Poster image for the Sound Bath performance (from the Eventbrite event page)
According to my records (sic), I have not written about events at Envelop since the beginning of this year. This is basically an organization that turns audiophilia (usually practiced in the solitude of one’s living room or man cave) into a public performance experience. That experience is provided by a system of 32 loudspeakers configured to surround (immerse) an audience through the control of free open source spatial audio tools. Most of the performances are album listening events, but there are also originally-conceived spatial music performances.
With portable technology, Envelop can provide a listening space that can go anywhere. However, it also maintains two permanent venues in San Francisco and Salt Lake City. Envelop SF is located within The Midway, the peninsula that juts out into San Francisco Bay around Pier 80. Between now and the end of the month, there will be five listening events, four of which will cover a broad diversity of album sources, while one will be an original spatial music performance. Dates and times (some of which involve two sessions) are as follows:
- Tuesday, November 12, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.: This past January Envelop SF projected the original channels of the Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon onto its 32 speakers; this month they will present another Pink Floyd album, Wish You Were Here, using similar projection techniques.
- Wednesday, November 13, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.: This will be the first of two events this month featuring recordings of saxophonist John Coltrane. The album will be Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue studio recording. Davis and Coltrane were one-third of a sextet, whose other members were Cannonball Adderley on alto saxophone, pianist Bill Evans, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. The tracks include some of the leading instances of modern jazz innovation, including Davis originals “So What” and “All Blues.”
- Thursday, November 14, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.: This evening will be devoted entirely to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; but, sadly, no details regarding specific compositions have been provided thus far.
- Monday, November 18, 8 p.m.: This will be the original performance of the month called Sound Bath. It was created by Christopher Willits, co-founder/director of Envelop, working with sound artist Ryan Kleeman. The two of them make full use of the 32 speakers to create a lucid immersive listening experience based on ambient music and three-dimensional nature recordings.
- Tuesday, November 26, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.: The second Coltrane event of the month will be based on his Blue World album. This is a Classic Quartet album on the Impulse! Records label with Coltrane performing with Jimmy Garrison on bass, Elvin Jones on drums, and McCoy Tyner on piano. It was based on sessions for the film Le chat dans le sec (the cat in the bag). This is a relatively short album, so the program will include some additional selected Coltrane tracks.
Envelop SF is located at 900 Marin Street. Conveniently, the Muni T line, which runs down 3rd Street, has a stop at Marin Street. However, the entrance to Envelop SF is around the corner from Marin Street, through the building’s patio, which faces Michigan Street. Admission for all of these events is $25 except for the Sound Bath, whose admission price is $30. The above hyperlinks connect to the respective Eventbrite pages for advance ticket purchases. Doors open half an hour before all performances.