February 11, 2014

Notes from Jeff Snyder and Sam Pluta on ICElab 2014

from the composers

Our first album was made exclusively using 1960s and 1970s analog synthesizers - the Buchla 100/200 and the Serge Modular. Our time working with these beautiful machines had a profound influence on our future work. Jeff has been creating hardware instruments, one of which is a modular synthesizer in the tradition of Don Buchla and Serge Tcherepnin. Sam has been creating a modular software interface for live manipulation of instruments.

For our upcoming ICELab project, we want to explore this idea of modularity in a compositional sense. Our goal is to write a piece where different compositional ideas can overlap and intersect in different ways, where we can compose small segments of music for one set of performers to play while others are improvising, and where we can rearrange the modules from the composition in each performance to bring out new possibilities from the material.

score sample

This concept is nothing new. You can find it in compositions like Stimmung by Karlheinz Stockhausen or in Anthony Braxton's epic Ghost Trance series. Like those pieces, this work is focused on the talents of the performers involved. Everyone performing in this ensemble has an outstanding resume of working in both composed and improvised settings. The goal for the project is to tap exclusiveOr's and ICE's improvising talents, combining this with strictly notated scores, to create a concert-length barrage of notes, sounds, and noises. We want to create a work that is both a solid piece of composed music and a solid piece of improvisation, where these two opposing methodologies seamlessly intersect, complement each other, and imitate one another to create a unified whole.