Finally finished a new string quartet. It is called “It’s Made From Pieces Of From Of Pieces Of My Skin” and it is for string quartet and four computer hard drives.
I’ve been working with computer hard drives for a while (with the help of Richard Knight) and when it came time to write a new string quartet I decided to incorporate the hard drives. I’ve not heard it all put together, but the texture of ‘acoustic’ hard drives and strings I can imagine to be real nice fit.
This is also the first through-written piece that I’ve done in around 5 years. I’ve written a lot of improv stuff, or open stuff, or band stuff since then (most of the stuff for the trio I have with Mauricio Pauly and Alex Tod is through-written, but with open sections). That was a big hurdle to get over for me. I’ve grown a ton as a musician and performer in that time, but hadn’t composed (this type of stuff), so negotiating that space took some gusto.
About the piece itself. In addition to working with hard drives I’ve also been getting into embedding deeper conceptual stuff into my music, and this piece is no exception. From the program notes:
It’s Made From Pieces Of From Pieces Of My Skin is a string quartet about media, technology, and string quartets, made using media, technology, and string quartets. Nearly all of the musical material in the piece comes from sonified data files related to Crumb’s Black Angels and Bartok’s Quartets (primarily the 2nd one). A computer script would take text, image, video, as well as many other file types and convert them into audio files. These audio files were then orchestrated for string quartet and computer hard drives and make up most of the piece.
The piece is supposed to be workshopped by the Danel quartet in January, but that may or may not happen (there is a very unpleasant man between me, and that workshop happening….and I’ll leave it at that). Barring that, it might get played by the Distractfold Ensemble as they might be chubbing their string section up to a quartet. We will see.
Without further adieu: