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unconformity [2019]
percussion with digital playback
Abby Fisher, percussion, summer 2020
Sandpaper blocks and plastic bags alternate with bitonal melodies on vibraphone and toy glockenspiel. The field recordings of rain were made inside James Turrell’s Skyspace at Rice University, Houston, TX.

local transmission [2020]
at least four participants
students in Music 106 (“Experimental Music in the Time of Plague”) at UCSD, La Jolla, CA (and elsewhere)
directed by Erik Carlson, spring 2020

Participant 1 records a series of sounds — then sends the recording to Participant 2, who recreates those sounds and sends THEIR version on to Participant 3…. The iterative process continues until all participants have made a recording.

tendon [2013/19]
string trio (with digital playback)
Amorsima Trio, autumn 2019
Contrapuntal string gestures are gradually contracted and stretched, always echoed by a shifting wash of sine tones.

VUKHO [2018]
in collaboration with Lisa McCarty
vukho (“ear” in Ukrainian) references the aural and visual characteristics of ears of wheat, and gradually transforms a world of abundance into a world of scarcity.

daybook [2017]
two harpsichords
D. Edward Davis, harpsichords, summer 2019
Two harpsichordists exchange slow messages to each other, always similar but never quite the same, always near to each other but never quite overlapping. All sounds are allowed to decay naturally, maximizing their resonances; it is in only in these resonances that the two performers may sound a simultaneity.

instill [2018]
instrumentalist, guide, and meditators in a labyrinth
Philip Snyder, flute, summer 2018
Meditators walk the path of the labyrinth, shaking jars with seeds, and humming with the sounds of an instrument and the sounds of the place.

monopine [2017]
piano (with digital playback)
D. Edward Davis, piano, autumn 2017
The piano plays two-note gestures. One pitch is constant, the other changes. They drift together and then apart.
A pair of ringing tones turns on and off. Its pitches are almost (but not quite) the same as the piano’s.
Eventually: wind in pine trees. Who will answer?

threshold (for anne truitt) [2016]
flute and violin
performed by The Witches
Twenty brief gestures dedicated to the artist Anne Truitt (1921-2004).

map of broken glass (for robert smithson) [2017]
eight performers (with digital playback)
studio version by D. Edward Davis, summer 2017
Each performer listens on headphones, imitating the prerecorded sounds of wind blowing a flagpole by rubbing two small glass tealight-holders against each other. A field recording of a nearly silent desert gradually enters.

today (for on kawara) [2017]
violin, cello, electric guitar, and piano (with digital playback)
performed by Erik Carlson, violin, Judith Hamann, cello, D. Edward Davis, guitar, and Nomi Epstein, piano, winter 2017
An excerpt from an hour-long piece. Four musicians play long tones to accompany a shifting series of resonant vocal samples, always the same but always different.

singer [2016]
violin and piano (with digital playback)
performed by Erik Carlson, violin, and Erik Carlson, piano, autumn 2016
Polyrhythmic gestures in the violin and piano expand slowly down the harmonic series, while an Ivory-billed Woodpecker gradually emerges from the forest.

laydown yard [2016]
performed by Brent Miller, autumn 2016

LAKE EDEN [2016]
in collaboration with Lisa McCarty
Images and sounds captured at the campus of Black Mountain College are processed and then paired.

broad call [2016]
clarinet, cello, piano, and three whistlers (with digital playback)
performed by Katie Porter, clarinet, Colin Tucker, cello, Jennie Gottschalk, piano, Ian Power, Nomi Epstein, and D. Edward Davis, whistling, summer 2016
Harmonies that slowly rise are sounded alongside a field recording that slowly falls. The recording—made by the composer in Madera Canyon in southern Arizona—features the sounds of broad-billed hummingbirds avoiding a sudden rainstorm.

second growth [2016]
voices, handbells, percussion, and trombones (with live electronics)
performed by the Williams Percussion Ensemble with members of the Williams Concert Choir, Handbell Choir, and Trombone Choir (Matthew Gold, director), spring 2016
All performers move slowly through the space, passing musical ideas back and forth while playing in duos, trios, and quartets.

in praise of obscurity [2015]
tin whistle
performed by Elizabeth McLagan
Brief melodies are interspersed with pauses, allowing the natural soundscape to emerge.

sunset bells [2015]
handbells (with digital playback)
performed by Casey McLellan, winter 2016
Slightly-detuned sine tones hide beneath a series of descending handbell patterns.

