Monday, October 27, 2008

Scale of the Day: E Phrygian diminished 4


The intervallic content of the E Phrygian diminished 4 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Whole Number Ratios, Additive Patterns and Math Rock

Michael Harrison: Revelation: Music in Pure Intonation. 2007. Cantaloupe Music: CA 21043.

Michael Harrison: piano in just intonation

The fingerprints and breath of Lamont Young's Well Tuned Piano feels close at hand at the start of this piece. The just intervals and "tone clouds" of standing waves are at once a familiar texture and compositional device associated with Young. But the formal construction is entirely Harrison's. And it is the undeniable sonic beauty of this particular piano (I believe it is an adapted Schimmel that I once heard Harrison play live) that is recorded with incredible clarity on this release. The cascading crescendos add a dynamic touch to this music as it builds toward an astonishing conclusion. With deliberately articulated phrasing this becomes a work that allows the "pure intonation" to become enmeshed within every harmonic crevice of the music without obscuring the impressive compositional details.

Philip Glass: Volume II: Orchestral Music. 2007. Orange Mountain Music: 0047.

Days and Nights in Rocinha (1998)
performed by the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra
Dennis Russell Davies: conductor

Persephone (1994)
performed by the Relache Ensemble
Joseph Franklin: director

Philip Glass has built up his career out of a sound so identifiable - and undeniably "pleasant" - that it manages to attract and repulse at the same time. The tonal progressions modulating around pedal points along a steady pulse makes for a music full of hooks that effortless draw the ears in. The early works of Glass revolved around a repetitiveness with an edge. While later works have softened up many of the static textures in favor of lush blankets of sound. These orchestral works from the 1990's come from a period just after the mushy middle with their soft contours. The material is - as always with Glass - familiar to a fault. Yet completely enjoyable. Days and Nights in Rocinha in particular is excruciatingly attractive. One is tempted to admire and reject this music at the same time. In the end, one can't help but listen.

Sleeping People: Growing. 2005. Temporary Residence: TRR 123.

Kasey Boekholt: guitar
Joileah Maddock: guitar
Kenseth Thibideau: bass
Brandon Relf: drums
Amber Coffman: guitar

Progressive rock is alive and well in the clean, irregular beats of Sleeping People combined with a sonic vocabulary informed by the San Diego punk scene. There's something satisfying about grooving to a beat that juts off with odd stops and turns and heady structures. This is music that appeals to the physical, rhythmic propulsion while teasing the brain with unusual structures. There's some intricate guitar work all over this recording combined with tight drumming. Party music for people ready to dance to prime numbers. Enthusiastically recommended.

HurdAudio Rotation: Ergotic Undertones

Killick: Smudgeriffic. 2007. Sul Ponticello: 021. (#9 of a limited, one-time run of 33)

Killick: guitar

The liner notes say it well: "me and a guitar, 7.9.07." An exploration of the electric guitar for a single take that treats every sounding part of the instrument as fair game. One can hear the joy and sonic meditation in just the on/off state of electricity coursing through this instrument. Killick reaches a unique state of consciousness through improvisation. Hearing the playback of that experimentation and sense of play reveals the particulars of the mind at work in this music. The sense of exploration and openness to sound weaves an interesting journey.

James Tenney: Melody, Ergodicity and Indeterminacy. 2007. Mode Records: Mode 185.

performed by The Barton Workshop
Poem (1955)
Ergodos I (1963)
Monody (1959)
Ergodos II (1964)
Seegersong #1 (1999)
String Complement (wigh Ergodos II) (1964)
Seegersong #2 (1999)
Instrumental Responses (with Ergodos I) (1964)
Ergodos III (1994)
Percussion Response (with Ergodos I) (1964)

Painted with strokes of solo monophonic instruments (flute, clarinet), computer music, strings, percussion and various combinations of all of the above the aesthetic strain that runs through James Tenney's music emerges with loving clarity in this recording. These are pieces for the ear to experience sound in its most essential, physical sense. There's no emotional calculation here. Just an austere beauty that hovers in the air when the mind finds its focus. The Barton Ensemble has recorded a remarkable representation of this singular aesthetic. The contrast in ensembles creates barely a ripple against the clear sensibility behind this music.

