RIFT & SHADE for STRING QUARTET
Performers: JACK Quartet
The concept for this piece began with an interest in continual and dramatic contrast. As the music was taking shape, the title Rift & Shade came to represent a visual manifestation of this idea. With only a small rift in the walls of a cavern, a piercing light and a deep shade can coexist in the same environment. The quartet mimics the stark contrasts of this image musically. In the first movement, the contrast is realized with a rapid alternation between several short gestures, each of which occupies a unique sonic space. In the second movement, the quick timbral changes are replaced by extreme registral contrasts, with the violins playing in their highest possible range, while the cello and viola play in their lowest.
VINYL for CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Performers: Alarm Will Sound
All recorded music is altered by the medium of its delivery. Most cassette tapes restrict high frequencies and digital mp3 files compress the original audio to its bare essentials. This piece is built around the peculiar alterations associated with vinyl records. The opening music jumps quickly between a variety of sounds, imitating the skipping that occurs when a needle is knocked out of a groove. Much of this material also includes small pitch fluctuations that imitate the sound of a warped vinyl. Later in the piece, the tempo and pitch both steadily increase during a long build as if the speed dial were being slowly changed from the setting for a 33 rpm vinyl to a 45 rpm. And finally, at the climax of the piece, the strings and woodwinds resonate strongly with a few fluctuations in energy, while the brass play at extreme volumes to represent the artifacts and distortion associated with a worn record or dull stylus.