The Broken Mirror of Memory is now released! (Fanfare!) And the best place to get it is straight from the artist. (That’s me!)
In this episode is one track from the new album. This is part 2; you heard part 1 in the last episode.
The bass clarinet has a kind of talking quality throughout part 2 that involves some unusual sounds you might not have heard before. You’ll hear a few bends and microtonal adjustments, and in many spots, Pat actually sings through the body of the instrument while playing. This does not produce two distinct notes as you might expect; instead, the voice and reed combine in a strange and beautiful way. You’ll also hear some damped notes in the piano, where I touch the end of the string while the hammer strikes. In the mixing process, I used a whole bunch of techniques to accentuate all these strange sounds, and make them even a bit more strange and emotionally immediate.
The point of all of these effects — beside just that they’re cool — is not to stand strikingly apart from the rest of the music, but to integrate with it. I always list Jimi Hendrix as one of my big influences, which sometimes gets strange looks, but I mean it. One of things he did so well was to take what we might call “extended technique” and make it feel not extended at all, but perfectly integrated into the musical expression, utterly a part of the syntax.
I was after some of that in part 2. I was also thinking of some traditional Bulgarian singing where vocal ornaments and strange uses of the voice meld perfectly into captivating sinewy melodies.
Coming out of the tense entanglement of part 1 into a vast, abstract, empty space, here is:
The equilibrium the music finds at the end of part 2, after all that wrestling, opens the door for the big emotional pivot that begins part 3.
If you’d like to hear the whole piece, you can stream a preview, and hopefully get yourself a copy, from my humble online store. Download, CD, and scores all available. What’s posted on this site is the mid-quality MP3 I use for the podcast, but I assure you, hearing the full-quality version on good speakers is a whole different experience.
My heartfelt thanks to everybody on Kickstarter who made this possible. I can’t tell you what it means to be able to release this recording.