Olivier Messiaen: Messiaen Edition [disc 1]. 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988, 1996, 2005. Teldec Classics/Warner Classics/Warner Music Group Company: 2564 62162-2.

Petites esquisses d'oiseaux (1985)
Preludes (1928 - 29)
Quatre Etudes de rythme (1949-50)

Yvonne Loriod: piano

Large scale solo piano by Olivier Messiaen performed by his widow. These are outstanding performances of intricate compositions that brings out a lot of details. If you have an ear for the Messiaen sound this is a definitive recording of a key part of twentieth century piano literature. The consistent density of ideas between the 1928 and 1985 compositions is striking. Equally striking is the contrast between the early and late pieces.

Scale of the Day: A Sharp Pythagorean Phrygian


The A Sharp Pythagorean Phrygian Scale. I have a particular fondness for stringing the words "Pythagorean" and "Phrygian" together for their visual - but not spoken - alliteration. Here the 3/2 perfect fifth is the only otonal interval in a scale shaded by utonality.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Duo in Italy, Trio with a Fuse, and a Duo with a Spark!

Nels Cline/Elliott Sharp: Duo Milano. 2007. Long Song Records: LSRCD 103.

Nels Cline: guitars
Elliott Sharp: guitars

With two guitarists working a similar territory of extended technique on acoustic and electric guitars, listening to this recording leads to several moments of puzzling out who is playing which part. With a few tell-tale Sharp licks in the right speaker I'm inclined to conclude that Nels Cline is on the left. This overlap of sensibilities makes for an engaging listen. The duo format is one that Elliott Sharp has explored frequently - particularly with string players - and his developed technique finds an exceptional sonic environment on this disc. The clean, well-recorded production serves this music well.

Matthew Shipp Trio: Circular Temple. 1994. Infinite Zero: 9 14506-2.

Matthew Shipp: piano
William Parker: bass
Whit Dickey: drums

This early Matthew Shipp effort is well worth revisiting - particularly in light of how much these ears have learned about Shipp and William Parker since the last time I gave this disc a spin. The more I hear, the more impressed I am with these figures of New York's Vision Festival. In Circular Temple there is a great dose of free improvising in four movements held together by a consistent approach and chemistry between players. The intensity and focus in this music is high while the range of durations between movements - from under four minutes to just under half and hour - gives the overall compositional feel an organic quality. The ability of Shipp to light a sonic fuse that Parker and Dickey pick up and throw around makes for a timeless listening experience. Beautiful, texturally thick and focused.

Marty Ehrlich/Myra Melford: Spark! 2007. Palmetto Records: PM 2129.

Marty Ehrlich: alto saxophone, clarinet
Myra Melford: piano

This one is nearly flawless. Two of the best composer improvisers meeting each other as collaborators with some of the most grounded, intuitively ranging duets for piano and reeds. It's not hard to pick out which pieces are composed by which player. Yet it's the addition (and subtraction) that makes these performances so engaging. Ehrlich's "Hymn" opens and closes this set with its gospel-like inflections and soul-drenched sensibility while "Night" may be my new favorite Melford composition with its tantalizing restraint. Spark! deserves many spins.

Scale of the Day: G Locrian mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The G Locrian mapped to the Square-root-of-2. The Locrian shade of a quarter-tone scale.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Scale of the Day: C Locrian


The intervallic content of the C Locrian Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scale of the Day: G Locrian diminished 4


The G Locrian diminished 4 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument. This scale is also known as the "super locrian" scale.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scale of the Day: A Flat Whole-tone


The A Flat Whole-tone Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sweeter and Sweeter (Than the Day)

Wayne Horvitz/Sweeter Than the Day @ An Die Musik, Baltimore, MD
Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wayne Horvitz: piano
Timothy Young: guitar
Keith Lowe: bass
Eric Eagle: drums

In my years living in Seattle I was fortunate to absorb the music of Wayne Horvitz through several live encounters like this one. His melodic sensibilities flow through my veins. His arrangements resonate with my core. Difficult days are often countered with a dose of Zony Mash or Pigpen. Sweeter Than the Day takes the Zony Mash songbook into a piano quartet where the stripped down, spare parts bring the melodic ingenuity of these pieces to the forefront. While ear-catching and engaging on first listen, this music has a sneaky, addictive quality lurking beneath the deceptive simplicity of these tunes. The steadfast, occasionally funky sense of time that courses through this music completes a sound that appeals to the mind and body. A combination of Erik Satie, Thelonius Monk and Otis Spann with a tight rhythm section.

