Liner Notes

The Possessed Individuals [From the 1994 Edition]

The Possessed Individual is a metaphor for the soloists and their relationship to the sound world found in the tape component of each composition. The five works philosophically address the crises in our traditional thought structures and our fast approach towards the impossible dream of escaping mortality through the construction of an artificial or virtual reality created through the use of advanced technology. These virtual realities would create a world of shifting pleasures composed of strategies of appearances which would allow for the remapping of experience and existence. In this metaphor, the tape is a type of virtual reality in which idealized acoustic situations are made possible only with the modern digital recording studio. The soloist, or the Possessed Individual, often plays materials that blend with or enter the virtual reality of the tape. At other times, the soloist maintains his/her individuality by playing in a different direction from the tape in terms of mood, tempo, dynamics, harmony or timbre. Therefore the Possessed Individual, or the soloist, is also a metaphor for all of us at the end of the second millennium, in that we are aware of the breakdown of our traditional thought structures but unable to completely escape our historicized subjectivity. Notwithstanding this predicament, we are still possessed with an energy to create play, challenges and duels. When these energies are combined with technology, they can ideally lead to new sonic worlds and offer the possibility of remapping of our senses and existence through transcendental æsthetic experiences.

The program notes for the works represent the evolution in my thought structure to this philosophical outlook. For example, the program notes for the Physics of Seduction. Invocation #1 announce the crises of our traditional thought structures and appeal to a type of musical listening and transcendental experience unmediated by words or images. To evoke these states, the program notes for the Physics of Seduction. Invocation #3 propose a compositional strategy involving my Theory of Excess. Finally, the program notes for Physics of Seduction. Invocation #2 are a celebration of speed as one example of a surface phenomenon that can create transcendental and hopefully new experiences. The Resonance Cycle pursues these themes with new detailing of the basic ideas.

Musically, the five works chronologize different strategies for combining the live aspect of a potentially irrational, irregular and wild soloist with the disembodied virtual reality of the tape. As mentioned above, in some instances the soloist enters and plays with the virtual world of the tape. At other times, the historicized subjectivity of the soloist is in musical contrast with the tape and, in this sense, the Possessed Individual is one of the last great heroic figures: the virtuosic soloist. The real drama of the relation between the soloist and the tape and the details of these interactions and strategies lie within the unfolding of the musical structures. For in reality, within and outside of the musical experience, things do not co-exist or dominate one another but work to exterminate each other in a fatal regression of discourses. In other words, all metaphors one could establish for the relation between an individual and society or technology is ultimately facile in the face of the illuminating power and transcendental potential of music.

Notwithstanding these limitations of written discourses, it is sufficient to say that in the virtual reality of these recordings our heroic virtuoso, or Possessed Individual, is a possible portrayal of subjectivity in ruins at the end of the second millennium, and yet simultaneously a meditation on the dark, and fatally attractive and seductive universe of The Possessed Individual.

(Title taken from and writing inspired by the book The Possessed Individual, Technology and the French Postmodern by Arthur Kroker.)

Paul Dolden, Vancouver [iv-94]