In our high-speed world, all things at rest quietly defend their silent mysteries. In Alien Lands we encounter energetic patterns of silence and noise for 4 percussionists, a sonic aesthetic of the monochrome, focused and rich—to Bhagwati, a lively market is a monochrome sound, as are cracking ice floes, screaming children, a scorching fire, an idling truck, a thousand bees, a house creaking at night… Therefore each of the movements of Alien Lands for percussion quartet uses a very limited number of instruments that carry the work, each uses one overall sound, one type of movement, one formal structure—and yet the listener can discover riches in its verylimitations. All movements are based on a lipogram poem (using only 9 letters of thealphabet) that I wrote in 2001, a poem that has fueled a series of large scale workssince then. In all these works, the sequence of the letters in the poem indicates theformal structure—but the way they are interpreted is different each time. In Atavist, the letters govern the distribution of rhythms in space. In Nested, they are transformed into Indian percussion syllables. In Sentient they steer the evolution of tempi and sounds in space.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013