nothing something everything [2015]
recorded voices (two channel playback)
with contributions from Sarah Albu, Tatiana Bookbinder, Danielle Buonaiuto, Peyee Chen, Karen M. Cook, D. Edward Davis, Elspeth Davis, Rosemary K. J. Davis, Amy Foote, Seana Heighton, Jane Hoffman, Megan Ihnen, Jamie Jordan, Lindsay Kesselman, Chelsea Mahan, Jesse Malmed, Heather McShane, Ruston Ropac, Kirsten Santos Rutschman, Jane Sheldon, and Sarah van der Ploeg, autumn 2015
From 17:00-17:09 UTC on 11/22/2015, singers recorded their singing in quiet outdoor locations. These recordings are layered into a kind of choir that highlights the simultaneity of events.
Text by On Kawara.

cloud reservoir/rising [2015]
two trombones (with digital playback)
performed by Nick Meryhew, autumn 2015
Individual notes are frozen and extended, creating a shifting cloud of harmony in the space between gestures.

soft paths [2015]
violin, horn, and piano
performed by Red Hedgehog Trio
Phrases expand and contract, overlapping in shifting constellations of sound. Gaps in the texture allow the sounds of the performance space to emerge.

we are the same but different [2014/2015]
recorded voices (two channel playback)
performed by Rosemary K. J. Davis, spring 2015
Twenty-seven field recordings of a brief daily meditation are combined and layered.
Text by On Kawara.

in collaboration with Lisa McCarty
The development of an image becomes a landscape, while a soundscape is gradually reduced to a single pitch.

space that hears (for amnon) [2015]
piano four hands (with digital playback)
performed by Vladimir Smirnov and Scott Lee, spring 2015
The two pianists participate in a variety of initimate partnerships: imitating, facilitating, influencing, engaging, and always listening.

siren test [2015]
sextet (with digital playback)
performed by yMusic, winter 2015
The musicians reimagine the 560Hz drone from a nuclear power plant emergency test in New Hill, NC.

lens [2013]
violin (with digital playback)
performed by Erik Carlson, violin
The violin alternates between two pitches – the high and low extremes of a filter applied to white noise.

for philip von zweck [2014]
flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and vibraphone (with digital playback)
performed by Da Capo Chamber Players (Patricia Spencer, Meighan Stoops, Curtis Macomber, Jay Campbell, Steven Beck, and Michael Lipsey), autumn 2014
Radio samples, melodic fragments, and drones reference the varied output of Philip von Zweck (an artist and painter based in Chicago) and For Philip Guston by Morton Feldman.

curving tide [2014]
horn, trombone, and tuba (with live electronics)
performed by Neil Godwin, Nick Meryhew, Beth McDonald, and Borey Shin, summer 2014
The trio plays harmonies and long tones that affect the processing of a field recording.

karst [2014]
sextet (with digital playback)
performed by yMusic, spring 2014
Gaps in the polyrhythmic texture are occasionally filled with electronic tones.

when we try to pick out anything by itself we find it hitched to everything else in the universe [2013]
piccolo and voice (with digital playback)
performed by In the Same Breath (Dalia Chin and Kate McDuffie), winter 2014
The text was written by John Muir in 1911. The piccolo performs a transcription of a Varied Thrush song. The playback sounds were recorded in 2013 by the composer in Chugach State Park, Alaska.

sift [2013]
two sustaining instruments
performed by David Kirkland Garner, winter 2013
Two pitches move out of phase and back into phase.

stet [2010]
violin (with digital playback)
performed by Erik Carlson, violin
Violin harmonics become embedded in a shifting network of sine tones.
from the 2013 Spectropol Records compilation Possible Worlds Vol. 2

cliff nesting [2013]
alto sax (with live electronics)
performed by C.R. Kasprzyk at the 2013 EcoSono Institute, summer 2013
The saxophone reinforces the natural resonances of a nesting colony of kittiwakes on a seaside cliff.

in collaboration with Lisa McCarty
alto flute, tenor saxophone, and violin (with digital playback)
performed by Erin Lesser, Alex Mincek, and Joshua Modney of the Wet Ink Ensemble, spring 2013
Long tones mingle with filtered noise to match the slowly-shifting light.

retaining wall [2006/2012]
piano five hands
Clusters are held for fifteen seconds. Halfway through each cluster, a low note causes the still-ringing strings to vibrate sympathetically.

slip [2007]
violin (with digital playback)
performed by Erik Carlson, violin
The violin plays along with a gradually-expanding loop of itself.