music made of reactions

My newest composition “Serial Parameter Shift” available on CD!

Ok, I am super excited to share this!

I have a new composition on an album distributed at the 2016 Darmstadt Institute! The Distractfold Ensemble released the album, “historage: Remixes/Reworkings/Responses,” in an extremely limited edition CD to participants in the historic Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music.

(But YOU don’t have to attend Darmstadt to hear the composition – you can save yourself some travel expenses and check it out on my Soundcloud!)

Since the 1950’s, the Darmstadt Summer Course has been a meeting place for musical heavy-hitters, including John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Olivier Messaien. I was selected to compose a piece in response to a selection from their archives: Marta Gentilucci’s “Radix Ipsius.”

It was an incredibly fun exercise, and it made Radix Ipsius one of my new favorite pieces! I’ll detail my process later, but, long story short, I knew I wanted to take the “spirit” of the woodblock that opens Gentilucci’s piece and apply it to a piano chord. So, I made a grid that analyzed each of Radix Ipsius’ sections by tone length, texture, pitch variation, density, sound source, and order. I then shifted each row of characteristics to the right or left, at first manipulating them to fulfill my desire to let the woodblock become sustained chords, and then letting the rest of the characteristics follow the pattern that created the woodblock adjustments. If that doesn’t make sense, don’t worry, I’ll explain more later!

(Amusingly, my VCFA brother-from-another-mother Aaron Butler was also selected for the CD).

Big thanks to the Distractfold Ensemble for putting this all together and including me!

My next blog post will go into the nitty-gritty details of how a “serial parameter shift” works and how I used it to make this piece.

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