Embertide premiered on November 18, 2008, the day before my thirty-eighth birthday, in the Union Theatre at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, at the invitation of Glenn Bach, Carl E. Bogner, and David Dinnell.
It was composed to be the centerpiece of an evening-long presentation of my work as part of the regular Tuesday night experimental cinema series. Embertide and other selected earlier works were presented in a completely blacked-out theater in surround sound, under the guise of 'cinema for the ears.'
Midway through the piece, as the source recording at its center becomes less occluded, you can hear the soundscape my wife and I carried into the birth process with us: a portable shruti box, which provided a constant drone against which to vocalize while riding out the contractions; and an iPod with portable speakers.
On the latter we listened, perhaps a dozen times, to Athenaeum, one of the improvised long-form live recordings of the Necks, from their divine (but apparently out of print) album Athenaeum, Homebush, Quay & Raab.
I cannot praise the Necks highly enough. To my deep pleasure and lasting inspiration, my wife and I were able to see them perform live here in San Francisco earlier this year. As my brother put it after the show, they redefine what music is and can be.
This work, not to mention the experience of Ember's birth, would have been discernibly less joyous, were it not for the inclusion of the Necks within. I am grateful.
Even more than my other work, this piece rewards headphone listening.
It is, however, even more essential that you listen via a system that can reproduce low bass frequencies accurately.
Also available on CDR, for $108 plus shipping. Proceeds support Ember and my second daughter Juniper, my most important works in progress.