Untitled score (excerpt)
A scan of a small part of the Electric Score

I thought that I should write just a bit about the work-in-progress that my last couple of posts have been referencing.  I’ve tended in the past to work on projects, usually for quite some time, finally producing some sort of finished piece.  Eleven Clouds, with its requirement of producing something monthly, was a fairly new process for me.  While generally there was a lot of behind the scenes work each month some months were fairly major undertakings that normally I’d have probably spent a lot more time on. So in a way that project was a kind of a work-in-progress as the project. Or to put it another way the entirety of the Eleven Clouds content was the actual release and each month was a work-in-progress toward that whole.

Contrast this to my Book of Musical Patterns, which I worked on for two years and then published the book and its two companion CDs. While it was not work entirely in isolation (I released one of the tracks on an i hate music comp)  that is more indicative of my process -long,  slow, contemplative with a final product being released at the end. So for this current project I’m trying to take sort of a middle ground. It will be a long, well thought out process but I thought that I’d put out some of the work as I do it could be seen to develop. The sketches of the previous two posts are the first part of the process I’ve put out so far, but at some point there will be posts on other aspects of the project. It’ll probably be quite some time before I’m satisfied with the network configuration that I’m working toward for the live electronics setup and the sketches probably won’t ultimately be very indicative of the overall sound but I thought it might be of some interest to experience some of how things develop.

This project has three major components to it:

I) An overall structure for the piece that combines an “Electric Score” which is a meta-score used for generating scores that are used with a live electronics setup and a set of companion scores that can be played along with the Electric Score by additional performers. Look for a forthcoming post on “meta-scores” and “electric scores” in particular and the score(s) for this project in particular. The header image is one (tiny) part of the Electric Score for this project.

II) A Network Instrument setup which is said live electronics setup, that is as I’ve written about, somewhat of a score in and of itself. This is what the series of sketches is working through, the attempts to create this “score” that is flexible enough to realize the primary piece. As I’ll discuss in the third point below, this is a long and involved score and the network is not required (or even expected) to be static for each performance, but it should be iteratively developed. So this also is part of the process- developing a flexible network that can evolve as per the score.

III) Performance of the score. The end result of this project is not a recording, or at least not explicitly. The Electric Score (which has been created as of this post) is quite large – the largest score I’ve made since the Book of Musical Patterns. It is expected to be played in parts, though it is not created in segments like the BoMP. The expectation is that in a performance you play a section of the whole, though given sufficient time one could conceive of performing the entire thing. However one performs it it must be played sequentially from beginning to end.  That is to say that it is not a score like, say, Treatise, where you can pick pages to play. Performance does not necessarily have to be public, one could sit down in ones backyard, or living room or studio and over a series of sessions perform the piece. My goal though is a mix of private and public performances until I have played through the piece. When circumstances arise to perform with other musicians the companion scores, which can be played with any portion of the primary score, can be utilized.

This project (as readers of this blog I’m sure have noted) combines a lot of my primary interests: Graphic Scores, Indeterminacy of Performance, Live Electronics and the Network Instrument, Structured Improvisation, Experimentalism in various forms, Long Form Works, Novel Forms of Collaborations and of course a lot more that I’ve yet to get into.  It can be seen in a way as a direct continuation of both the Book of Musical Patterns and Eleven Clouds and certainly as a product of a lot of the ideas that have interested to me for the last five or more years. Of course this is an ambitious project and there certainly is a chance (perhaps even a likelihood) of failure, or of not meeting expectations and these kind of posts can certainly add to that – they can make something seem overhyped, or overworked or less than the sum of its parts. So there is definitely some risk in these posts, but I think it’ll be interesting and informative to myself as well as any readers/listeners.

Anyway to conclude, there will be a continuing series of posts on the score(s) and probably some further sketches as I work on the network configuration and then at some point, I hope, announcements of the performances as they begin.