September 8th, 1987
March 2017 | Fixed Media, Stereo
September 8th, 1987 is part of a series of artistic collaborations with custom software called Isomer using a process I call spectral deconstruction
How this process unfolded during the creation of September 8th, 1987 is described below…
As is common for composers my age, I grew up hearing many colorful firsthand stories of music and art making in mid-century New York City. Morton Feldman was not a personal mentor, nor do I have a particularly strong relationship with his music, but the legacy of his ideas has proved unavoidable.
On September 8th, 1987 a funeral was held for Feldman near his childhood home in Queens, NY. I think often of the adventurous spirit that fueled that period in American music and would like to imagine that this work is a fitting expression of that day.
The material for this work comes from a single extended recording of a street intersection in New York City. In addition to providing the musical elements through the spectral deconstruction process, a portion of the original source recording remains subtly audible throughout the piece.
At its core, September 8th, 1987 is a simple duet between an alto flute and bass clarinet. The peaceful (and touching?) counterpoint was gently coaxed from the slow-moving monophonic layers found in the source recording.
Soft synthesized leads shadow and support each solo instrument while a wonderful emulation of an Oberheim SEM (processed by the amazing Trax Phase Vocoder from IRCAM) keeps the track honest by providing moments of unpredictable motion.
The aim was to dress the track with a sound appropriate to studios from the 1980s. Light spatialization was added to create the impression of a liquid-filled, slow-motion environment — as if the listener’s inner world has slowed down while the rest of the world passes by at its normal pace.