Three works for voice and electronics
Three works for Voice and Electronics
Mantra is a 23-minute sound meditation... It is strong, it is dark, it is powerful.
--San Francisco Chronicle
Mandalas are sacred pictures that can lead viewers to a state of "Satori" through intense and concentrated viewing of them. It seemed to be that "listening" was as cognitively viable as "seeing". Bloody human heads and skulls on the loins, copulating, and stomping on horrendous devils ... looking at those extraordinary and ferocious gods with their outraged faces twisted with anger, through the silence of the mandala, I couldn't help but feeling tremendous waves of furor and blasting roars. I felt the heaving engulfing waves steadily pushing forward, and body piercing arrows of lightning radiating from the mandalas.
Available here: iTunes HDtracks
Chanting the light of Foresight
Rova Saxophone Quartet
A brain-food delicacy.
The Tain Bo Cuailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley) is a central part of the eighth-century Ulster cycle of heroic tales and is Ireland's nearest approach to a great epic. It tells the story of a giant cattle-raid, the invasion of Ulster by the armies of Medb and Ailill, queen and king of Connacht, and their allies, seeking to carry off the great Brown Bull of Cuailnge.
Following an abandoned collaboration with the playwright Lee Brewer that was centered on the Thomas Kinsella translation of The Tain, I found myself under a spell and so began the work for the Rova. The wonderful rhythms and colours of the ancient names and places; Badb, Bricriu, Conchobor, Cuchulain, Finnabair, Galeoin, Scathach and Daire mac Fiachna must have floated their way to surface in some musical line or other.
Although extremely difficult to accomplish, I wanted to have part of the quartet's movements in "resonant intonation" with pure intervals combining in the saxophones radiant timbres. After composing the music I made a tape on the Prophet 5 synthesizer of the tuning so that the players could match the intervals in their rehearsals. Rova has taken this challenge seriously. The result is sounds that I have not heard previously coming from saxophones and is right in the tradition of Rova cutting an alternate groove in contemporary music. When we originally conceived of the project we wanted to leave room for lots of improvisation. This not only takes place in the "Pipes of Medb" and "Medb's Blues" but in addition Rova created the Battle Music section which is one of my favorites and points to their strong compositional abilities.
Available here: iTunes
She Is a Phantom
Harold Budd with Zeitgeist
One shatters glass in a vacuum, then finds the art part among the shards.
With this work, composed for Zeitgeist, plus the release of "By the Dawn's Early Light" in 1991, I returned to composing music for ensembles. For a decade I made mostly solo albums, sometimes collaborating with other artists, but I found that I was too often not interested in making a statement as much as I was interested in just making an album. This seemed pointless to me; I changed.
I became very attracted to the "suite structure" of Sandro Chia and others (and earlier in Mantegna and Barnett Newman, for example) and saw it as a way of making composition a process of literary discovery as opposed to searching for titles after the fact. (I first used this in 1988 with "The White Arcades".) Thus, for this work, I invented—conjured—at least two dozen "titles", more accurately called fantasies, observations, remembrances, whatever. I selected seventeen and placed them in a sequence that seemed absolutely right to me, that is, charged with arcane connections. The process of composing the music was in fact a process of discovery as I wound my way through maze of cross-references which only made themselves apparent in the process of confronting the hidden agenda in each work, in its placement. A Briefly Glanced Smile seems a recurring motive; number 13 is numbers 6 and 7 played simultaneously, a fact I didn't realize until well after the fact.
Available here: iTunes HDtracks
New Albion Records, Inc.