NOTES ABOUT THE ALBUM

 

In this album, expressions that are typically treated as ends, such as a pop songs or acoustic performances of chamber works, become means to a music that is trans- (across and through), poly-(many) and meta- (beyond) genre. The production studio is the vehicle for this work, imparting its forms and techniques upon whatever passes through it. It becomes a laboratory; an assemblage; a pot for a stylistic hodgepodge where elements appear, converse, fuse, isolate, compete to be heard, transform, and influence each other to varying degrees. The album shows the studio as a place where the real and the virtual meet, and illuminates the characteristics of each and interactions between the two.

 

As a group, these works come from pop, classical, electroacoustic, EDM, experimental, rock, and avant garde traditions. Harmonies move in and out of tonality; rhythms lock into a beat and diffuse into asynchronous clouds; pieces feature verses and choruses as much as discontinuous micro-collages; acoustic instruments stand alongside and blend with buzzy synthesizers. The works combine and juxtapose diverse elements and in doing so exhibit a stylistically-egalitarian musical perspective.

 

 

BREEDING IN PIECES combines compositional and production practices from rock, electroacoustic and contemporary art music. In the sense of synthesis, one musical world is filtered through the other from a variety of angles and proportions. At the same time, recognizing that commingling sometimes has the unfortunate by-product of dulled edges, gestures are also presented as if in their natural habitats. The extent to which the music preserves these habitats speaks to the gestures themselves, their local contexts and the associations they evoke. The middle section of the work explores perceptual ambiguity by presenting sounds that can be organized either via conventional timbral associations or temporal simultaneity. Almost all of the music is generated from the same progression / theme.

 

 

ERODING MOUNTAINS is about an epiphany of the value of nonhuman animal life in a culture that typically defines ethical standards along speciesist lines. It is about the realization and remembrance that such lines are and have been drawn within the boundaries of the human species. It represents confusion and conflict that results when what was normal and comfortable is recognized as ethically untenable. It is about remaining connected with those you love in spite of differences. It is about frustration with apathy. It is about the hope of things getting better.

 

Musically, transformations of recognizable materials represent emotional conflict, confusion, and the feeling of a voice that doesn’t reach its listener. Trajectories, such as de-tuned -> tuned and distributed -> isochronous, represent the journey of coming to clarity. The three sections represent how individuals can come to this realization in isolation and the need to connect with others to alleviate that state. Each section features expression that refuses to compromise its humanity in spite of the confusing factors around it. The piece concludes with a statement of hope.

 

 

OPUS PALLADIANUM: VOICE AND DRUMS explores relations and contrasts, from those that are clear, such as between soft and loud, to those that are ambiguous, such as between synthetic and intimate. Contrast is created by presenting the voice and percussion elements in a variety of rhythmic, harmonic, stylistic and technological settings. These organizations evoke timbral Identities and associations with production processes. They invite listeners to consider how context, and not just timbre, influences the aesthetics of recorded, sampled, and synthesized sound. The piece creates unity and connections among these disparate elements. As a result, there is connection despite heterogeneity; there is fluidity despite disruption; there is peace despite agitation; there is continuity despite discontinuity.

 

 

The bricks of EFFUSION’s foundation are from the pop world: verse-chorus form, 4/4 time signatures, fuzzy synth basses, rock grooves and EDM breaks. These materials are then manipulated in electroacoustic-art-music ways: timbres are transformed, meters are changed, and segments are delineated and re-ordered. The result is less a fusion and more a congeries where non-ironic choruses and dizzying jump-cuts cohabitate. These combinations are not motivated by a desire to influence the language of art music for its own sake, rather, they are expressions of a cultural heterogeneity that is not compartmentalized.

 

 

In ...FOR STEPS THAT GROW WHEN CLIMBED, a live acoustic performance is interpreted through the production studio. The piece was scored, performed and recorded in a traditional way, but those recordings were processed and augmented at various times using various methods over a ten-year period. As a result, (dis)continuities emerge that span genre, time, place, and means of production. The piece explores how these (dis)continuities create movement and demarcate musical form.

 

 

In the process of creating CARRIED BY CURRENTS, I imagined something ambient to balance the rather frenetic and fragmented character of other recent works. I felt motions that were smooth and rolling; that rippled through a surface in a variety of directions. I sought a hybrid character that radiated warmth in a tactilely-organic and fuzzily-electric way. I conceived a texture that was complex and heterogeneous but also whole. I envisioned something that metaphorically extended to both water and electricity, to human and technology, to illustrate the complexity and peace of the flows around us.

 

 

THROUGH THE RAIN started with a chord progression written on guitar many years ago. The progression, played on electric guitar, is reflected in a number of virtual instruments and effects, blurring the line between acoustic and electronic, played and sequenced. The first section of the work illustrates movement from dislocation -> synchronization (an idea also interpreted in Eroding Mountains). In the second section of the piece, the parts have coalesced and begin to move as a unified whole. This journey takes a variety of paths, retakes steps, and encounters ephemeral electronic weather systems. The storms and disorientation relent as the group arrives, leaving a new idea, connected to the previous, that announces idyllic perpetuation.

 

SCOTT BARTON

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Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.

 

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