The Third Pillar in Primal Imperfect Palindrome with The Souvenir of The Second Pillar, The Floating Cirrus over the Pumping Slush, and The Highest Moving Chordal Motif from Apparitions of The Four Pillars
12 I 28, revised 18 VII 15
When I began to think about writing a solo piece for Will Lang, I knew I wanted to keep the elements of density we had developed in the early ensemble versions of Apparitions of The Four Pillars. With the cassette releases I did for The Tapeworm in 2011, I had experimented with how moments of stasis can emerge from density; synchronizing a melody across 19 cassettes, layered together, so it emerged from the rich drone around it.
For The Third Pillar in Primal Imperfect Palindrome with The Souvenir of The Second Pillar, The Floating Cirrus over the Pumping Slush, and The Highest Moving Chordal Motif from Apparitions of the Four Pillars I built an incredibly dense series of variable delay lines that allowed the soloist to become an orchestra with himself, but also allowed melody to emerge from the texture when required.
In revisiting the composition, now 6 years later, this early density seemed jarring. When Will and I first developed this piece we were both new to this world. The work presented tonight keeps the energy of those early performances, but brings a new understanding of the possibilities of the material, unencumbered by ornamentation, unhindered by delay.
The delay structures in this updated version work with the underlying structures and allow for sustain beyond human capacity, but are not interested in crowding the space of the performance. The delays here allow us to experience a slowing of time, and highlight the focus of the performer.
I didn’t set out to write my longest piece to date, it just happened. My longtime mentor La Monte Young has famously said, “tuning is a function of time” and I’ve taken that practice to heart. By sustaining the tones for long periods of time, we are better able to experience the complex feeling created through even simple intervallic relationships.
A portion of the title refers to the palindrome, a form I’ve been interested in since I first encountered it in the works of Messiaen, and the macro/microcosmic relationships of Cage. The overall form of this piece is a palindrome, offset by melodic movement. This palindromic nature also influences the duration of the work.
We journey together into the ritualistic presentation of The Drone, sustained before and after the performance. The new video environment was developed in close collaboration with Oscar H Scott to bridge the world of the early Apparitions performances, with their brightly colored primary videos and rich red lights, with the new concerns of my current video work: glacial, imperceptible change and pure blue colors. The visual environment serves to heighten our awareness and concentration. The passage of time becomes fluid. Tonight we experience the multiple facets of The Third Pillar and the pure 9:8 interval that defines it.