Date Completed: December 1st '04
Part of Series: none
(Please note: this is a very bare bones performance score, and not representative of the majority of my scores)
Recording: Track 3 on
Fracture: The Music of Pat Muchmore
Performed by: Ken Thomson (alto sax), Maria Sonevytsky (accordion), Pat Muchmore (cello with effects pedals)
The title was written in an angry stream-of-consciousness, partly in response to some 2004 U.S. election results with which I was displeased.
This piece is mostly raw brutality, with a few sections of uneasy calm used mostly to throw the mean, callous, heartless bulk of the music into sharp relief (h/t Douglas Adams). In addition to my desire to just let off some steam, I wanted to write another piece which could feature the apeshit soloing skills of Ken Thomson (who was also the producer of the Fracture record). Thick accordion clusters introduce the piece, and lead fairly quickly to the main "melody" played by all three instruments as loudly as possible. I call this tune the Lick of All Notes and None, and although it is mostly constant sixteenth notes, the continuously shifting and unhinged meters are used to keep the listener unbalanced.
The relatively quiet section that follows (about 45" into the recording), is a psychedelic bit featurng a wash of cello sound and a mostly improvised accordion solo (played by Maria Sonevytsky on the album). This leads to the aforementioned cracked-out sax solo over a Meshuggah-inspired assymetric rhythmic line (2:35 or so). After a final island of (relative) calm, the original evil Lick returns—even more berserk—and it is gradually truncated with each repeat until it's reduced to maniacally repeated chord clusters like those in the introduction. A final ringing cluster in the accordion should nicely complement the tinnitus induced by listening to this song at the proper volume.
Ok, so I wasn't happy about Bush winning the presidency in 2004, and this piece was a part of my grieving process. If you disagree with my politics, feel free to imagine that it's about Obama winning in 2008 or Emperor Palpatine being granted emergency powers in Attack of the Clones, etc. It's an expression of largely impotent rage, the kind that burns itself out unproductively much like the Lick of All Notes and None does at the end of the composition.
This piece is clearly heavily inspired by the music of gutbucket (as is, frankly, a lot of my music in the 2000s), the band in which Ken Thomson composes and plays saxophone. It's an incredible group, so if you like this piece even a little bit, you should check out the real thing. I like all of their albums, but if I had to choose, it would probably be Dry Humping the American Dream.
COMING SOON (maybe)