1993+25: The Turret

The Turret (1993) was commissioned by choreographer Dave Wilson for a dance solo performed by Viv Moore. It uses a non-equal temperament tuning. It was quickly sketched and left in raw form; however, I had been developing my palette and techniques on the M1 for several years by this point. I titled it for the recessed area where I would compose in the apartment I lived in at the time. 

Composed and recorded February 1993, Korg M1

Photo: Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, Lyon

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce Russell 2018

Otherwhere

British responses to Black diasporic music, and other sounds from formative walks in SSM and Toronto, via a recollection of refrains, harmonic worlds visited and the journeys between

Omar | You’ve Got to Move
Working Week | Inner City Blues
The Brand New Heavies | Dream On Dreamer
Colourbox | Philip Glass
Young Disciples | Get Yourself Together
Massive Attack | Daydreaming
Level 42 | Coup d’etat
Soul II Soul | Fairplay
Mica Paris | Contribution ft. Rakim
Ronny Jordan | See the New ft. IG Culture
Jamiroquai | Blow Your Mind
Matt Bianco | Half a Minute
Prefab Sprout | Enchanted
Sade | Hang on to Your Love
Incognito | Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing
Caron Wheeler | Kama Yo
Swing Out Sister | Twilight World
Loose Ends | Hangin’ on a String (Contemplating)

Otherwhere: UK 84-94

Ibrahim El Mahboob
March 2018

1998+20: in a name

in a name (1998) mixes naïveté and rigour; it was one of my earliest pieces where this was an intentional approach, at least. It is based on a musical cipher of the name of the recipient in a gift exchange. A three-note cell of B – E – A is derived from this, generating all the melodic and harmonic content for the piece by forming hexachords with other three-note cells that are parallel with the first: G-sharp – C-sharp – F-sharp; G – C – F and D – G – C, resulting in the keys of E major, A minor and G major respectively. As an example, a two-voice canon on the notes G-sharp – C-sharp – F-sharp – B – E – A is heard near the beginning, immediately after which it becomes the accompaniment to the repeating melodic pattern of the cipher.

The focus is always on one group of six notes or another, voiced predominantly in symmetrical patterns of fourths, fifths and sevenths and seconds, sometimes stacked, sometimes nested. The main three-note cell remains a constant. The overall structure is symmetrical.

This recording features a digital approximation of a just intonation tuning of the piano, while the score specifies the option of performing in this tuning or in equal temperament. The piece was also heard as part of the musical program (which also included my piece for solo kalimba For Findley, also 1998) for an evening-length improv by Dave Wilson’s Dream Dancers, at Dancemakers in October 1999.

Composed and recorded January 1998, Korg 01WFD

Photo: impromptu dinosaur by Kenza Russell, age 4

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce Russell 2018