Piece written, workshopped and recorded at the Irish Composition Summer School 2013. Quotation from the Sacred Harp song Wayfaring Stranger at the end.
zyxyz (for alto sax and marimba)
First performed by Alex Petcu and Carolyn Goodwin in the Kevin Barry room of the National Concert Hall, Dublin on the 11th December 2013. The rhythms in this piece are based on the recitation of the alphabet palindromically forwards and backwards getting one letter shorter with each repetition. It is about obsession and the cathartic nature of repetitive behaviour.
Under glass (for piano and tape)
Performed by Alexander Bernstein as part of the ICC solo series in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, September 2013
Glass allows things to be seen, to be restrained, to be protected and to be preserved. The analogy of a tape part frozen in time plays with the live performance of something fleeting and battling for survival. Shifting emphases in the repetitions offer new perspectives in an attempt to look at things in a dynamic relative way. By pinning a butterfly underglass the variations and fluctuations of colour and shape as it moves in time are lost even though other details are made clear. The act of recording preserves the idea and allows us to see details blurred in movement but at the same time it holds the seed of its loss.
Performed by the Quiet Music Ensemble at Sonic Vigil, Cork, November 2012. The piece has a gamelike structure, with a set of rules, trick cards and a series of acetates with patterned dots. Three acetates, the staves and the trick cards are dealt to the players. These acetates can be rotated or flipped on each player's stave or even swapped with another player. Two 'next' cards can be played by the players in possession of them to move the performance on to the next section. The performance can only finish once all the players have played their trick cards.
As the pendulums swung backwards and forwards over light sensors, the sampled words were stretched and contracted. This piece was performed by Kate Ellis (cello), Deirdre O'Leary (clarinet) , Roddy O'Keeffe (trombone), Peter Joyce (clarinet) and myself (spoken word and live electronics) for the graduation show We Have Two Ears at the Samuel Beckett theatre, Dublin.
A marble frame held the pendulums and a strung bow carved out of marble was plucked and sampled to initiate the piece, both sculptures were made by Martha Quinn.
Drag and Drop
This is part of a series of pieces looking at movement as a precursor to sound. It is based on a sample of a book being dropped at the centre of this bandstand in the Phoenix park. There is a flat wooden ceiling and a flat concrete floor that make this perceptible zinging, which is strongest at the dead centre. I analysed the sample and used its micro structure to determine when events would happen over the duration of the work. The other sounds are largely unprocessed bow drags over domestic objects.
Loaves and Fishes
In digital time stretching, the original sound is split up into small pieces, which are then overlapped in various ways to preserve either frequency or timing properties of the original sound. With this piece, I was interested in mimicking this process with a kind of handmade time stretching, where I was using much larger basic units. The deliberate clipping where the cuts are made makes the process even more evident.