Saturday, July 31, 2021

"Windless Hall". The Tactile Score. For One or Two Percussionists.



Recording on Laboratorie New Music label, Premiere Recording: Darmstadt, 2012


The performer may choose up to fourteen separate percussion instruments to use throughout the performance. Whatever number of instruments the performer chooses, he/she must engage all instruments throughout the performance with frequency of use determined by the performer. It would therefore be feasible that an instrument be stricken but once (and potentially imperceptibly inaudible).

The performer may arrange the boxes in any manner seen fit. They may remain inside the large box or removed from the large box and placed at the discretion of the performer. A box may be turned, flipped or relocated at any time during the performance.

The materials represent consistencies to be aspired to during the piece. In the colophon, each material is defined and while the performer will create their own personal syntacticon based on these performance notes (found in the colophon), the tactile representation of the materials as they appear and reappear should remain consistent. Here the boxes and imagery profusely expand the vocabulary nurtured by symbolic masks, autobiographical events, and references to painting styles and spontaneous thoughts.

An innate inclination toward the geometric as is the overwhelmingly panoramic surface of the small scale painting found as hidden gems in the small reliefs.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Recording: "Huge Cinemas Turned Away Up A Damp Conclave Slope"

"Huge Cinemas Turned Away Up A Damp Conclave Slope" 
Bil Smith Composer
for Three Orchestras.
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This work was a commission from Finnair in 2008 and performed by Ensemble ∞Playce on August 15, 2013 in a world premiere at the Moscow International Performing Arts Center.
"Huge Cinemas retains a sense of beatific optimism throughout. a magical environment is created: half unprocessed, half electricity. The work evokes a grimy, quinine tinted special category of cytoplasmic coma. The strings mimic a dark cloud pressed beyond the bliss, reflecting an age of other dimensions, arctic paradises with the burden of mutually assured destruction ever lifted."
- Clive Bell

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Breaking New Ground Developing Compositional Tablatures with Big Data

"Spectrant Codes" for Cornet and Bass Flute.  Bil Smith Composer

Circos is a novel software program  for visualizing data and information. It visualizes data in a circular layout — this makes Circos ideal for exploring relationships between objects or positions. Circos was initially designed for displaying genomic data (particularly cancer genomics and comparative genomics) and molecular biology.

Beginning in 2012, composers at Laboratorie New Music have been working on modifications of the Circos program to create a systematic, fluid tablature system to facilitate compositional structure.  The notion to explore this powerful visualization tool came about from a separate study we were conducting on the implications of 'Big Data' on outcomes relating to visualization and experimental musical tablatures.

The potential of big data is immense.  Eliminate constraints on the size, type, source and complexity of relevant data, and composers can ask bolder questions. Technology limitations that once required sampling or relied on assumptions to simplify high-density data sets have fallen to the march of technology. 

Partial element (utilizing Circos) from one of the pages of the score for "Partitions: Cambics Alive in Sensient Amplules" for Chamber Septet.  World Premiere, April, 2014 with Renee Baker and The Chicago Modern Orchestra

Protracted processing times and dependencies on batch feeds are being replaced by on-demand results and near real-time visibility.  As we see it from a musical perspective, this transformation not only changes the questions that we can ask, but it also requires new tools and techniques for composers to get to the answers.

"A variety of crucial, and still most relevant ideation about nothingness or emptiness in music has gained profound philosophical prominence in the history and development of complex notation. These traditions share the insight that in order to explain both the great mysteries and mundane facts about our performance experience as composers, ideas of ‘nothingness’ must play a primary role. Contrarian to this theorem, I present this architecture that is at once interpretative and constructive."

- Bil Smith Composer
Full page of score from Partitions: Cambics..." utilizing Circos