Thursday, July 27 at 8pm
Salmonella kitchen and atmosphere study (6)
Composed by Mark So

The composer's description:

Salmonella kitchen and atmosphere study (6) each explores a different ‘angle’ on a chordal harmony of stable definition that is also in some manner indeterminate. Just as importantly, and a matter always more ‘up in the air,’ these pieces engage different angles of contact with their surrounding ambient environment. In salmonella kitchen, the form is somewhat grid-like, with 5-minute periods of 5 musicians playing tones alternating with 5-minute silences. Within each period of playing, an (always unpredictable) harmony builds up within a narrow pitch space (about 40 cents, or a fifth of a whole-tone, above or below middle C), always in the form a more-or-less symmetrical ‘pyramid’ of concentric, nested durations.

Atmosphere study (6) has – potentially – both a more open disposition to sound material and a more dispersed, irregular profile in time. Each of several performers sustains a simple, soft sound for about 8 minutes, beginning at some point within the first 10 minutes of the piece, then repeats the same sound (for another 8 minutes) after an individual silence of 4-7 minutes. In both cases, the harmonies that emerge will involve somewhat more than their composed structure. These pieces, each in its own way, are ‘on’ to their surroundings: they hear out. By what structure of relation and to what end remains, as ever, to be heard.

Performed by: G. Douglas Barrett, Orin Hildestad, Joseph Kudirka, Liam Mooney, Michael Pisaro, Mark So and Luke Thomas Taylor.
From the Composer to the musicians the next day:

Thanks, everyone, for doing such a nice job tonight. 'Salmonella' sounded quite amazing at that low level -- the space really made it lively, and it was incredible to be caught between the simultaneous sense of a single note being approximated, on the one hand, and the absolutely distinct harmonic transitions as voices were added and subtracted. The clarity of the forwards-backwards reiteration of the harmonic stages came through in each "culture," as well. Perhaps the most satisfying thing, for me, was the sense of 3 completely independent "lives" that emerged: multiple tones, single tone, room. Not a continuum, but each harboring its own line of experience. Anyways, there was so much to hear, and it was my distinct privilege to be able to just sit there and enjoy it. You collectively managed the kind of delicate, ultra-fine clarity that really made one listen.

And the subtlety was the perfect set-up for 'atmosphere', which, I thought, had the right balance of proximate clarity yet overall next-to-nothingness -- in the wide-view, just barely perceptibly something added to and changing the room, in mysterious stages, and never just when you noticed someone doing something, but when it faded to the background, and you registered that things had changed, somehow.


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