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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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