"Find out how a computer can really be used to make new music on R. Weis' "Mystery of the Egg" -- CMJ New Music Report 2/2/95
R. Weis began his creative career in 1982 after moving from Pittsburgh, PA to New York City. His earliest expressions took the form of poetry and monologues which were heard at venues such as The Poetry Project, La Mama ETC, and on WBAI FM National Public Radio. At that time, Weis also began experiments with manipulation of pre-recorded sounds on cassette tape, and began assembling sound collages to be presented with his creative writing. Eventually, his focus shifted away from writing, and moved enthusiastically toward the idea of composing with manipulated sound. He began working on a sampler in 1990 and embraced the discipline of composing exclusively with samples of original sounds. A series of collaborations began, and resulted in sound scores for film, visual art, and dance. These collaborations were presented at many of New York City's downtown venues, including Performance Space 122, Danspace Project, and the gallery Art et Industrie. His cd "Mystery of the Egg" was completed in 1994 and was heard on experimental radio programs in the US and Europe. "Mystery of the Egg" was produced by Phideaux Xavier, and contains a collaboration between R. Weis and Phideaux called "Supermorpher." That same year, he collaborated with photographer Arthur Tress and composed the sound score for the museum installation "Requiem for a Paperweight". "Requiem" was originally presented at University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach. It has since traveled to The Bridgewater/Lustberg Gallery in NYC, to German museums including The Ludwig Forum - Stadt Aachen, and in slide-show form at the 1994 CMJ Music Marathon in NYC. The sound score for "Requiem" was also heard as part of Arthur Tress' retrospective "Fantastic Voyage, Photographs 1956-2000" at The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
After 16 years in NYC's East Village, Weis moved to the California desert. For three years, he worked on a composition called "noitatu MovE oveR" which is a meditation on the structures of the universe. The 29-minute composition is organized like the DNA double helix, and is made from only 6 original samples: 4 to represent the 4 base components of DNA; 1 to represent whole numbers; and 1 to represent prime numbers. After such a long immersion in this cosmic project, Weis was delighted to accept an invitation from The Savannah College of Art & Design to compose the light-hearted "Dog Choir" for the exhibit "Pour l'Amour des Chiens" at the Mona Bismarck Foundation, Paris, 2003.
He returned to Pittsburgh in 2006. In 2008, he completed "Victoriana," a 1-hour composition made from sounds of his 19th Century house. "Victoriana" premiered in the "Gestures 12" Exhibit at The Mattress Factory Art Museum (May/June 2009) and has since been heard at Pittsburgh Technology Council's 2010 DATA Exhibit where "Victoriana" was named the winner of 2010 Gateway to the Arts Award.
Reviews of other R. Weis projects:
"Have Some Style -- Three concertists who do not lack style, one soloist who barks his sonatas. Better than "Pop Star", Spot, Dot, Bark, Pepper and Puppy today find themselves at the head of a peculiar box office: that of dog songs. The visit takes place with a musical background, a Dog Choir, created by R. Weis, a poet and composer who specializes in sampling and manipulating sounds." -- LeFigaro, Paris, summer 2003
"Grand Opening -- The Singing Dogs. The climax of this homage rendered to the most faithful companion of man is the "Dog Choir" from the artist R. Weis, poet specializing in recording and manipulation of sound. Three Jack Russell Terriers and a Chihuahua accompany the soloist, a husky puppy named Juba, composing a highly-uplifting musical "collage" which has a place of choice amongst the events of summer." -- Paris Capitale Magazine, Paris, summer 2003
"This is probably the most original and amusing exhibit of the summer in Paris. Be the judge yourself: Savannah College of Art and Design presents in the very elegant Mona Bismarck Foundation a series of photographs, paintings, installations, jewels, and dresses happily delirious and created especially for this manifestation by American plasticians in honor of dogs. The apotheosis of this exhibit: a musical choir where the soloists are no less than our four-legged companions!" -- Leclubparis.com, summer 2003
"The students of SCAD love dogs and prove it in this exhibit which shows a surprising mixture of their creations (dog fashion, furniture for dogs, installations). Photos from Sandy Skoglund, Tennyson, Wegman (a whole room is dedicated to Wegman) as well as paintings (Nolan, Xie) complete the exhibit which you visit while listening to a Dog Choir conceived by R. Weis. Our appreciation: Three Woof Woofs, obviously." -- Le Nouvel Observateur de Paris Ile-de-France, summer 2003
"For viewers who like musical acompaniment when they are looking at art, SCAD commissioned a "Dog Choir" of multi-toned barking, howling and tag-rattling from California-based sound collage artist R. Weis. The score has a cutting-edge wit that the French like to call 'delirant' which means delirious." -- The Campus Chronicle, Savannah College of Art & Design, summer 2003
"...drew one in with all the seductiveness of a soothing dream... a vivid sound score by R. Weis..." -- Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times, 11/91
WITH PHOTOGRAPHER ARTHUR TRESS
Requiem For A Paperweight is "...as rewarding to listen to as to look at...a minor miracle of graphic stage management... Sometimes it's witty, touching and smart... it gets a lot of help from a score by R. Weis... its loopy sounds and snippets of poetry make a binding auditory texture..." -- William Wilson, Los Angeles Times, 8/94
"...a richly textured, haunting vision of life in the future...a dazzling morality play, its hero, the Everyman of late-20th-century corporate life. A stereotypically overworked, anonymous cog in the Japanese business machine, the protagonist exists in a high-tech, migraine-inducing netherworld of garish neon color, charts and lab equipment, glossy ads, and business statistics. Haunted by shadowy memories of family and childhood and elusive promises of health and happiness, he faces a future in which bankruptcy, unemployment, and forced retirement are the preludes to his own cosmic apotheosis in death. His desperate search for meaning is met only with shiny, deceptive dreams.
"Enhanced by the score of composer R. Weis, who works with language and manipulated sound, the installation format works brilliantly for Tress. The dark-painted walls and vivid light reinforce the impression that we are witnessing, as in a medieval chapel, a kind of contemporary morality play."