Violinist Seth Parker Woods presents four extraordinary compositions, the first for solo cello and voice from Edward Hamel, and then one work each for cello and electronics from Michael Clarke, George Lewis, and Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, each sophisticated, suprising, and beautifully executed pieces taking the cello into unique creative territory.
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Recorded at the University of Huddersfield, UK, July 13th-16th, 2016.
Seth Parker Woods-violoncello, voice
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1. Edward Hamel : Gray Neon Life (2012) 4:38
2. Michael Clarke : Enmeshed 3 (2013) 10:19
3. George Lewis : Not Alone (2014/15) 23:40
4. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay : asinglewordisnotenough3 (invariant) (2015) 14:53
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"Company is a state of being here, on an album which speaks in worlds. In Edward Hamel's Gray Neon Life the cellist is his own companion, uttering words which are not so much spoken over the music as sprayed on and under it, made both surface and core: adornment and essence. This double figure - cellist and voice in one - is Seth Parker Woods, and the piece in both concept and execution is a vehicle for his co-creative input, ranging from the precise choice of pitch material to the derivation of the texted component from the SAMO tag of Jean-Michel Basquiat's and Al Diaz's New York street art, of which Woods is an aficionado. What Hamel makes from it is a sort of manifesto for city life and city art, summoned into existence by a harmonic double stop which, recurring as a fourfold refrain, finally offers a tentative way out ... or on. On, at first, into a hall of mirrors. The three remaining works on this album - two of them, like Gray Neon Life, written for Woods - surround the cello with electronically produced sounds, and in the first two, by Michael Clarke and George Lewis, these sounds are derived in real time from the cello's own material. In Pierre Alexandre Tremblay's asinglewordisnotenough3 (invariant) the sound sources are more diverse, and yet the work's worlds are again conjured forth by this lone yet multiple figure. Here he is at the centre of it all: muse and master of ceremonies, devising it all for company."-John Fallas
Edward Hamel - Gray Neon Life :
When Seth approached me to write a new work with the idea of speaking while playing, I thought it appropriate to use text from SAMO©, a collaborative tag used by Jean-Michel Basquiatand Al Diaz found around New York City. I wanted the finished composition to be equally affected by Seth as it was myself. I focused more on choreography and trajectory of movement rather than the organization of musical elements.
Other than the opening harmonics, there are no specified pitches throughout the music. All of the melody and harmony in Gray Neon Life are creative choices made by Seth. My preliminary notes of Gray Neon Life are illegible. They were written freely, violently and smeared across numerous pages. The process of writing the notes became more influential than what I was actually planning musically which allowed me to be more free and spontaneous in the writing process, relying less on systems and procedures and being a bit more messy and physical. - EH
Michael Clarke - Enmeshed 3 :
Enmeshed 3 is the third in a series of works in which a solo instrument becomes 'enmeshed' in multiple layers of transformations derived from the live performance. The works are shaped and structured in terms of the varying relationships between these layers and the 'distances' between the original acoustic performance and the various transformations, in terms of pitch, time delay, timbre, texture and space. At certain points in the work these almost converge whilst at other times large distances open up, with the different layers in a wild counterpoint. All the sounds in the work derive from live transformation of the soloist's performance. The composer's own granular synthesis algorithms play a significant role in these transformations.
Multichannel spatialisation also plays an important part in terms of spatial positioning and movement, the creation of different virtual spatial environments and in the definition of different layers. It can be performed variously with between 8 and 24 channels. Enmeshed 3 is in five contrasting but inter-related sections centering around a long slow meditative central passage. It was written for Madeleine Shapiro who premiered it at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival in April 2013. - MC
George Lewis - Not Alone :
Not Alone is for solo violoncello and electronics. It uses interactive digital delays, space and timbre transformation to create a dance among multiple cellists following diverse yet intersecting spatial trajectories.
Although the work does not employ explicit models of self-similarity, the more immediate spatial trajectories expand into larger trajectories of affect across the duration of the piece. Advancing a conversational aesthetic, albeit in a non-improvised work, in Not Alone foreground and background deliberately conflate. The electronics and the cello blend, intersect, and ultimately diverge into multiple digital personalities that can suddenly converge into unified ensemble while shrouding their origin in processes of repetition. Not Alone was written for Seth Parker Woods, and the software was written by Damon Holzborn. The composition is dedicated to cellist Abdul Wadud. - GL
Pierre Alexandre Tremblay - asinglewordisnotenough3 (invariant) :
'Traduttore, traditore,' says the Italian proverb. 'Traduire, c'est avoir l'honn.tet. de s'en tenir.une imperfection allusive,' nuances the translator Pierre Leyris. This series of pieces looks at the impossibility of translating, firstly, the text, then, the context. The multiple nuances of words and images, flatten, lost, unsuitable.
Moreover, it is also a reflection on the inexpressible, where music and silence, allow some states/sentiment/experience to be expressed with more power/precision/nuances. Therefore, this suite of pieces should be taken as different expressions of a single impression, whose sense is multiplied by their common/composed/remembered past. Explain/comment/multiply the music by music, or as Harold Bloom says so elegantly: 'The meaning of a poem can only be another poem.'
This third piece/iteration/instance is the first with a live/acoustic instrument/source. Whereas the original electronic explores the gestural/
embodiment limits of fixed media, here the cello reaches for a world of articulated transients/noises/textures/splices. Ideas are expanded/
shrunk/distorted at the limit of recognition, to allow/free their essence from their broken shell.
• Show Bio for Seth Parker Woods
"Critiqued as "a cellist of power and grace" (The Guardian), cellist Seth Parker Woods has established a diverse career that straddles the worlds of classical, contemporary, electronics and performance art. He worked with artists ranging from Heinz Holier, G.F. Haas, and Klaus Lang to Peter Gabriel, Sting,and Aldo Tambellini. He holds a PhD in Performance from the University of Huddersfield (UK)."-Seth Parker Woods Bandcamp Page 3/21/2018
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