Sharp, Elliott - Larynx (Mega Blowout Sale)

SKU Neos 40704
"A 41 minute composition, compelling in its reach, for a large version of Carbon with E#, Samm Bennett, Lesli Dalaba, David Fulton, Ken Heer, David Linton, Charles K Noyes, Bobby Previte, Jim Staley and including The Soldier String Quartet: David Soldier, Ron Lawrence, Laura Seaton, Mary Wooten.

LARYNX is an analogy; the orchestra as a throat. It follows as corolly to the throat as orchestra: throat singing as practised by the Inuit of the Canadian arctic and the hoomii singing of Mongolia, as well as by related jawharp techniques found throughout the world. The natural overtone series is the melodic core of much of these musics and of much of LARYNX. Ratios derived from the Fibonacci Series are use to generate tunings and melodic/harmonic material for the strings, brass, slabs, pantars, and doubleneck guitarbass, as well as rhythmic material for the ensemble. This is a continuation of systems used in such pieces as MARCO POLO'S ARGALI, SELF-SQUARED DRAGON and TESSALATION ROW. Within a given section, some musicians will be strictly utilizing these systems while others will play using their own idiosyncratic processes. Using guided improvisations layered and intertwined with the predetermined materials, the musicians may expand upon and comment tangentially on the given material.

LARYNX is constructed in six major sections with five interludes. The opening and closing use all four drummers; the remaining sections each feature one, with the others playing slabs or samples. Starting with the second section, the order of the featured drummers is: Noyes, Previte, Bennett and Linton. Each has developed a unique vocabulary; I enjoy the contrast between them as well as their understanding of my compositional syntax. This applies to all of the musicians in CARBON, who are given instructions of varying degrees of specificity in the different sections (ranging from exact rhythms or playing techniques to general notions of density or textures). The same processing algorithms are mapped onto each section, cross-referencing them while yielding radically different sonic textures. One is transported (via interlude) into each new section - the terrain is different, yet one recognizes that the functional identity of the new place is the same (an analogy from topology applies: a torus is a torus is a torus). The interludes form a cycle of their own while connecting the main sections; the same processes are applied to groups of instruments - explicity different but self-similar in both internal and structural workings. The order of interludes is brass, pantars, string quartet, slabs, guitarbass. On instrumentation: string parts were played by the Soldier String Quartet, whose rhythmic astuteness and enthusiasm for the extended techniques called for in LARYNX made them a pleasure to work with. Their instruments were tuned entirely to the Just intoned ratios of 1/1, 3/2, 8/5 and 5/3 (translating as C, G, Ab, A), generated from adjacent Fibonacci numbers. These tunings were also applied to the slabs, pantars and guitarbass. To maintain the intonation system in the bulk of the piece, all of these instruments were played using only open strings and their overtones. In a like manner, the brass instruments played open pedal tones of those same notes and their overtones. There are, however, a number of places in LARYNX where players are free to use a variety of sound-production techniques well outside any system. Slabs are horizontal basses with a movable bridge in the center of the string span and pickups on either side. They are played with lightweight metal mallets with rubber tips combined with hand-muting to bring out specific overtones. In this way, one slab may be played by two people. They may also be bowed or played with slides. The pantars are the metal tops to sweeping-compound cans fitted with four tunable strings, a contact pickup and a bridge/resonator made of a domed cymbal. They may be plucked, hammered, struck or excited by an E-bow.

When LARYNX was performed at Brooklyn Academy of Music (November 13-14, 1987), it manifested its own musical life, fueled by the inspired contributions of all the musicians. The music dances upon the everchanging boundary between a geometry derived from the Fibonacci Series and a fractal geometry of turbulence, chaos and disorder. The explicitly-ordered materials are embedded in a dense field of manifold processes. In any section, many micromelodies may operate simultanously; they interact and combine, pop out and reveal themselves. As elements shift, new landscapes emerge (along with new sets of processes). I was not interested in mechanistically assigning musical functions to tables of fractals or in using mathematical functions as artifacts. The eesence of my use of fractal geometry is as a conceptual flamethrower, burning away conventional ideas of structure and development and allowing LARYNX to be heard as a multiplexing of other-than-musical processes. Like a sonic hologram, one may listen from many angles; both the components parts and the whole are simultanously revealed even as they are transfigured in form and function."
  • LabelNeos
  • UPC4260063407048
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