Ingram Marshall’s haunting, elegiac music and Jim Bengston’s stark, striking photographs, created for their joint multimedia work Alcatraz, can now be experienced as a recording for the first time. The work explores this forbidden island and its famous prison, which once held the most notorious criminals in the US.
This new Starkland DVD also premieres the complete audiovisual presentation of Eberbach, their followup work, that focuses on an impressive, abandoned German monastery, Kloster Eberbach. Marshall’s seductive music reflects the spacious acoustics, and Bengston’s photos capture the striking architecture.
In addition, the DVD adds immersive surround sound mixes of the music in both works, newly created for this release by Marshall.
In the early 1980s, Marshall and Bengston jointly created Alcatraz, in an unusual arrangement where both the music and visuals were equally important from the start. Equipped with tape recorders and cameras, they explored this austere island in the San Francisco Bay. After exchanging slides and cassettes between San Francisco and Norway for several months, the final interwoven work emerged as a series of evocative still photographs with live, electronically processed music.
Bengston and Marshall performed Alcatraz and Eberbach at many venues since 1984, including the Henie Onstad Art Center (Oslo), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Ghent), the new music festival at Bourges, The American Center (Paris), The Art Institute of Chicago School, and Carnegie Recital Hall (New York). In 2009, Bengston and Marshall had a residency at The Montalvo Art Center (Saratoga, CA), where they performed and held talks about both pieces. Concurrently, Alcatraz was shown on monitors in the public spaces of Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles.
To create the new surround sound mixes for this DVD, Marshall worked closely with recording engineer Tom Lazarus, and the DVD was mastered by Silas Brown. Both engineers are winners of Grammy awards.