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Eckardt, Jason: Subject (Tzadik)

Composer Jason Eckardt presents "Subject", a work that confronts "enhanced interrogation" techniques using sound and light, plus other works including a 6 part piece about glossolalia ("Tongues"), performed by JACK, ICE, and the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble.

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product information:

UPC: 702397900627

Label: Tzadik
Catalog ID: TZA-CD-9006
Squidco Product Code: 20860

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: USA
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recording info not listed.


Tony Arnold-soprano

Gabrielle Athayde-cellos

Danielle Bogacz-horn

Jay Campbell-cellos

Jordan Dodson-guitars

Laura Dykes-bass

Wendy Everett-bassoon

David Fulmer-conductor

Grace Hong-oboe

Matthew Jenkins-percussion

Ross Karre-percussion

Eric Lamb-flutes

Daniel Lippel-guitars

Campbell MacDonald-clarinets

Andrew McCollum-clarinets

Kevin McFarland-cellos

Marilyn Nonken-piano

Christopher Otto-violins

Erin Ponto-harp

John Pickford Richards-violas

Wendy Richman-violas

Hannah Shaw-violas

Ari Streisfeld-violins

Alice Teyssier-flutes

Timothy Weiss-conductor

Jeffrey Young-violins

Yuncong Zhang-violins

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track listing:

1. Subject 14:50

2. Paths Of Resistance 7:04

3. Trespass 14:39

4. Flux 5:35

5. Tongues: i 5:30

6. Tongues: ii 5:31

7. Tongues: iii 2:54

8. Tongues: iv 3:09

9. Tongues: v 5:21

10. Tongues: vi 5:18

Related Categories of Interest:

Compositional Forms
Stringed Instruments
Unusual Vocal Forms
New in Compositional Music

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Jason Eckardt began as a heavy metal guitarist and turned to contemporary music after hearing Webern. His music is highly complex andr etains the energy and intensity of his heavy metal roots. Challenging and highly virtuosic, his compositional language embraces both uptown and downtown. Brilliantly performed by JACK, ICE and the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, "Subject" contains some of his most extreme and intense works."-Tzadik


Beginning in the 1950s, the CIA became very interested in psychological research being conducted on the effects of sensory deprivation on humans. The research, that suggested rapid regression in those tested, provided a framework for sections of what would later be known as the KUBARK manual, the first in a series of US-government documents that provided techniques for interrogating detainees. These methods involved radically altering a detainee's sense of time and environment.

Among these techniques, some developed independently of the manuals by interrogators, were the manipulation of light and sound. In order to weaken the resolve of a detainee and prolong "capture shock," complete sensory deprivation followed by blasts of light or noise, or very loud music, proved effective. So much so that variations and combinations of these techniques were widely used by the United States as well as both its allies and enemies in Vietnam, Latin America, Northern Ireland, and the Middle East.

Though the idea of sound as a weapon is at least as old as the account of Joshua's siege of Jericho, it was only recently deemed "inhuman and degrading" for the purposes of interrogation by the European Court of Human Rights in the 1978 case "Ireland v. the United Kingdom."

Paths of Resistance

The dramatic tension in "Paths of Resistance" results from the thwarting and redirection of musical trajectories. Specific structural elements, which remain invariant throughout the work, recur in different and contradictory contexts, forging pathways through the densely polyphonic environment. In Paths of Resistance, the surface conflicts occur within the constraints of a formal design which bisects the musical flow into proportionally related time spans. The durations of these spans are embedded in several temporal strata, providing the palpable self-similarity, with regard to formal continuity, which underlies the work's volatile exterior.


Tongues refers to glossolalia, better known as "speaking in tongues," an ecstatic outburst of unintelligible vocal sounds that resembles spoken language. The vocal writing in Tongues evokes the volatile grip of possession that is said to hold the human vessels through which the divine or supernatural passes. In six sections that vary in instrumentation and character, the soprano gives voice to sounds that suggest the transformation from self-awareness to rapture. These sounds, not limited to phonetic utterances, often reflect the timbral properties of the accompanying ensemble. The soprano, in this "concerto for voice," oscillates between influencing and imitating her instrumental counterparts, alternately supporting, amplifying, and leading the ensemble."-Ensemble21 Website

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