Guitarist Timothy Young has been playing with Wayne Horvitz for over a decade. He knows these tunes inside and out. As the only player without a stand of sheet music before him on the stage his ability to play and improvise from within has developed to a devastating level of musicianship. Hearing him play music I know almost as well as he does reinforced the chemistry he has in collaborating with Horvitz.

HurdAudio Rotation: Hammer, Paris, Freedom!

Elliott Sharp/Soldier String Quartet: Hammer, Anvil, Stirrup. 1989. SST Records: SST CD 232.

Elliott Sharp: composer, guitars
Laura Seaton: violin
David Soldier: violin
Ron Lawrence: viola
Mary Wooten: cello
Ratso B. Harris: bass

This is one of those discs I tend to include when people ask for lists of high esteemed recordings in my collection. The main attraction is "Tessalation Row," possibly Sharp's most impressive and enduring chamber work to date. The sound of it, with the relentless scratching into an unbelievably rich, harsh texture combined with the formal underpinnings of applying the Fibbonacci series to nearly every parameter makes for a recording that hits these ears often. It's music like this that made me into the music collector I am today. Constantly seeking out listening experiences like this. The compositions that surround "Tessalation Row" are drawn from the same vein. Each comes up with a different application of mangled, lower east side, hard core aesthetic smeared over a string quartet. "Hammer, Anvil, Stirrup" adds electric guitar into the mix and "Re/iterations" offers up a multi-track version of "Tessalation Row" with contrabass added into the sound. The result is a stark, hostile environment of inordinate appeal.

Cecil Taylor: The Great Paris Concert. 1966 (re-released in 1994). Black Lion: BLCD 60201.

Cecil Taylor: piano
Jimmy Lyons: alto saxophone
Alan Silva: bass
Andrew Cyrille: drums

The attraction here for a Cecil Taylor fan is the interaction between these four players as they aggressively shape their free jazz sound in this 1966 performance in Paris. "Student Studies" parts one and two pull at the long form, creative forces at work as the four pairs of ears run a jagged dance over cerebral impulse. Andrew Cyrille's drumming in particular leaps out from the speakers with a propulsive edge.

Max Roach: We Insist! - Freedom Now Suite. 1960 (re-released in 1989). Candid Records: CCD 79002.

Max Roach: drums
Booker Little: trumpet
Julian Priester: trombone
Walter Benton: tenor saxophone
Coleman Hawkins: tenor saxophone
James Schenck: bass
Michael Olatunji: congas
Ray Mantilla: percussion
Tomas DuVall: percussion
Abbey Lincoln: vocals

There is so much that hits the mark on this classic recording. Max Roach on drums, Max Roach as composer and conceptualist on a suite celebrating emancipation at a time when the civil rights movement was picking up momentum. Then there is the personnel list (Booker Little! Coleman Hawkins!). Abbey Lincoln's voice sounds along a steady pulse of African-rooted drumming as various soloist come into focus. Julian Priester's relaxed solo over "Tears for Johannesburg" is a thing of beauty. But it's the drums and percussion that runs throughout this suite with the irresistible qualities of Max Roach on full display.

Scale of the Day: E Flat Octotonic-1 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 1% wide


The E Flat Octotonic-1 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 1% wide Scale. This remapping of the equal tempered octotonic scale into an interval 606-cents wide concludes a long sequence of octotonic scales in this current cycle.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Falling River and Soaring Brass

Anthony Braxton/Falling River Quartet
Friday, October 10, 2008
Settlement Music School, Philadelphia, PA

Composition 367a + 366b + 364c + 366d
Anthony Braxton: reeds
Erica Dicker: violin/viola
Sally Norris: piano
Katherine Young: bassoon/contrabassoon

Anthony Braxton conducting pieces for brass
Saturday, October 11, 2008
St. Mark's Church, Philadelphia, PA
Anthony Braxton: compositions/conductor

Composition No. 103 (for seven trumpets)
Taylor Ho Bynum, Tim Byrnes, Forbes Graham, Sam Hoyt, John McDonough, Nicole Rampersaud, Nate Wooley: trumpets

