Steve Barsotti is a Seattle based improviser, sound artist, instrument inventor and educator. His work explores notions of reduced listening through close examinations of easily bypassed sonic details; sounds that can only be heard through contact microphones and amplification or the sonic qualities of materials and objects found in everyday life. He invites the listener to forgo an attempt at literal connections with the sounds and to focus on the sounds in and of themselves.
His two solo cds (Along These Lines and Say “tin-tah-pee-mic”) contain improvisations with object recordings, location recordings, phonography, and electro-acoustic processing. He also has an album with fellow instrument inventor Eric Leonardson, Rarebit, that features improvisations on invented instruments. His work has been described as “quite cinematic and unsettling”, and as “ushering the listener across an ambient divide”.
He is an original member of the Seattle Phonographers Union, a group of field recording wielding improvisers, and has been responsible for many of the group's activities. The Union is described as "moving beyond habitual experience of sound and uncover what is foreign in the familiar and familiar about the foreign; to explore what we hear and relearn what we know" They have been performing together for eight years.
Barsotti has been involved in a variety of community and educational activities over the years. With Tod Sczwczyk he co-founded In the Eye of the Ear, an organization dedicated to the promotion of artists who use sound as a primary medium of expression, and during the nineties curated and produced several festivals under that name.
He was an original member of W.A.L.K., a collective of artists that did performance and installation work outside the traditional white wall gallery setting and instead performed in such everyday locations such as abandoned department stores, a park field bath house and a 13th century observatory in Vilnius, Lithuania. Their performances were durational in nature, sometimes lasting for weeks.
He has worked with two non-profit sonic arts organizations, Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago and Jack Straw Productions in Seattle in a variety of capacities. At ESS he managed the recording studio, worked as audio engineer, organized and taught workshops and assisted with various projects such as the Sounds From Chicago Series, The Chicago soundscape project and BONES, a CD series of Chicago based sound artists. In Seattle he worked with various children’s radio programs, worked as audio engineer, oversaw installations in their New Media Gallery, and organized and taught workshops. Steve has had the pleasure of working with such notable artists as Sandra Binion, Lynn Book, Michael Zerang, Hal Rammel, Stuart Keeler, Gene Colemen, Eric Leonardson, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Stuart Dempster, Suzie Kozawa and many others.
Steve has been teaching for over 20 years. He has taught workshops through community organizations as well as having taught a variety of course in various colleges. Currently he is the Academic Director of Audio Design Technology at the Art Institute of Seattle. He has been teaching there for over ten years.
Seattle Times Interview
Click the image below for an audio slideshow of Steve's interview at The Seattle Times Web site.