Bil Smith's "Dycasm" is a dynamic and radical composition for flute and oboe that explores the nature of folds, bends, and iconography. It is a work that emphasizes the implications of surplus, enveloping, collapsing, and obfuscation, providing a complex and immersive experience for the listener.
The composition is characterized by overflowing trajectories of material and process that collide, overlap, collapse, and slide. Strata melt and rupture and deform, and form and shape are only the final by-product of lines folding into one another, of shapes subsumed by other shapes, and of forms twisted within other forms.
The notation for "Dycasm" is entirely prescriptive, focusing on sound-producing actions produced by both instruments displayed in combination with attacks, assaults, glissando, slides, trills, and vibrato. All possible combinations of these layers are carefully mapped out, imbuing each gesture and prescribed movement with a set of musical data defining its musical identity. The gestural action is itself already a musical object in this work, allowing the performers to create a sonic experience through their instrumental choreography.
The physical-sonic separation of the two instruments is an essential aspect of "Dycasm," resulting in a performing paradigm in which musical expression comes mainly from instrumental choreography, not exclusively from sound. This separation allows for a complex and layered interplay between the flute and oboe, creating a unique sonic landscape.