Four Coatroom Duets (2010)
At first glance my four duets may seem stylistically unrelated. However, there is a central idea uniting the four works: each work ‘plays’ with the idea of textural unity or divergence of the paired instruments. In the violin piece, both violins play the same ascending scale, overlapping in ‘messy’ polyrhythms that make it difficult to discern the difference between the two violins, and which also creates jarring metrical and rhythmic ambiguities. The tuba duet–a riff on Michael Jackson’s seminal “Billie Jean”–pits one tuba against another in a furious battle of insane polyrhythms, kept groovy by the backing CD track (a loop of the drumbeat from the original Thriller track.) The clarinet duet is significantly more sparse but quite dramatic, frequently creating ambiguity between the upper register of the bass clarinet and the lower register of the B-flat clarinet. Finally, the accordion duet is just plain silly: one accordion plays a cheesy French-sounding melody and um-pah-pah accompaniment but is continually interrupted by the other (more deviant) accordion, insisting on nasty dissonances, bitonality, and contrasting meters and tempi.
Commissioned by Machine Project for the Little William Theater Festival of New Music at UCLA’s Hammer Museum.
Created using Sound Hack software. An eerie, aimlessly wandering toy piano piece is accompanied by material generated by electronically processing excerpts from an audio cassette recording of an argument between myself and my dad when I was a little kid. The argument itself was innocuous enough–I had been put to bed but kept coming downstairs, protesting that I was “too tired to go to bed”. This was actually an amusing memory for me, but I decided to use it to create a somewhat disturbing soundscape, as if it was a memory from a troubled childhood. The dark and twisted character of this piece is so far removed from my idyllic childhood, however, the absurdity of it makes me laugh…
Composition for Two Basses (1997)
A graphic score from 1997. Performed by Sankil Ward and Jeff White.