Classical Inclinations

Listening to contemporary composition and avant garde or experimental works, I’ve noticed and coincidence of timbral representation, do you hear it in these works too?

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Brady Marks is a computational artist concerned with we live in the face of technological encroachment, to that end she experiments with media configurations that express a middle way between technological fetishism and dystopian fantasies.

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  1. 2 April , 2019
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    * Kenneth Newby, Flicker Generative Orchestra – Dance (for Mingus)
    I can add something of an insiders perspective on the question by revealing some key aspects of how my piece works and produces the kind of music it does. The piece grew organically by means of parallel emergent rhythmic and melodic forms: melody based on mapping pitches from Per Norgard’s Infinity Series, rhythm from mapping stochastically filtered pulse trains in relations of harmonic proportions. Emergent textures arose based on how these melodic and rhythmic emergences interact when mapped onto an ensemble made up of a diverse set of instruments: string bass, prepared piano, contrabass clarinet, alto flute, tenor trombone, bass trumpet, crotales, and bass waterphone, with the prepared piano being perhaps the most self variant of the group, functioning as it does as an orchestra in miniature, with a percussion section, drums, rattles, bells, gongs, as well as some traditional ‘straight’ piano sounds. The bass waterphone provides sustained timbres that could be mistaken for electroacoustic timbres. There’s also the way repetition works in the piece, which is clearly pattern-based but rarely repeats any one gesture in exactly the same way.

    So I listened to the other pieces and took notes on a very surface reading of instrumentation, texture, form, mappings, etc., as those features stood out in some way in relation to my own work.

    You’ll see that there’s overlap in some of these features in some of the pieces but not all. I think the one feature they all share to some degree is an emphasis on timbre, texture, the sound in itself. In that sense they share some resemblance to compositions of the spectral school of Murail, Grisey, Saariaho, etc.

    * Sean McCann – String Quartet with Ski Response
    brass instruments, string chords, woodwinds (flute, saxophone) voice, percussion (bells, crackles, dry textures)

    * Sarah Davachi – Evensong
    piano, strings, voice, drones

    * Sean McCann – Video Singing Score No.1
    choir, sequence of chordal textures, focus on texture

    * Stephen Morris and Mark Timmings (Electra Choir) – Wetland Senario
    mapping the environment to vocal gestures

    * Seth Graham – Performed by the Kymatic Ensemble – Gasp
    electroacoustic timbres, transformations, repetition of gestures that don’t actually repeat in the same way, piano, mallets, voice, winds, language, strings. It reminded me of one of the free sections from a late Talk Talk album, only amped up.

    A very nice set overall. I greatly enjoyed listening to it.

    Kenneth.

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