Immersion is now recognized as a groundbreaking recording that let listeners experience new music in high-resolution surround sound for the first time in history. All the music was commissioned by Starkland exclusively for this surround sound release.
Immersion plays on regular DVD players, as well as audiophile DVD-Audio units.
"I think surround sound offers a wonderful medium for new music. Commissioning a wide variety of today's composers to create music specifically for high-resolution surround sound seemed a terrific way to help launch the surround sound era," says Thomas Steenland, Starkland's President.
All the composers were excited about high-resolution surround sound. Meredith Monk comments that "in many of my pieces, I have worked with making a space ring or resound by placing singers in a 'surround sound' spatial relationship to the audience. Now I really appreciate that there is a playback medium which allows that visceral, rich perceptual experience to happen at home."
Tomlinson Holman, one of the world's leading surround sound authorities, states that "this fascinating disc" is among the first "to show composers stretching the boundaries of recorded sound by exploring the new possibilities inherent in DVD-Audio."
All the music on the Immersion DVD involves you in ways never before possible. In the opening piece Live/Work, Pamela Z gives you a virtual surround tour of her studio with a precision that you have never previously heard. Z is an audio artist who works primarily with voice, live electronic processing, and sampling technology. In performance, she creates layered works that combine operatic bel canto and experimental vocal techniques with a battery of digital delays, found percussion objects, spoken word, and sampled concrete sounds.
Bruce Odland's Tank places you in a huge water tank (located in Rangely, CO), where you hear Ron Miles' trumpet reverberating for up to 40 seconds, with an authentic reality simply not possible in conventional stereo. Odland is known for his psychoacoustic sound designs for theatre and for his cutting-edge, large-scale multimedia installations in public spaces, and has collaborated with many of America's leading theatre directors, including Peter Sellars, JoAnne Akalaitis, and Andre Gregory.
Maggi Payne's White Turbulence 2000 begins by putting you in the center of a dramatic circling pan of a convolved thunderous airplane, and then adds highly processed water-based sounds. Having created quadraphonic pieces during 1973-1985, she now comments about returning to surround sound: "To be able to once again have more spatial control of the sound environment is exciting. To enter this more complete world allows one to more fully sculpt the space/experience dynamically over time."
"One of the best composers working in the country today" (Village Voice), Carl Stone shifts hyper-speed hallucinatory barrages from speaker to speaker in Luong Hai Ky Mi Gia. "The opportunity to make a piece using the medium of surround sound for Starkland's DVD has allowed me to expand on some of the quadraphonic techniques that I often use in live performance," says Stone.
Phil Kline's haunting piece, The Housatonic at Henry Street, is a "vision of enfolded time flowing through a place on Manhattan's Lower East Side, where successive waves of migrant humanity have overlapped for centuries. Background and foreground are blurred as street sounds are recorded, then mixed with 'musical' material from computer and tape." The result situates you in "an imaginary surrounding landscape in which past and present hang out together in asynchronous multitonal harmony." Early in his music career, Kline, with former classmates Jim Jarmusch and Luc Sante, founded the rock band the Del-Byzanteens, and in 1988 he joined the Glenn Branca Ensemble. In 1990 he began producing a body of work using large numbers of boombox cassette machines to create complex phase patterns and sound masses. "A real original" (New York Times), Kline notes that "By nature all of my works are surround sound pieces."