Liner Notes

Acknowledgements [from the 1994 edition]

The music on these two discs represents two different but related compositional strategies. The first compositional strategy is represented by the creation of the four solo tape works and the second strategy is the creation of the five works for soloist and tape.

The creation of the solo tape compositions involves the composition of several hundred simultaneous musical parts or lines on large manuscript paper. Each part or line is individually performed on an acoustic instrument and recorded. Once all several hundred parts have been individually recorded, they are digitally mixed together with usually no, or very little, signal processing or electronic effects. This working method allows for new and complex polyrhythmic and microtonal tuning relationships between parts that could never be performed by a live ensemble. This compositional technique also allows for unique orchestration and density possibilities that can be constantly transformed.

The exclusive use of acoustic instruments in these recordings could be partially explained by the fact that I regularly perform on the violin, guitar and cello. Therefore I hear a richness of human expression in acoustic instrumental performance which, to me, is largely absent in any other electroacoustic production method. Indeed the sound worlds found in these recordings could not be created by current electronic synthesis techniques, which are unable to produce a large palette of convincingly different timbres or sounds. The narrowness of this range of unique timbres prevents the type of orchestration strategies that can occur for acoustic sounds in which large numbers of sound sources can be combined and the individuality of each sound is somewhat maintained while there is a contribution to the overall sound. Likewise, this music could not be produced by current sampling techniques, which cannot create convincing long musical phrase structures which develop according to the compositional language of each piece.

The second compositional strategy featured on these two discs combines a live soloist with segments from three of these solo tape compositions. Often new tape portions are added in order to compliment the timbral quality of the soloist’s instrument. In creating these works for soloist and tape, many details of the tape become masked by the soloist’s sound. However, by being able to clearly hear one part, one gains a new perspective on my sound world, as the solo line often highlights fairly hidden musical gestures and directions. Moreover, one has the wonderful contrast between the tape, in which hundreds of musical parts often create anonymous massed textural effects, and hearing the soloist with all the subjectivity, subtlety and detail he/she brings. As such one could compare the soloist to a clear single line in an abstract dense visual field which creates a type of definition and clarity by its sheer contrast to the surrounding density. In other words, the tape works stand on their own but are heard in a different manner when they are combined with a soloist. Another analogy would be when viewing a crystal in which we know it is the same object even as we turn it and get different visual perspectives.

The contrast between the anonymous mass effect of the tape and the singular effect of the soloist also works as a metaphor for the relationship between the individual (the soloist) and society (the mass effect of the tape). The implication of this metaphor is discussed in the following section entitled The Possessed Individual.

With the exception of Veils, the works on these two discs are contained within two cycles according to their relationship: the Walls Cycle contains the solo tape compositions: Below the Walls of Jericho, Dancing on the Walls of Jericho, and Beyond the Walls of Jericho. The related works for soloist and tape are the Physics of Seduction series and Luminous Hysteresis. At the time of this writing, the second cycle, The Resonance Cycle, consists of the tape composition L’ivresse de la vitesse and the soloist and tape pieces In a Bed Where the Moon Was Sweating. Resonance #1 and Revenge of the Repressed. Resonance #2. The Resonance Cycle will be completed with upcoming commissions from accordionist Joseph Petric, violist Rivka Golani and the Société de musique contemporaine (SMCQ).

Paul Dolden, Vancouver [iv-94]