Composition No. 169 (for Brass Quintet)
Taylor Ho Bynum: trumpet
Nate Wooley: trumpet
Jeremy Thal: french horn
Reut Regev: trombone
Jay Rozen: tuba

Viewed from in front of the stage, the score on Anthony Braxton's stand appeared to be a large sheet of paper bearing three flesh-toned shapes. The top shape having the approximate shape of the inner ear taken from an anatomy text book. The second shape taking on the rough cylindrical form suggestive of the trachea. The large sheet on the piano had the appearance of a Rorschach Test in blacks and grays against the white background. "How would you play that?" the drummer seated next to me asked, almost rhetorically. It's Anthony Braxton's music. It's a graphic score. There's clearly some improvisation involved.  

With minds focused upon the colorful splotches the Falling River Quartet proceeded to improvise for over an hour. Working a promising cross-section of creative improvised music and chamber jazz. The young students performing with Braxton had the feel of an apprenticeship with the accomplished professor and improvisor. While this is(are) his composition(s), his aesthetic, his unique language and clearly his direction Braxton has an uncanny ability to push these players toward creative extremes even as his own, staggering ability feels remarkably unforced by comparison. The emergence of group staccato passages, contrasted by threads of legato polyphony and fluctuations in pulse structure suggest a compositional logic consistent with Braxton's "tri-centric" approach. The timbral diversity from each performer - accomplished through both extended technique and use of multiple instruments - kept the sonic fabric engaging and unpredictable.

Upon examining the scores after the performance the shapes turned out to be brush strokes applied to paper with Braxton's characteristic graphic diagrams of dotted lines and short-hand symbols that correspond to different types of melodic lines and phrasing. The emergence of cross-quartet textural convergence being a combination of notation and responsive improvisation. For this performance the players were reading from scores from different compositions from the mid 360's: 366b for violin/viola, 367a for saxophones/contrabass clarinet, 366d for bassoons and 364c for piano.  

"To experience this work is to enter a universe of sound and movement that gives a demonstration of the beauty of brass music and performance synchronization. To experience this work is to enter a reality context of changing moment focuses and inter-sound relationships that actualizes a state of being for creative discovery." Anthony Braxton's description of Composition 103 could describe the experience of both works on the program the following evening. Within the old world interior of St. Mark's Church there was a heady tinge to the composed structures behind these pieces.

Composition 106 featured seven trumpet players in costumes designed by Rosemary Kielnecker standing at variable heights at the front of the chapel. With extensive use of mutes along with a recurring thread of bull fighting music the ears were lulled into the interior of a trumpet sound multiplied. Composition 169 for brass quintet presented a textural study of prolonged, static textures punctuated by improvised details. Both were striking, intense works that thrive within extended durations worthy of focused listening.  

Scale of the Day: E Flat Octotonic-1 2% narrow


The E Flat Octotonic-1 2% narrow Scale.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Scale of the Day: E Flat Octotonic-1 (2 - 1) 1% narrow


The E Flat Octotonic-1 (2 - 1) 1% narrow Scale. Now taking a look at octotonic scales within compressed octaves.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scale of the Day: E Flat Octotonic-1 mapped to the Cube-root-of-2


The E Flat Octotonic-1 mapped to the Cube-root-of-2 Scale. The equal tempered octotonic shrunk down to fit within an equal tempered major third. Note the alternating pattern of 66.67-cent and 33.33-cent intervals leading to a sequential pattern of 0.00, 66.67, 100.00, 166.67, 200.00, etc.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Improvisation: A Tale of Two Festivals

2008 Guelph Jazz Festival - Septemper 3 - 7, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
2008 High Zero Festival - September 16 - 21, Baltimore, MD, USA

With sponsorship ranging from the Government of Canada, the Ontario Arts Council, the Wellington Brewery (just to name a few) along with the resources of the University of Guelph the Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium celebrates the art of improvisation through a combination of concerts, community outreach and formal presentations of current academic research into the art of improvised music.  Now with fifteen years of celebrating world-class avant jazz music the operation led by Ajay Heble presents a remarkable balance of formal and casual events that both challenge and invite ears of all degrees of interest intensity.  

The Wyndham Street Jazz Tent is the most visibly community-centric component of the Guelph Jazz Festival.  Free and open to the public along with plenty of food and drink the mix of music and accommodating weather - miraculously timed between days of heavy rain - is a tangible reminder that creative improvised music is easily incorporated as a positive part of the larger cultural fabric.

