Urban Space

This was my first big multi-movement piece. It was created as a studio piece, which was no small task back in 1985. The piece was recorded at Blackberry Way, a 24-track recording studio, and it was really constructed in the studio, using techniques that are now relatively easy to employ on a desktop computer. The project made use of a variety of chance operations. For example, in the third movement, Abandoned Places, I recorded a small group of singers on a number of discrete tracks. On each track, I had all of the singers sing a single pitch in unison, repeatedly and with randomly varying durations.  As they sang on successive tracks, they would not be allowed to monitor the material they had already recorded on earlier tracks. This resulted in a randomly shifting harmonic sonority, with various pitches entering and leaving at different times. Of course, today this could be easily accomplished was a sampler and a computer. That being said, the human factor of doing it the old fashioned way adds musically interesting imperfections that I find appealing. Many years later, I would revisit the idea of chance operations with a cappella voices in my piece, Noopiming, (an obviously much more refined piece from my mature compositional period). 

I've included complete recordings of the first five movements and an excerpt of a seventh above.  I found a recording of the sixth movement, but just can't bear to post it, (too painfully lame).  The eighth movement is lost in the mists of time.  I still have the 24-track master, but I doubt I will ever get around to remixing that last movement.   

My documentation was rather lacking back in those days, and I'm not sure now who all of the musicians were.  Here they are to the best of my recollection:

Flute & Bass Recorder
Marimba and Vibraphone

There was something of a graphic "score" created for this piece, (below) which was really more of an after-the-fact and rather loose graphical representation of the piece.  This was no doubt my first foray into the realm of graphic or aleatoric music notation.