Duration: 5:00-7:00 (approx.)
Players: (1) 2 almglocken, 1 metal can, tapping feet on floor
(written for Moose Davis)
About “Sonic Embers”
“Sonic Embers” is an ethereal multi-percussion solo commissioned by Moose Davis.
I have always loved creating images in the style of album art and during 2017, I realized that I also enjoyed writing my own texts. This piece stems from both of these interests.
In the fall of 2016, I was on a trip in Oslo, Norway – and while exploring an old military fortress, I noticed some old cannons on display and felt the need to stick my camera inside, turn on the flash, and take a photo. The result was mesmerizing, and I quickly realized how cool the insides of different objects looked. The image I created for “Sonic Embers” is a filtered photo of the inside of a marimba resonator. I found this image so interesting that I wrote a text inspired by different features of the image. To create “Sonic Embers,” I took the text and interpreted it musically. The final step in this process is for you, the performer, to take my musical interpretation, my text, and the image, and realize this piece sonically.
“Sonic Embers” is notated rather differently than any other piece I’ve written. You will notice there is no time signature, no tempo, and very few dynamic markings. In general, this piece should be performed at a relatively slow tempo at a quiet volume – but feel free to stray from that suggestion if your interpretation brings you elsewhere. This piece is not written spatially in the sense that each line is meant to last a certain amount of time and the events happen in time. This piece is written spatially in the sense that each line contains a series of ideas (notes grouped relatively close to each other) and these ideas are separated by space. Sometimes the ideas are rhythms and notes, other times these ideas are rests. Do not feel the need to play in a meter or steady tempo, although repeated ideas should show some resemblance that they are indeed related. Move from each idea to the next at your own pace – but as a general rule, I feel this piece is most successful if the performer errs on the side of leaving too much space between ideas, rather than too little.
The beginning of each line contains a box with text from the poem. Each line of this score is my interpretation of each line of text. Use this text as a guide for your sonic interpretation of each line.
Windswept moon on stars in your eye
The telephone traffic of cars in the night
Flutter, the slow crackle of wings in flight
And the whisper of mice on a hardwood floor
It falls, floating towards the sky
Small planets atrophy
Sinking into the sea
The laser light highway woven of sonic embers
Guides you to the never
In the distance you hear it
The calm call of the fields in fall
The electric dissolve
Beams of light in lysis
In the dark hours of the outhouse
Where the breeze rattles like thunder
How do you see the moon?