That same motivation to bring improvisation to the streets takes on a decidedly renegade quality with the High Jinx portion of the High Zero Festival.  These often take the form of a free music parade through the Fells Point neighborhood, music performed upon plants, music performed upon bicycle parts or a small mob chewing carrots loudly at an upscale supermarket.  High Jinx prides itself upon its unsanctioned, edgy quality that unleashes improvised expression upon an unsuspecting populous.  While such performances may create socially uncomfortable situations they rarely trigger anything approximating the "danger" implied by permit-less street performance.  

One such High Jinx was the "Dog Poop Chorus" one evening at a Mount Vernon park popular with dog owners.  A small ensemble of performers armed with a bass clarinet, balloons and other instruments stood by and waited to serenade any dog actively relieving themselves.  The humor of this happening was not lost on the dog owners.  And strangely enough, the dogs appeared to enjoy the attention as well.  As community outreach this had the effect of disarming attitudes on both sides of the creative improvised music divide.  This music was not aloof or overly serious as public creative expression.  And the general public is open minded enough to take in the experience for what it is.

The primary difference between the Guelph Jazz Festival and High Zero is found in their respective funding structures and the relationship with institutions that stems from that.  Both draw upon individual contributions and volunteers and have a commitment to infusing an international mix of performers into the experience.  The Guelph Jazz Festival operates as an inside-the-institution entity that adeptly channels resources toward celebrating the current state of avant jazz.  This is reflected in a concert series that features touring groups and established ensembles along with a smattering of new collaborations debuted at workshops along the way.  High Zero operates as a community of outsiders that places its focus on individual players.  Their concert series features long sets at the Theatre Project as a laboratory of mixing together free improvisors with no previous history of collaboration.  The contrast is striking.  The Guelph Jazz Festival presents what is possible with large government and institutional support.  And it is beautiful.  High Zero presents what is possible within a "do it yourself," ad-hoc mindset.  And it is beautiful.  

What would be possible with a cross-pollination between the 15-year-old and 10-year-old festivals?  High Zero does feature a small series of lectures by individual guest performers.  What would an expanded colloquium of academic papers look like within the High Zero framework?  A published set of abstracts from both festivals would be a welcome addition.  Thinking and debating this music is as much a part of this world as playing and hearing it.  What would an additional emphasis of mixing contrasting performers look like at the Guelph Jazz Festival?  High Zero aggressively records and documents each performance and has a healthy catalogue of CDs and a DVD as a result.  An expansion of the media coming out of the Guelph Jazz Festival workshops would produce a mother lode representing that experience.

What is also striking is how the Guelph Jazz Festival and High Zero are similar given the contrast between funding, location and attitude.  Improvisation is a living, complicated expression that is evolving along several trajectories.  Each attracts a core of passionately creative individuals.  Each offers up new artists to discover and fill the ears.  My ears were strongly pulled toward Burnt Sugar at the Wyndham Street Jazz Tent as something new to explore.  High Zero piqued curiosity in the music of Liz Allbee, MV Carbon and Bill Nace - just to name a few.  At the end of it all, these ears were very full, but still hungry.

Scale of the Day: E Flat Pythagorean Octotonic-1 - Lydian Mode - mapped to the Triative


The E Flat Pythagorean Octotonic-1 - Lydian Mode - mapped to the Triative Scale.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Scale of the Day: E Flat Pythagorean Octotonic-1 - Ionian Mode - mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The E Flat Pythagorean Octotonic-1 - Ionian Mode - mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. The 3-limit just intervals compressed to fit within a 600-cent "tritone" resulting in a fine-tuned variation of a quarter-tone scale.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Scale of the Day: E Flat Pythagorean Octotonic-1 - Mixolydian Mode


The E Flat Pythagorean Octotonic-1 - Mixolydian Mode - Scale. The octotonic-1 scale spelled out in 3-limit just intonation with five otonal intervals and two utonal intervals (the 32/37 minor third and 4/3 perfect fourth in this case).

