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Turns in the South

turns in the south ( 2008 )

2xCDR available, $108 or barter.

This two-disc set collects a pair of very different long-form compositions, each derived from sound collected in southern India. Both debuted before live audiences, in a concert environment; the versions collected here have been extended and refined.

This project is a personal milestone; I believe these pieces embody mature realizations of two divergent impulses in my work: in one case, my evolution towards rigorous formalism; in the other, my continuing love affair with the 'merely' lovely.

prelude: kerala A largely unadorned field recording made while motoring on a slow-moving houseboat through the famous backwaters of Kerala. One late afternoon we passed a succession of speakers broadcasting prayers from a temple at a bend in the canal... Children run along the bank to engage us; the crew passes the time.

backwaters nocturne

A dream journey, structured around three reptitions (the second reversed) of a long soundwalk my wife and I took in Alleppy, Kerala, launching port of tourist backwaters cruises. Upon the soporific drone of our houseboat's motor, I lay quietly beating sine tones and field recordings made around Kerala. Slowly and without comment hypnogogic images arise as if from the dreamwork... This work is a self-conscious reveling in the intuitive, overtly 'musical' impressionism I gravitate towards when composing for my own pleasure. [This piece expands on a work composed for (and performed live at) the Activating the Medium festival held at the Exploratorium in San Francisco in January, 2007.]

prelude: tamil nadu An almost unedited recording of a stroll by chance into a festive early one evening in Madurai, the famous temple city in Tamil Nadu. Not far from our hotel, in the long shadows of the soaring Meenakshi Amman temple gopurams, an old woman and a collection of pre-adolscent girls engage in call and response in a street fair stall... then half a block down, a band performs popular [film?] music on a mid-street stage, with de riigeur banter and noodling between songs...
madurai mani fold 55 MB An epic of introspection, this piece was constructed entirely from a single, several-second moment at the tail end of its prelude. Unfolding from rigorously-applied formal processes (such as those I explored in the making of Kagbeni Variations), I consider this a culmination of my interest in the possibilities of such rigor. In a very different way from the nocturne that serves as its contrapositive, I hear this work too as the dreamlike drift of clouds: but in this case, amid vast and just-perceptibly-changing details, as of the light going down in a variegated sky at sunset, a deep ordering emerges as the analytic mind lets go... [This piece was composed for (and debuted at) LISTEN 05, a listening salon (curated by Christopher Willits) on November 19, 2006 — my 36th birthday.]
Note: on the CD version of this album, each prelude meshes seamlessly with the composition it introduces.
The versions appearing here have been slightly modified to accomodate their seperation.