Mike Shannon - Matrix

a section of Michael Shannon's "Matrix" as completed by Tanith Lanzillotta

past concerts

eyemusic at ribexibalba dot com

"Fans of the avant should investigate Eye Music whose existence shocks and pleases me. I'm appalled that no local college or university in Washington has an ensemble dedicated to performing graphic scores—nontraditional notation usually made up of lines, words, and symbols. So I'm grateful that Eye Music, which includes Stuart Dempster, Dissonant Plane cofounder Eric Lanzillotta, Esther Sugai, and Dean Moore, continues to champion such overlooked music." - Christopher DeLaurenti, The Stranger

Eye Music's recording of Stephen O'Malley's "Géante 4" has been digitally released by his Ideologic Organ label.


"Géante 4" was composed for Stuart Dempster and recorded by Eye Music in 2010. The performers on the recording are David Stanford, Esther Sugai, Dave Knott, Jay Hamilton, Carl Lierman, Stuart Dempster, Jonathan Way, and Michael Shannon. It is a graphical score piece that is presented in two versions of varying density.

In 2018 Eye Music released a recording of Toshi Ichiyanagi's 1963 composition "Sapporo". Recorded at Jack Straw Productions with a grant from the 2010 Jack Straw Artist Support Program, this CD was published in Germany in May 2018 by the label Edition Wandelweiser Records.

Toshi Ichiyanagi (1933) is a Japanese composer that studied with John Cage. Cage's influence can be heard in the piece "Sapporo" which mixes sustained tones with sharply attacked sounds. Each performer plays from a different page of lines and points with the only synchronization being in the form of notations to listen to or watch the other players.

Details about the CD and a sound sample can be found at https://www.wandelweiser.de/_e-w-records/_ewr-catalogue/ewr1801.html

Eye Music at Jack Straw Productions
photographs by Carl Lierman

Originally formed in August 2006 to perform a student composition by Sune Smedeby, Eye Music has continued to focus on playing graphic scores since that time. Graphic scores are written musical compositions that rely on visual information rather than standard notation to convey musical ideas. Often these scores are as beautiful to look at just as they are intriguing to play. In addition to graphic scores, Eye Music has also plays text scores which consist of verbal instructions for music making. In all cases, the scores used by the ensemble allow for a certain amount of openness in interpretation. These are musical pieces selected for the possibilities they inspire. They often require improvisation on the part of each performer because much can be interpreted differently each time a piece is played. However, they maintain a sense of form in one or more areas making the pieces a group activity in reaching a common goal. The openness of these compositions allows Eye Music to draw its membership from a wide range of musical backgrounds, instrumentation, and musical skill. Whenever possible, the ensemble works with guest composers on their pieces to gain a greater appreciation for possible approaches and considerations in performance of these works.

Members of the ensemble include:

Amy Denio is a multi-instrumentalist composer and singer based in Seattle, WA. Home-taper since the Dark Ages of Analogue, she started her label Spoot Music in 1986, with the release of her first cassette, 'No Bones.' Since then, she's recorded & released other cassettes, LPs and 35 CDs created solo and with an array of international musicians. She has been creating & producing soundscores for dance, theater and film since 1983.

Noel Kennon is a violist, dishwasher, record collector, instrument builder and composer living in Seattle, WA.

Dave Knott: (Animist Orchestra, Greasy, No Clocks No Clues, Anomalous Records Thursday Nights above the Artificial Limb Company, Messenger Girls Trio, Ready Made Ensemble, Metaphonic Orchestra, inscrutable-d). Solo and group electro and/or acoustic improvisation & composition using natural & artificial materials, original as well as traditional stringed instruments. With particular interests in timbre, listening practice, the tension between utility and aesthetics of music & the forms exposed through exercises in instability.

Susie Kozawa, a sound artist, composer and performer, works mostly with sound collages and site-specific installations, in which the gathering of sounds is a primary activity. She explores different acoustic spaces using musical instruments she makes out of found objects, kelp, modified toys and human voice. She creates live sound design for dance and theater productions. She was a founding member of Aono Jikken Ensemble and has been a Foley type sound artist to Guy Madden's "live spectacle performance" of his silent film Brand Upon The Brain! that performed in Seattle, Portland, Sao Paulo and Winnipeg. Recently she designed the sound score with Esther Sugai for Serge Gregory's film "When Herons Dream". Most recently she had been featured in the artist portrait documentary "Degrees of Inspiration" along with Britta Johnson and Lori Goldston by filmmaker Gabriel Miller. She also creates sound collages from field recordings of found sounds. She is a member of the Seattle Phonographers Union. She has permanent public art installations with visual artist Erin Shie Palmer for the new Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle.

Eric Lanzillotta is the director of Eye Music and founder of Anomalous Records, Ri Be Xibalba and the magazine Bixobal. Recordings of his work have been released on CD and vinyl by Selektion, Alluvial Recordings, Beta-lactam Ring Records, RRRecords, EE Tapes, Jnana Records, and Cold Spring. He has had no formal musical training.

