edgar Varese (1833 – 1965).
However, Glazier strives to go further than a quest for an aesthetic symmetry.
In his engagement with dissonance, transparency and chance Glazier is exploring ways to approach an experience of wonder.
In this sense he is closer to the American composer John Cage (1912-1992).


Extended Experience 01

I take my place in a comfortable chair.
Abstract, impressionistic images appear on the screen.
At the same time I am immersed in equally unidentifiable sounds.
Out of this enveloping sound emerge recognizable details.
Thereby I’m drawn into the mist of imagery and I begin also to recognize fragments of movement.
I have a sense that my whole process of perception is being played with.
Through the immersion in sound the distance between the chair in which I sit and the screen seems to shrink.
Gradually I approach the point where my own imagination is kindled and my spirit expands.
(“Yellow Brick Road Works” 2005/6)

The rapid technological developments in the field of digital sound and image offer apparently limitless possibilities in the search for audio and visual transformations.
This has been embraced in the last twenty years by artists such as Robin Rimbaud (1964), Carsten Nicolae (1965) and Francisco Lopez (1964).
For Glazier music has played an increasingly important role, and has managed to find a balance of sound and image where each strengthens the other.
This sensual stimulus is then drawn out, evoking a still more intense experience; searching for the moment of magic.


Extended Experience 02:

Watching “Journey to Fuga” it is clear from the outset that I am being taken on a trip.
The urban sounds from Manila city are at first familiar. I am however soon being drawn from one environment to another and the journey begins.
The voices I hear are of a language unknown to me.
My hearing is stimulated.
Where am I?
Where am I going?
Slowly I become part of an adventure film.
I see images.
A scooter rattles past.
In the background someone is singing in a bar.
The different layers of sound stimulate my imagination.
I begin to create my own journey with my own associations.
(Journey to Fuga, 2004)

The experience of listening to Glazier’s sound work seems to revolve around moments of wonder.
In the making of his works he focuses on these moments.
Where does this sense of wonder come from?
The answer isn’t so easy to grasp.
It has something to do with the resonance between listening and looking.
In that field of tension, Glazier endeavours to examine the experience of beauty.

Extended Experience 03:

Nana Mouskouri. That takes me back to when I still lived at home.
Mouskouri, that woman with the dark rectangular glasses, the awful ironed dresses and, above all, the limp orchestrated sing-a-long music.
In Nana Canons this apparent crassness is expanded to great waves of music.
At first the chaotic character of the piece confuses me.
The pickups are laid in the groove of each record one after the other.
The only reference points are the first notes of the album and again at the end.
The total effect of the stacked tracks is a growing, revolving wave of sound.
The transformation takes place.
My senses start to focus on the totality of the sound - there is much to discover.
New and surprising rhythmic patterns, but also the strange recurring sense that the needle is stuck!
And then comes the moment that Mouskouri sings without orchestra or accompaniment.
A healing choir of close harmony draws me to a distant horizon.
Amazed I look about me.
(Nana Canons, 2007)

Paul Glazier’s compositions generate fascinating experiences, journeys to unexpected moments when you can pass through your own perceptual filters.
At that moment, you can experience something new and magical.
So listen as well as look to this collection of Glazier’s work.

Hessel Veldman is a music journalist, musician and producer. Having been involved in the modern jazz, avant-garde and rock scenes over the last 35 years he now produces programmes for various national Dutch radio stations.