Sonic Systems Laboratory

splitrec  CD18

sonicsystemslabThe work begins with a varying texture made with electrically powered rotating disks rubbing the ends of bars to produce the ultra-high sustained frequencies. Then follows a foray into complex, mechanically produced polyrhythms. The vibraphone’s tremolo motor is the driving force, causing carefully positioned mallets to strike the bars, frame and metal resonators under the keys. In addition, sticks driven by attached off-centre motors play the bars and even strike small, loose microphones at times. Both players manipulate the devices and play occasional mallet rhythms as well. In the third section, the music’s frequency bands and harmonic content are shifted upwards with vibrators playing high-speed rhythms on the bars. Some motorized drumsticks are sparingly used as well. There are also instances where a hard mallet is made to bounce on a bar being struck with a soft one to produce high harmonics. Close miked soft mallets on the bass bars, including some customized oversize bars, produce the shifting subtones and difference tones of the final section. The rotating disks from the first part make a fleeting re-appearance at the very end. These methods of production are the results of determined experimentation and research, followed by considered judgement and application in order to make a musical work. Ernie Althof 2007.

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