Du bist die Ruh (2016)

Improvisatory art song for laptop quartet with Max MSP. Duration: 3 – 10 minutes. 

In the winter of 2016, the Long Beach Laptop Collective (from CSU Long Beach) went on an international tour throughout Germany to perform Voyage, a reconceptualization of German lied by Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, and Brahms. The project initiated in 2013, when the group teamed up with a Korean theatre troupe led by Byunkoo Ahn to premiere the concept at the “Spoleto Open” Festival dei due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. Nearly four years later, the concept was reimagined once again in Hamburg and Berlin with the same troupe, this time with several new pieces added to the set.

Du bist die Ruh is a reimagining of the original song by Schubert. It begins with the soft hum of crickets. Next enters my own version of the art song using excerpts of the original text, which is filtered to sound as though it could be coming from off-stage. This leads into a duet of pitch-shifted singing bowls and a resonant, melodic bass, with a processed version of the same art song overlaid.

The video below was taken from a live performance on January 24, 2017 at Monk Space, Los Angeles.

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Life on Mars (2015)

Electronic work, created on Logic Pro X. 2 minutes, 21 seconds. 

Little green men in turquoise suits are hustling to their various offices, mineral coffee in hand and sky-jet commute on the brain. Would they recognize us?

Life on Mars was released on an album of electronic works, Cosmic House-Warming Party (2015). It is available for download on Bandcamp.

Song of Earth (2015)

Ambient electronic work, created using Logic Pro X. 10 minutes, 36 seconds. 

Song of Earth combines a synthesizer with recorded audio of our solar system by NASA probes. It begins with simple pulsations that gradually grow in density before once again diminishing to a single pitch. Overlaid are the recorded sounds from space, other synthesized sounds, and an aleatoric piano line with an overarching contour of high-low-high.

Newsfeed (2016)

Mezzo-soprano, baritone, clarinet, electric guitar, electric bass, piano, drum set, percussion (vibraphone, xylophone, prayer bowl), and electronics. Approx. 14 minutes. 

Newsfeed centers on two ideas: the integration of popular with classical music, and an exploration of media absorption in multiple forms.

The piece uses borrowed instrumentation from the popular music world, including electric guitar, electric bass, and drum set. It also utilizes a range of styles, many of which are associated with popular music, including hip-hop, jazz, rock, reggae, and musical theater. Pre-recorded electronics accompany the live instruments, beginning with a sound collage of advertisements, popular music excerpts, and news media. The text is acquired from various media sources including political speeches, blogs, social media, and advertisements.

The fast-paced, fluctuating structure of the music is reflective of the way my generation processes media; we are continually taking in a vast array of content, often from multiple sources at a time, and consequently find ourselves in the questioning pit of “what, if anything, does it all mean?” The interruptive nature by which we digest media is further accented by periodic social media updates in the music. While not intended to criticize technology, this piece simply asks the question: is this means of absorbing and communicating information effective, and how has it shaped our world?

Newsfeed was premiered on April 28, 2016 at Daniel Recital Hall, CSU Long Beach. Performers: Maria Schafer (mezzo), Marcus Carline (baritone), Tanner Olivas (clarinet), Alexander Miller (electric guitar), Jonathan Eastly (electric bass), Paul Blackwell (piano), Tyler Kreutel (drum set), and Kevin Capacia (percussion). Conducted by Denny Bui.

Wood Fire (2016)

String Quartet. Approx. 2 minutes.

Wood Fire first contrasts, then ultimately combines, two simple ideas: a chord built by the accumulation of independent lines, and a pointillistic, folk-inspired texture. It was premiered by Friction Quartet on March 14, 2016 at Daniel Recital Hall, CSU Long Beach.

Passages

Piano, four hands. Approx. 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

Passages is an exploration of memory and its journey through the mind. It has a dampened and dream-like quality, along with driving momentum, as the central component of its aesthetic. The four hands version of this piece, which was composed in 2016, is a revision of an earlier work for a single pianist.

Passages was premiered by HOCKET on March 23, 2016 at Daniel Recital Hall, CSU Long Beach.