Separate Self is a collaboration with IonSound Project, roboticist/sculptor Garth Zeglin, and myself that premiered on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at Bellefield Hall in Oakland. The project Garth and I created features three of Garth’s robotic sculptures basically dancing to the music I wrote. We’re currently in the process of editing together audio and video from the concert, but in the meantime I wanted to share some audio excerpts.
My first and lasting impression of Garth Zeglin’s robotic fabric sculptures is that they are elegant and graceful creatures who move beautifully and expressively. I created the music for Separate Self with a clear idea of how the robots would move (thanks to computer simulations Garth shared with me early in the design stage), but also with the thought that many different kinds of entities—including humans—could move to this music and enjoy doing so.
IonSound commissioned Separate Self with the support of a Spark Award from the Sprout Fund. This concert is also the culmination of a series of educational workshops with the Falk and Waldorf schools, and will involve student performers and their created instruments and compositions.
I’m always grateful for the opportunity to work with the marvelous musicians of IonSound Project and for the chance to collaborate with Garth. And I’m particularly grateful to the Sprout Fund for supporting the entire CreatION Sound project.
The first movement is a romp from start to finish that gives a nod to the legendary Vince Guaraldi and affords each player a virtuosic solo. This excerpt features violinist Laura Motchalov, pianist Jack Kurutz, and drummer Dan Zawodniak.
To me, writing a slow movement often feels akin to how the Apostle Paul describes certain kinds of prayer—as the Spirit interceding for us in “groans that words cannot express” (Rom. 8:26). There is a lot of motion in this passage, but the motion is all in the service of creating a sense of stillness, which I guess is a very dance-like endeavor.
The third movement is a study in sonic fields that are simultaneously static and in a state of flux. This excerpt goes from the beginning of the movement into the third major section and gives a good sense of what’s in store.