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Stephen Vitiello is a sound artist from Richmond, Virginia. He records samples from his surroundings and creates electronic sound mixes. With familiar sound effects, Vitiello audibly captures the beauty of a location, as opposed to a more traditional media. He had started his experimental music career as a punk rock guitarist, making more of his own music as he worked with more visual artists. Vitiello has collaborated with many video artists on different projects, as well as other musicians. He not only spends a great amount of time on the audible aspect of his work, but the visual to support it as well. He develops unique installation environments, made to both hear and experience this music.

His installations are one of the most powerful details of his work. They give the sound a more physical presence. Rather than being in the space, Vitiello’s music “performs to the space…” and produces an interesting interaction between the location and the art. The sounds and sites work together, becoming a new environment. One of the most fascinating of these to me is his audio installation of “The Smallest of Wings.” I love the way the exhibition worked with the public setting. Since the piece was based in nature, Vitiello set up a dome outside. People of all different walks of life could listen and interpret, while escaping from reality.

"The Smallest of Wings" installation

Vitiello’s soundscapes transport the listener to another world. The sounds are very trance-like and hypnotizing. Ordinary sounds sound completely new within his music. For example, I’m used to the sound of a dog barking… but in one of his pieces, “Dogs – Last Clarinet,” the sound seemed ethereal. Also, Vitiello is definitely an artist that would be far better and inspiring in person at a showing… because his installations are just phenomenal and have become such an important part of his work. They change the entire way you experience the sounds by providing a context behind the work. Simply listening to the music on my laptop is alright, but if I were surrounded by the sounds, it would have much more of an impact. I like this characteristic of the work. That makes hearing it live a real once in a lifetime experience.

Dogs – Last Clarinet by stephenvitiello




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