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Scale of the Day: C Sharp Octotonic-2 2% wide


The C Sharp Octotonic-2 2% wide Scale. Featuring a stretched octave nearly an 1/8th-tone wider.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Scale of the Day: C Sharp Octotonic-2 mapped to the 3/2


The C Sharp Octotonic-2 mapped to the 3/2 Scale. Eight notes of alternating equal-tempered width filling out a just perfect fifth.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Mob Infiltration

Mobtown Modern: Sound Ecology @ Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD
October 1, 2008
The Light Within by John Luther Adams
Katayoon Hodjati: alto flute
Brian Sacawa: baritone saxophone
Ruby Fulton: violin
Nathan Bontrager: cello
Devin Hurd: piano
Wojciech Herzyk: percussion

Abime de oiseaux by Olivier Messiaen
Jennifer Everhart: clarinet

Night Chatter by Stephen Vitiellomulti-channel electronic media

Tourmaline by Alexandra Gardner
Brian Sacawa: soprano saxophone

Sea Tropes by Ingram Marshall
Katayoon Hodjati: flute
Jennifer Everhart: bass clarinet
Ruby Fulton: violin
Nathan Bontrager: cello
Wojciech Herzyk: percussion

Playing from within the "Abyss of the Birds" - the solo clarinet movement from Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time - the hushed spaces between Jennifer Everhart's phrases pulled the ears deeper within the unhurried melancholy of that work.  Composed during Messiaen's time as a prisoner of war during the second world war using bird song heard just ou
tside his confined quarters the profound introspection and solitude continues to resonate with contemporary performances.  In this case bringing a stillness into the midst of the well attended space at Baltimore's Contemporary Museum for a concert of works inspired by nature.  Abime de oiseaux was the solitary work from the twentieth century on the program - and the only piece that did not incorporate electronics into the sonic texture as early voices of the twenty-first century offered their aural ecology.

Alexandra Gardner's Tourmaline offered a dialogue between live and electronically manipulated soprano saxophone.  Named after a crystal known for it's layering of colors this piece carefully crafted an interaction between the two parts.  Gestures performed by Brian Sacawa would seamlessly blur into a timbral variant in the electronic part while sounds emanating from the speakers would transfer to the soprano saxophone as a singular phrase between two 
parts.  This allowed the electronic part to feel less like an accompaniment and more of an expressive component of the overall sound.  It also contributed to the geological sense of layering and vivid colors of its namesake.

Mobtown Modern concerts present music with a sense of single, tight sets presented without intermission.  This allows the palindromic logic of the set list to unfold.  At the center of this concert was Stephen Vitiello's Night Chatter - an electronic work for 5.1 surround speakers.  Without performers on stage, this was the contrast point within a program that moved from ensemble to soloist to empty stage to soloist and back to ensemble.  A cyclical sequence that reinforced an expansive sensibility of environment that may or may not include human presence.  But always offers sonic presence.  With Night Music the focus was on orchestration of environmental materials that imposed a beginning and an end upon excerpts from the larger world.

Ingram Marshall's Sea Tropes is a delicate, lush piece made up of lyrical threads that chart a course with a sea faring sense of rolling waves.  Having heard this piece come together from rehearsal to concert performance the sense of fragility was a wonder to behold.  The mix of modal materials, improvised sections and an electronic part of startling dynamic extremes comes together to form an attractive and unified piece.  

The Light Within by John Luther Adams forms a stasis of slowly moving harmonies made up of sustained parts.  Harmonies that transcend cadence and resolution by giving equal weight to severe consonance and rich dissonance.  Harmonies that sat under my own fingers as a performer on the piano part.  From the stage the click track from the headphones allows for the illusion of timelessness from the perspective of the audience.  As a performer, time takes on an interesting quality as one tracks it while playing outside of it.  Needing only to coordinate harmonic changes with the larger ensemble while sustaining a sense of stasis within the immediate texture.  The long durations of slowly evolving parts conveys a sense of vast, expansive landscapes of desolate extremes.  A beautiful work that finds a balance between human and geological scale.

Scale of the Day: E Flat Octotonic-2 mapped to the Triative


The intervallic content of the E Flat Octotonic-2 mapped to the Triative Scale.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Scale of the Day: C Sharp Pythagorean Octotonic-2 - Lydian Mode - mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The C Sharp Pythagorean Octotonic-2 - Lydian Mode - mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. All the 3-limit otonal intervals cut in half to fit into a 600-cent "tritone."