Flute, Piano, Objects, Lights
Commissioned by Andrew D'Antonio and Erin Dubois
In Tool-Being, the flute and piano play a trio with bike lights and cassette tape players. The cassettes contain nothing more than a steady electronic tone, turning the tape players themselves into instruments. The bike lights amplify the visuality of the performance, their shifting patterns function as another layer of the composition, guiding or conflicting with the sound. These objects transform the instrumental performance into a more theatrical, visual experience. By using these objects, it becomes possible to look at the flute and piano with renewed eyes, as they become entwined within the consumer technology surrounding them. The compositional focus of the piece exists in a state of constant flux, continuously shifting between the sounds of the instruments, the visual, and the world of the objects. The title is borrowed from Graham Harman's foundational text on object oriented ontology.
4/5/16 - Andrew D'Antonio, Erin Dubois - Robyn Newhouse Hall - Springfield, MA
4/8/16 - Andrew D'Antonio, Erin Dubois - Edwards Church – Northampton, MA
4/9/16 - Andrew D'Antonio, Erin Dubois - Green Room – Sommerville, MA
4/10/16 - Andrew D'Antonio, Erin Dubois - St. John's Episcopal Church – Williamstown, MA
5/29/16 - Andrew D'Antonio, Erin Dubois - Recorded at Rotary Records – West Springfield, MA
Still and Moving Lines (2015)
MIDI Controller, 4 Channel Live Electronics, Live Video
5' - 15'
Still and Moving Lines is an exploration in acoustic interference and the psychoacoustics of tuning. Each octave of the Malletkat features the same set of intervals based on the first 5 octaves of the harmonic series. However each octave uses a different generating frequency: 200hz, 201hz, 202hz, and 203hz. This allows for the exploration of exact just tuning as well as extremely minute differences in intervallic relationships that can simultaneously affect both timbre and rhythm. Each octave is placed in a different speaker of a quadraphonic set up, allowing for all of the acoustic interferences to occur in physical space, occasionally moving the sound around the room via shifting zones of interference. The visual accompaniment takes the frequencies being played and plots them on an x-y plane, creating Lissajous curves that reveal the physicality of the interaction of moving waves. The visual system was designed by Nicole Del Medico. The title of the work is an homage to Alvin Lucier's seminal work "Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbola".
5/31/15 - Rick Sacks, MalletKAT - Arraymusic, Toronto, ON - Presented by the Arraymusic Young Composers Workshop
11/21/15 - Ben Wylie, MIDI Keyboard - The Western Front, Vancouver, BC - Presented as part of Vancouver Pro Musica's Electroacoustic Festival
Two Alto Saxophones
Dichotic is a work concerned with the physicality of the saxophone. Roaring and screaming but also delicate and whispering, the sound of the saxophone is explored using a pitch system based around the harmonics of Db. This piece was written for the saxophone duo Stereoscope.
6/6/15 - Stereoscope (Jacob Armstrong/Olivia Shortt) - Montreal, QC - Presented by the Montreal Contemporary Music Lab
11/12/16 - Stereoscope (Jacob Armstrong/Olivia Shortt) - Sudbury, ON - Presented by 5-Penny New Music Concerts
3/26/17 - Stereoscope (Jacob Armstrong/Olivia Shortt) - Toronto, ON - Presented by the Toronto Creative Music Lab
5/5/17 - Stereoscope (Jacob Armstrong/Olivia Shortt) - Toronto, ON - Presented by the Music Gallery
HUM II (2015)
Bassoon and Electronics
Commissioned by the Turning Point Ensemble
Hum II is the successor to an earlier work, HUM for amplifier and electronics. Both works use the same material for the electronic element: sine tones derived from the harmonics of 60hz, the frequency of AC current. In this piece, the bassoonist plays a duo with these tones, moving in and out of tune with the electronic pitches. The electronic track was designed both for the sound and to create interesting patterns on an oscilloscope, resulting in the sound of electricity controlling the action of electricity.
The original piece, HUM, can be heard here: https://soundcloud.com/ben-wylie/hum
9/25/15 - Ingrid Chiang, Bassoon - Lost + Found Cafe, Vancouver, BC - Presented by the Turning Point Ensemble
2/20/16 - Chris Watford, Bassoon - Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA - Presented by the Boston Microtonal Society
10/13/18 - Ryan M. Hare, Bassoon - Washington State University, Pullman, WA - Presented by the WSU Electroacoustic Minifest
In Early Dawn or Distance (2014)
Amplified Flute and Piano Resonance
Commissioned by Leia Slosberg
This piece was written for and is dedicated to Leia Slosberg. The text of the piece contains the addresses of friends, workplaces, schools, lovers, enemies, etc. from my four years living in Boston. The flutist is amplified and sent to transducer speakers attached to the inside of a piano, thus the sounds produced by the player cause the strings of the piano to resonate sympathetically. In this way I hope to symbolically make these memories physical as time separates me from their reality. The title is a line from the state poem of Massachusetts.
3/16/15 - Leia Slosberg - Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC
3/17/15 - Leia Slosberg - Gallery 1412, Seattle, WA
7/25/15 - Sylvie Lacroix - University of Victoria, Victoria, BC - Read as part of the 2015 SALT Festival
An inequality: wind flower (2013)
Two Electric Guitars
An inequality: wind flower was written for myself and AJ Durham. The main concept of the piece is exploring microtonality through the use of two guitars with opposing strings tuned a quarter tone sharp (i.e. guitar 1 has strings A,G, and E tuned sharp while guitar 2 has the opposite). The pitch content is restricted to using the harmonics of the 2 guitars, based on the built-in microtonality of the harmonic series and amplifying that with the microtonal tuning. The piece is made of three large sections. The first uses extremely close microtonal clusters that beat very heavily both within themselves and against the other guitar. The beating of these clusters creates constantly changing polyrhythmic structures that are morphed through the differing sizes of the intervals (thus affecting the speed of the beating) and also from the way the two guitars’ delays are endlessly shifting in their relationship to one another. The second section begins with a melody that is exchanged between the two guitars, one of the few times in the piece when the guitars’ attacks can be heard. The material from the melody is then incorporated into the swirling sound-world from the previous section, with the clusters cutting into the more widely spaced harmonies derived from the melodic material. The last section builds scales based on just intonation with fundamentals changing regularly according to a warped version of the circle of fifths and pivot notes that work as different ratios for each system. The title is taken from the 16th chapter of Louis Zukofsky’s magnum opus, the nearly 900-page poem simply titled “A”.
10/15/13 - Ben Wylie, AJ Durham - Boston Conservatory, Boston, MA - Presented by the Boston Conservatory's Composer Recital Series
8/21/15 - Ben Wylie, Alex Mah - Merge, Vancouver, BC - Presented as part of "New Directions in Elevator Music"
7/25/18 - Sean Rogan, Alex Tentor - Darmstadt, Germany - Presented as part of the Darmstadt Ferienkurse Guitar Studio