6 works from a series of minimal compositions loosely based on the art & writings of Sol LeWitt, performed by the Edges Ensemble: Philip Thomas, James Saunders, Tim Parkinson, Angharad Davies, Stephen Chase & Rhodri Davies.
Saunders / Thomas / Parkinson / Davies / Chase / Davies (Edges Ensemble)
divisions that could be autonomous but that comprise the whole
Label: Another Timbre
Released in: UK
CD sleevenotes by James Saunders
My interest in multipart series follows an extended period of working on a modular composition, #[unassigned], which resulted in making 175 versions of the piece between 2000-9. Since 2009, I have begun to expand this idea through the composition of multipart series, where groups of pieces sharing similar processes and materials have a demonstrable relationship, drawing on my interest in equivalent practices in visual art.
divisions that could be autonomous but that comprise the whole (2009 - ) is a series of pieces which use the same score format: single pages containing sound events spread across a variable duration of between 40" - 1'20". The pieces in the series are performed as self-contained compositions. Any pages from the series may be combined and performed under the overall series title. The title comes from a text by Sol LeWitt in which he explains seriality in his own work:
"Serial compositions are multipart pieces with regulated changes. The differences between the parts are the subject of the composition. If some parts remain constant it is to punctuate the changes. The entire work could contain sub-divisions that could be autonomous but that comprise the whole. The autonomous parts are units, rows, sets, or any logical division that would be read as a complete thought. The series would be read by the viewer in a linear or narrative manner even though in its final form many of these sets would be operating simultaneously, making comprehension difficult."
Sol LeWitt, 'Serial Project No. 1 ABCD', Apsen Magazine, 5/6 (1966)
The title of the individual pieces are all excerpts from artists' statements. Each title was selected to describe a particular situation found in the piece. In some cases, the title came first, helping to generate a way of working with the available instruments, whilst in others it came after the piece was completed.
imperfections on the surface are occasionally apparent (2009) was written for Michael Pisaro, and first performed by him with the Experimental Music Workshop at the wulf, Los Angeles, 16 October 2009. It is for ten players, each with a cardboard takeaway-coffee cup and five different surfaces. The cups act as resonators when dragged across the surfaces. The performers must each source different surfaces (e.g. glass, brick, felt, sandpaper) such that there are 50 different surfaces in total. As with all the pieces in this series, the score pages may be played in any order, and each comprise a time structure which determines when sounds are to be made. The title is taken from Sol LeWitt's text Wall Drawings (1970).
PART OF IT MAY ALSO BE PART OF SOMETHING ELSE (2009) was written for Philip Thomas, and first performed by him at BMIC Cutting Edge, London, 5 November 2009. It explores the similarities between decaying piano sounds and sustained tones on the melodica and harmonica, and between radio static and breath. The title is part of Robert Barry's Art Work, 1970 and references the interchangeability of pages within this piece with others in the series.
components derive their value solely through their assigned context (2009) was written for this recording, and subsequently performed by Parkinson Saunders at the Soundwaves Festival, Brighton, 16 July 2010. It uses bowed wood and radio static, both played at low volumes. Its title, taken from Jack Burnham's essay System Esthetics (1968), refers to the way each sound is subtly coloured by other sounds which may be present, and that the particular combinations that arise in performance are made without prior agreement by the players.
materials vary greatly and are simply materials (2010) was a wedding gift for Tim Parkinson and Angharad Davies, and written for Rhodri Davies, who first performed it in Portmeirion, 22 October 2010. It uses ten different materials placed in a harp, and then bowed. The materials are drawn from the list of traditional gifts given for the first ten wedding anniversaries, and may be freely selected within this constraint by the performer. The title is taken from Donald Judd's essay Specific Objects (1964).
although it may appear to vary by the way in which units are joined (2009-10) was written for Stephen Chase and first performed by him at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, 21 April 2010. The ordering of pages is constrained by the requirement that the end of one page and the beginning of the next share a common sound, and the title is taken from Mel Bochner's essay The Serial Attitude (1967). It is scored for radio, melodica, and guitar, which is bowed with a pencil.
any one part can replace any other part (2010) was also written for this recording. The three players each have an identical sound-producing action which is repeated in a recurring time structure. The resultant sounds - a violin noise harmonic, bowed metal sheet, and cup on a brick - are all unstable and subject to small amounts of change. The title is taken from Carl Andre's statement Anaxial Symmetry (1970).
Related Categories of Interest:
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
lowercase, micro-improv, sound improv
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All tracks recorded by Simon Reynell at various locations between 2009-2011.
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1. Imperfections On The Surface Are Occasionally Apparent 11:50
2. Part Of It May Also Be Something Else 11:40
3. Components Derive Their Value Solely Through Their Assigned Context 13:47
4. Materials Vary Greatly And Are Simply Materials 4:13
5. Although It May Appear To Vary In The Way Units Are Joined 6:44
6. Any One Part Can Replace Any Other Part 10:12