I’ve entered a new composition in the Carl Orff Competition (Orff is the guy who made this—from epic movie moments—and also this—from first-grade music class!). Now it’s open for YOU to rate the submitted works.
The competition had some unusual parameters, including providing a poetic excerpt (from Rilke) and requiring composers to complete it. My approach was not to add any words, but to take words away: erasure poetry (inspired by colleagues I’ve met over the last few years). By removing words, I highlighted new connections between the words of the original excerpt, opening up many ways to interpret them. Details of the call are here.
(Bonus points if you can identify the classic rock quote I added.)
Inspired by Einstein’s paper introducing the special theory of relativity titled “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,” “Sobre a eletrodinâmica dos corpos de trabalho” offers a time-distorted view of the concrete plant in Quarry Maljoga in Dade from the Viseu Rural archive (the only sound source). It portrays the work as it echoes off the landscape in compressed time, frozen time, and smeared timelines. It is a reflection on the efforts of man-made forces, the persistence of natural forces over time, and the interfaces between them.
Note: Visual and aural clarity is way better in the original than on YouTube, so remember to go to concerts!
This work explores the complexities of the macro-, micro-, and inner-worlds of a walk in the woods. On the largest scale, many people, animals, machines will cross this path over the centuries although today it seems like a new discovery awaiting you. On the smallest scale, delicate sounds of footsteps are seen as catastrophic disruptions of nature’s mise en place. On the inside, such a peaceful environment can allow the wildest range of thoughts to occur, exposing new opportunities, some exhilarating, some terrifying. It is composed using only sounds from walking in the woods near the Avenue of Beehives in Vila Dum Santo from the Viseu Rural archive.
Note: Visual and aural clarity is way better in the original than on YouTube, so remember to go to concerts! The complex audio in this one gets especially fuzzy on YouTube…
The voice of the machine / How our devices party when we’re away: Listen to the wide variety of timbres, rhythm, and textures that come out of a simple feedback loop and ONLY a 1 second delay—no other processing besides acoustic effects of the room and moving bodies around the speakers.
Developed while in residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, at I-Park, and at the Atlantic Center for the Arts again. Premiered in four channels at the Sound and Music Computing conference (SMC) in Greater Helsinki, Finland.
This is a set of six variations Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 (BWV 1007), especially the famous opening motive. These silent videos are presented as musical graphic scores, meant to be interpreted more subjectively than traditional notation. Continue reading →
The classic Airstream trailer looks fast, even when it’s standing still. Architect Edward Noonan amplified this effect when he installed an Airstream trailer on the roof of the building at 1807 W. Sunnyside Ave., because he “didn’t want to haul an Airstream across the country to go do things.” (It’s officially named the Gentle Annie Stafford Pavilion and Conference Center.)
Only visible to passing trains, this stationary trailer embodies Noonan’s statement: you don’t have to go in order to do. To people sitting idly on the passing trains, they feel like the stationary ones, with the world—and the Airstream— slipping past them.
This piece gives florid flurries and jazzy lines to low instruments to reflect the juxtaposition of smooth lines and heavy materials in the Airstream. The electronic sounds are derived from audiovisual source recordings from the site. All sounds you hear are “carved” from the source recordings of trains passing the building, and melodic and harmonic contours are shaped by video material taken from the trains as they pass the trailer.
The culminating quirky jazzy tune is a transcription of the safety message heard on one of the trains. Its text harkens back to Noonan’s impulse to do something out of the ordinary, his stories of how it confused people and frustrated authorities, and ultimately allowed him to take the trailer where he really wanted to go. The message encourages you to “[be] observant of your surroundings” and “report any suspicious behavior or items,” with the key slogan, “If you see something, say something.” While on the surface it raises suspicion of anything nonconformist, you could also take as encouragement to watch for the quirks of life like the Airstream as you pass by, maybe go inside and follow where you mind wants to go, see what you see in your mind’s eye, and share it with the world.
Texas A&M University hosted the World War I conference, “1914 and the Making of the 20th Century” and as a part of it, the Theatre Arts program produced Journey’s End by R. C. Sheriff, directed by Anne Quackenbush. I directed some exciting developments in sound design for the show, which you can read about here: link.