Liner Notes

What Most Attracts Me to…

What most attracts me to the music of Theodore Lotis is his mastery of the spatial image. This is not so much to do with constructing perspective — relations between near and far, or the movement of sound across the stereo field — but with the nature of the textural fabric, how he deploys his sounds in spectral space. The spectral texture is distributed in multiple registers. Layers interact, come and go, relate sympathetically, or pressurise each other as they seek their place, or move on. Our mental image of space and spaciousness gathers over time as we observe these behaviours, as we absorb the accumulation of microcosmic detail.

For Theodore Lotis, the distribution of sounds over spectral space and across time creates a diffused ambient space, in much the same way as natural light does. So ideas about luminosity — of brightness, transparency, opacity — are influential in developing the spatial image. I think for example, of the more opaque bass registers which not only give depth to a texture but, in their continuity, suggest broad expanses. Then there are the pulses and pulsations, particles and impulses, which form the microcosm. These are much more luminous, inhabiting higher, elevated registers. And we must not forget the gravitational glissandi, whose energetic forces propel us through spectral space, or in their gentler motion suggest aerial images. I am conscious, too, of a sensitivity to pitch and harmony which are sometimes the scaffolding on which a texture relies, providing points of reference for departure or arrival, and for navigation through spectral space.

Although there are traces of known sounds, not always firmly identifiable, and although the metaphors revealed in works’ titles evoke the spaces of natural phenomena like water, wind, air and light, we do not remain anchored in our world. This music seeks to transport us to an imagined, highly expressive, other-worldliness.

Denis Smalley, London (England, UK) [ii-08]