Instrumentation: stereo electroacoustic
Premiere: Electronic Music from the Big 10 :: Becker Communications Building Lecture Hall Room 101 :: University of Iowa :: Iowa City, IA
Program Note: I believe that we listen physically. Let me explain: when we listen, our bodies participate by locating the sounds we hear within ourselves—and our own experience—which then enables us to find meaning in the sounds, even on a very basic level. Within the context of a piece of music, sound can create a space that is both familiar and unfamiliar, real and surreal—a space that can have greater clarity and deeper meaning than reality. For me, one of the challenges of electronic music is often the disembodied nature of the sounds. Much of how we understand sound comes from seeing and feeling it or, in the case of recorded music, imagining seeing the source of the sound; however, this becomes more difficult as the sound becomes more abstract. All of the sounds used in Awakening were recorded from acoustic sources—singing, dancing, screaming, Tibetan singing bowls, a euphonium, etc.—and were manipulated and juxtaposed using electronic processes to transform, obscure, and enhance them. My goal was to create sounds that although somewhat abstract, for me, elicit a very visceral, physical reaction—to create music that shakes me as a listener, both physically and emotionally. With this in mind, Awakening is part of a period in my electronic music in which I was concerned with reconnecting myself to the sounds of war—to go beyond sound bytes and tweets, news broadcasts and YouTube videos, and really dive in to the meaning of violence. Rather than use overt sonic references to war, my goal is to connect the listener to the physical, visceral experience of this violence, and, in doing so, hopefully reflect on it more deeply.