R. Weis began his creative career in 1982 after moving from Pittsburgh, PA to New York City (NYC). His earliest expressions took the form of poetry and monologues that were heard at venues such as The Poetry Project, La MaMa, and on WBAI FM Pacifica Radio. At that time, Weis also began experiments manipulating 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 U.S. and Europe. 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' 2001 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 museum exhibition 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 based on sounds made by his 19th century house. Victoriana premiered in the 2009 Gestures 12 exhibition at Pittsburgh's Mattress Factory Art Museum. In 2010, Victoriana was presented at Pittsburgh Technology Council's DATA Event where it won the Gateway to the Arts Award. In 2016, Victoriana was selected by The Listening Booth, an online gallery specializing in sound-based art and experimental music based in London, for its second collection.
In 2011, Weis released Excitable Audible, a CD of 14 songs of manipulated sound. The songs were created from samples of commonplace, everyday sounds including trash hitting the trash can, plastic lids spinning, kitchen dishes rattling, and the dogs ball bouncing, among others. All 14 songs from Excitable Audible have been broadcast on multiple US radio stations and tracks were heard on London's Resonance FM.
Weis' newest project is Parrot & Paperback, a four-part composition created from samples of sounds made by Congo, an African Grey Parrot, paired with the sound of a paperback book (about the Congo jungle) dropping on the floor. Parrot & Paperback has been heard on many US radio stations including WFMU (named the new release of the day), WPKN (named a favorite of the week, top ten list for 2015), KAOS, KUNM, KBOO, WMUA, WZBC, as well as on London's Resonance FM. It was also included on A Closer Listen's "Happiest Music of 2015" list.
Mystery of the Egg, Excitable Audible and Parrot & Paperback are all available from CD Baby and its Digital Distribution Partners including iTunes and CDBaby