Carl Lierman is a self taught visual artist and sound composer. He is co-founder of FotoCircle Gallery in downtown Seattle in the 90’s, and a member of Gyre. His work has been heard in Iancu Dumitrescu's 1st Annual Computer Music Festival in Bucharest, and the Center on Contemporary Art's "People Doing Strange Things With Electricity Too”.

Michael Shannon is a sound/recording artist, musician, photographer, and performer of experimental media, based in Seattle. He began performing in the punk clubs of San Francisco in the late 1970's evolving performance and sound designs through various venues and media, specializing in the use of a variety of string instruments from Asia, percussion, sound objects, and electronics. In San Francisco, he began Joy Street Studios, the name for all of his sound art productions and his studio in 1983, to the present. First releases of audio works in the form of cassettes began in 1987, followed by an LP 'Laguz' on Anomalous Records and CDs on various labels around the world. Presently a member of Seattle-based performing groups Gyre, Eye Music, Echore, Aono Jikken Ensemble, Animist Orchestra, Broken Mask (Bay Area). Past San Francisco bands: Appliances, Kahunas, KuKuKu, Earnerve, Joyo, Lethal Gospel.

David Stanford: First instrument was saxophone. Began theory lessons, piano lessons, and self-instruction on guitar several years later. Graduated Cornish College of the Arts (B.M., 2000). Has played with Gamelan Pacifica, Seattle City Gamelan, animist orchestra, and has collaborated with a number of different choreographers and video artists. Current focus is on playing natural objects, amplification/electronics, and (when access permits) prepared piano.

Esther Sugai is a flutist and composer. She is a founding member of the Aono Jikken Ensemble and also performs with the Fisher Ensemble. She has a Masters degree in Music Composition from the University of Utah, where she studied with electronic music pioneer Vladimir Ussachevsky. Esther has received grants from Meet The Composer and ASCAP and is a past Seattle Arts Commission Composer-in-Residence.

Jonathan Way is a translator of Asian texts as well as a sound artist.  He is probably best known for playing with the Seattle Phonographers Union.  He has also released a CDR on Greg Davis' Autumn Records and a track on the phonography.org 7 compilation.

past members of the ensemble include:

Stuart Dempster – Sound Gatherer - trombonist, composer, didjeriduist, et al, and Professor Emeritus at University of Washington, is best known for creative beautiful, rich acoustic drones in reverberant natural spaces and for commissions for trombone by Berio, Erb, Erickson, Krenek, Oliveros, Suderburg, and many others. He has recorded for numerous labels including Columbia, Nonesuch, and New Albion. The latter includes In the Great Abbey of Clement VI at Avignon - a "cult classic" - and Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel consisting of music sources for a 1995 Merce Cunningham Dance Company commission. Grants include: Creative Associate at SUNYAB; Fellow, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois; Fulbright Scholar (Australia); NEA Composer Grant; US/UK and Guggenheim Fellowships. Dempster, a leading figure in development of trombone technique and performance, published his landmark book The Modern Trombone: A Definition of Its Idioms in 1979.  Dempster has had a front row seat in the world of avant garde music having played in the world premiere of Terry Riley's minimalist masterpiece In C and the US premiere of Cornelius Cardew's Treatise. He has worked with artists as diverse as Merce Cunningham, Luciano Berio, Folke Rabe, Jani Christou, The Nihilist Spasm Band, Yuji Takahashi, Lesli Dalaba, William O. Smith, Sheri Cohen, Dave Knott, Ellen Fullman, David Tudor, John Cage, Wu Man, and Greg Powers. Most important of his musical collaborators is Pauline Oliveros, with whom he founded the Deep Listening Band.

Jay Hamilton studied music composition at Fairhaven College on the campus of Western Washington University with Americole Biasini and Dr. E. LaBounty. He has attended the workshops of Kenneth Gaburo, David Mahler, Meredith Monk, and Pauline Oliveros. He has composed music for varieties of performance art, and is 'strangely influenced' by growing up in the woods.

Robert j Kirkpatrick is a self-taught performer of the wire strung harp which he plays with various preparations and electronics.

Dean Moore is a versatile percussionist who performs with many ensembles and also as a solo performer. Over the past two years he has specialized in playing gongs and other resonant metals. Dean has been working with Garrett Fisher and the Fisher Ensemble since 2005. He has performed with The Aono Jikken Ensemble. Starting with their piece 'Eclipse', and most recently part of a live foley team performing an original foley sound score for Guy Maddinís latest silent film 'Brand Upon The Brain'. Dean has performed and composed music for local dance companies and was also a founding member of Circus Contraption.

Other members of the ensemble have included Marshall Bialas, Rachael Jackson, Taina Karr, Rob Millis, Tanith Lanzillotta, Matt Shoemaker, and Marcia Takamura.

Eye Music at the Chapel Performance Space
photograph by Rachael Lanzillotta