for alto saxophone and computer

Composed: 2008
Duration: 8'

Program Notes

Phantasm for alto saxophone and computer explores connections between old and new, between high-tech urban sounds and low-tech, rural folk sounds, and between memory and imagination. The piece is rooted in an earlier work of mine for solo saxophone. I was struck by the idea of a revenant – a sort of fragmentary remnant of a ghost – and the somewhat tenuous connections between an existing recording and a new, granularly processed version of the same recording. The materials of Phantasm are exactly these sorts of ghostly fragments: the live saxophone part is derived throughout from the earlier work, but with the materials twisted and bent into new, haunting shapes, distorted through extended saxophone performance techniques. The computer makes use of pre-recorded materials as well as live granular processing of the saxophone to create washes and clouds of sound. The first large section of the work, "Digital Ritual," serves to call the phantasm forth and repeatedly, ritualistically pairs samples of Kenyan Nyatiti harp with various rhythm patterns derived from the West African bembe. As time goes by, these rural, traditional sounds are wrenched into the 21st century, undergoing extremes of digital distortion and aliasing noise as the saxophone's invocation grows more and more frenetic and intense. The second large section of the work, "Phantasm," places a new saxophone line in counterpoint against the revenant of the older, original saxophone recording. Both old and new feature extensive granular processing, to blur the edges between them and achieve a new synthesis of texture and timbre

Score and Recording

Click the PDF icon below for a viewable score in PDF format. For a printable score and other performance materials, including the necessary software, please contact me.

Link to PDF of score