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distances swarming and encompassing

for solo prepared electric guitar with optional video projection (2011/14)

Premiere: Zane Merritt, null point, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY, April 28, 2014


Video (excerpt) [full studio video version coming Winter 2016]:


About the piece:

The piece’s sounds, initiated by fingers plucking and striking the strings, are themselves split into two spatially separated sources: the embodied, visually marked, but acoustically meager sounds of the guitar body itself, and the disembodied, visually unmarked, yet often strident sounds of the guitar electrified and transmitted through the amplifier. The volume pedal regulates the latter’s volume (and, in turn, the audibility of the former). While this pedal is ordinarily used to smooth the instrument’s sonic continuity, in the present work, it functions in an opposite fashion, being instead rhythmically and phraseologically independent of the fingers, fracturing their continuities, and creating deliberate incongruities between physical gesture and sonic result.

As in much of my other music, silence and sound are functionally equal and autonomous, and engage in dialectical conflict. The guitarist’s fingers are functionally on the side of sound, but the volume pedal functions more ambivalently, allying itself alternately with both sound and silence.