Charlie Morrow Archive
Located in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont not far from the border of French Canada, is former Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles land. Multi-artist, art theorist and publisher Higgins ran the Something Else Press here, having moved it up from New York City in the mid 60s. John Cage, Allan Kaprow, Pauline Oliveros, Max Neuhaus, Philip Corner, Emmett Williams and many more artist innovators came to Barton to work on their Something Else Press books.
Morrow came often to Barton to collaborate on New Wilderness Projects. He bought Higgins’ sugarwood in 1979. Shortly after, Dick and Alison Knowles, who had separated, re-married. Dick joined Alison in Barrytown, New York, passing away in 1998. What remains is Higgins Lane.
Barton, Vermont is maple syrup country. In 1981,Morrow and friends built a sugarhouse with a traditional gull winged roof and began Roaring Brook maple products. In 1993, he cleared some of the land and built a house. Over the years, files, tapes, sound sculptures and artifacts from projects were brought to Barton.
In 2006, this became Morrow’s permanent residence. He moved Charles Morrow Productions and a production studio from New York City to Barton.
Barton curator, designer, musician Jay Walbert is shaping the Archive, joined in 2014 by Douglas Duncan.
A virtual archive will live on “the cloud‘. The material assets of the archive will be negotiated with a major institution with research and a related collection. The goal of the archive is to provide access to Morrow’s artistic and commercial opus as well as his collection of New Wilderness and Fluxus works
Concept driven, the body of this work is seed for new works. The archive consists of:
- Morrow’s works in manuscript, masters and prints, recordings, data files; notebooks and journals in his hand.
- Database of projects, works, collaborators (Filemaker)
- Morrow events, publications, broadcasts - multiples - posters, publications (EAR, AUDIOGRAPHICS, artist books)
- Photos and pre
- Studio hardware from the 1950s to the present
- Books and manuscripts - many by or about collaborators
- Published recordings (LPs, reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes, videos, DATs, CDs)
- Ephemera from Morrow’s production studios and events
The Charlie Morrow Archive consists of Morrow’s sound, music and media works, art objects and installations, collaborative works, productions and publications.
- Before 1958: Conceptual sound, action and stamp works.
- 1960 - 1972: the revolutionary period.
- 1960. Formation of New York “downtown music” meeting composers Philip Corner, James Tenney, Malcolm Goldstein at Columbia University and their friend John Cage. Also Varese, Wolpe.
- 1962: Ethnopoetics and moltimedia: meeting poet Jerome Rothenberg at Mannes School of Music. New/Old aesthetic.
- 1965: Carnegie hall concert, New Music for Trumpet and Ensemble.
- Working with Gregory Reeve, Norman Seaman, Charlotte Moorman, Nam Jun Paik. Alison Knowles, Dick Higgins, George Maciunas, Fluxus.
- 1967: 365 West End Avenue recording studio: performing and organizing projects with collaborating artists, Rothenberg, Mac Low, Comer. The Rascals, The VanillaFudge, jingle career begins. Charles Morrow Associates, Inc.
- Chanting and healing works including Bear Cassette, A Healing Piece for the Wooster Group. Chant based vocal works for The Western Wind.
- Installations at Sidney Janis Gallery, New York and The Louvre, Paris.
- Sound and music for Francis Thompson’s Moonwalk One.
- 1973 – 94: New Wilderness Foundation and Music Outside the Concert Hall large scale public eventlbroadcast and concert design as frame making newiold environmental, transformational works with chant, improvisation, animal communication, number counting, shamanism, new technology.
- NWF Preservation Band, concerts and events including The Solstice Event/Broadcasts. International Sound Poetry Fesﬁval. Heavyweight Sound Fight, Toot’n Blink, Wave Music series.
- Publications: EAR Magazine, New Wilderness Letter.
- Ocarina Orchestra, Grand Conch Chorus, Wind Band, Horizontal-Vertical Band with Glen Velez
- 1979 forward: international activities: performances, productions.
Collaborations with Sten Hanson, Paol Borum, Trevor Davies and Derek Bailey.
Copenhagen Waves – city event.
- Arctic projects with Paol Anders Simma, Åsa Simma.
- WDFI Radio projects with Klaus Schoening
- Music for advertising and ﬁlm, sound logos
- 1989 forward: Sound art objects and installations, museum projects. sound furniture, reliquaries, resonance “listening” structures.
- 1994 forward: Development of the archive in Barton, Vermont home on former Dick Higgins property.
- 2003: Development of 3D sound cube and commissioning project.
- 2004: Sensor speaker, wind wing bells.
- 2005: Noise machines, wind shells.
- 2006 to present: Projects, interventions, correspondence
As long as I have had a place to work and for people to gather, there has been synergy, a focal point and success. Given my need for an independent place of production, my adult life is reckoned as a series of sound studios:
- 365 West End, NYC home studio in soundproof room, 1967 to 1986
- The Omnipark Central Hotel, NYC with Fred/Alan Company, 1986 to 1988
- 611 Broadway, the Cable Building, NYC, 1988 to 1994
- 2095 Broadway, Rutgers Church, NYC next door to documentarian Ric Burns, 1994 to 1999.
- 307 Seventh Avenue, NYC with Granary Books, 2000 to 2010
- 1961 Roaring Brook Road, Barton VT on former Dick Higgins property, 2012 to present
It has been owning a recording studio that made all possible, the recordings, broadcasts, audio publications and the amassing of an audio archive. I opened the studio in the 1960s when private studios were rare, then recorded and educated the experimental art community in its use.
Over the years, the sound of each technological wave became familiar. As I moved into True3D production, I find that you can sonically re-enter the production space of a recording through 3D expansion.
In 2010, we built our first True3D Listening Room in the studio of Finnish designer Harri Koskinen in order to present and produce in Finland. It became the new business model for us, a shared space. We closed our New York studio that year because we were not using most of the space often enough.
In the year 2011, I had not unpacked my New York studio in Barton, VT because we built a studio in Los Angeles.
By summer 2012, it was essential to have a first-class sound studio in Barton, both for True3D and for the now active Charlie Morrow Archive. Peter Frank is the curator for its development and touring shows. Jay Walbert is the archivist.
We are now integrating our growing network of Listening Rooms with the extensive archive of past projects, many of which are being developed for new lives. The Internet is the window into this vast world of over fifty years of collaborations and productions, and the sonic ingredients of all vintages.