slam creak bzzz
for amplified string quartet and electronics(2012, revised 2015)
|Movements||Part 1: The Entrance|
Part 2: The Wait
Part 3: The End
|Premiere||May 2015; DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York; Mivos Quartet|
|Technical requirements||The quartet should be amplified using overhead microphones and close mics or pickups.|
Amplification for electronic playback is required.
Once upon a time, I became enthralled with the opening scene of an epic movie. In this scene there is virtually no dialog, and a complex soundscape defers the musical soundtrack more than 11 minutes. The microphonic sound design and use of silence enhance the scene's suspense while simultaneously encouraging close listening. The patient pacing - and the ultimate slippage between diagetic and non-diagetic sounds - underscore the scene's fundamental musicality. This film was doing something I wanted to be doing in my music. I had to investigate.
Using a process of transcription that freely moved between the literal and metaphoric, followed by layers of revisions, erasures and additions, I took the scene’s timing for a first structural layer of my piece, before allowing purely musical and instrumental decisions to take over.slam creak bzzzalso incorporates sound samples from the actual film at strategic moments, in conjunction with extra-instrumental noises from the quartet and amplification. As the physicality of the performers and the sonic presence of the acoustic and amplified sounds confront the samples from the film,slam creak bzzzproposes a sound world charged with anticipation and captivated by sonic materiality, as hints of narrative and violence slip in and out of abstraction. (And if you don't already know, we can reveal the film in question after the performance.)
This piece is dedicated to the memory of Lee Hyla.
- Katherine Young