About the dance: Paper Moon reflects a year-long journey of writing,
inquiry into dance and technology performance, and collaboration with
artists of text, video, sound and movement. I am often compelled by the
simplicity of childhood songs and games, ritual in play, and the timelessness
found in play, ritual, and performance. This piece is an attempt to shape
the environments of those notions. Warm thanks are extended to Adam Zygmunt
for his eloquent and thoughtful sound score, Dan Kelley for a poignant
video and editing guidance, the UPD students for their consistent hard
work, Steve Boone for his sincere and seamless lighting and props, and
Dane and Summit Starr for being Dane and Summit.
About the music: Although my contribution to the music for Paper Moon
is electronic, one of my main goals was to create an organic, natural-sounding
score that relies heavily on music technology, yet avoids adding an overly
high-tech sheen to what is essentially a timeless fable. Both the imagery
within Tammy Starr's text and a recording of the text itself (here read
by UPD member Jennifer Page) served as a framework for the composition.
The music is based entirely on recordings of sounds of objects from the
text (such as scissors, crumpling paper, clapping, etc.), various sulings
(Indonesian bamboo flutes), and electronic noise, processed and rearranged
with the aid of a computer. This performance also includes a live element
during Tammy's solo improvisational dance during which I use a computer
to process and recombine sounds from the rest of the piece in real time.
Beat is an exploration of acoustical interference patterns produced by layering numerous precisely tuned (or detuned) sine waves, and the interconnections among timbre, pitch and rhythm that result.
Beat II and III are variations on Beat. All three pieces have exactly the same blueprint, but the basic material (originally a sine wave) is replaced with other sounds in these variations.
Fade to Red is an ode to the music of cheap and tacky horror movies of the late 70's and early 80's. Generally produced with a few analog synthesizers and maybe some beat-up old instruments borrowed from the director's friend, the music in these movies is at one corny, creepy, and entirely lacking in subtlety. Fade to Red is an homage to the sounds and spirit of this music, and humor and authenticity were favored over good tase in composing the piece.
Distant Cycles I and II are the result of an improvisation with Kurt Doles for my graduate thesis recital. Distant Cycles II is the original improvisation in its entirety. Distant Cycles I is based on an extension of the final section of II, with an overdubbed oboe solo.
The Edge of the Earth, composed in 1998 as my master's thesis, is an intensely personal, reflective work. The main means of organization in the piece is the emotional significance I attribute to its various parts. In its composition, I employed whatever styles or compositional techniques seemed suitable for any given moment, then tried to keep my writing as simple and direct as possible. For example, the use of free stochasticism represents in part a lack of control, and the use of ambience and just intonation suggest among other things a distant, celestial perfection. Directions, particularly up and down, also play a major role in the work.
Signals was written while I was a student in the Music Technology classes at Bowling Green State University. The piece represents a variety of signals which come and go, from simple beeping signal beacons to piercing sirens to dark, unusual sounds of unknown origin. The overall effect is to be unearthly and disorienting, though not overtly bizarre. To this end, I made generous use of panned sounds, stretched intervals, and pitch-bending sounds. Most of the melodic material present is in short phrases and small intervals (unisons, seconds, and thirds) which have been pulled slightly out of equal temperament. The sounds used are not particularly rich, with most of them consisting of single oscillators, dual-operator FM sounds, or a few stacked oscillators that have been detuned for warmth. As a result, the piece has a somewhat "classic" sound, reminiscent of some of the early work in electronic music.