“Exoplanet” (1994) was commissioned by choreographer Dave Wilson for the student dance ensemble at McMaster University. Musically, it is a kind of postlude to the score for the dance suite “Land of the Living,” which I composed for a festival performance in Lyon several weeks before. I had intended to release both scores as part of a sci-fi instrumental concept album, After, but set the idea aside to work on what would become the album Uhuru.
The track is built on two alternating chords, the tonic and the supertonic, heard at first in the bassline and later in minimalist patterns of stacked fifths.
Rhythms were played manually, with light adjusting of individual MIDI events afterwards. This method of editing — as opposed to running the quantize function which I was not interested in doing — would often involve a discouraging number of clattering button clicks on the 01/W. Thus the light adjusting. It was my way of trying to avoid a fully programmed sound.
“Exoplanet” was a quick sketch for an industrial-themed dance (title unknown) which I didn’t see. I seem to recall it was performed in Boston alongside the suite; thus the complete After album concept enjoyed a single public outing.
Composed and recorded February 1994, Korg 01/WFD
Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce Russell 2019
Brandon Coleman Resistance
Tigran Hamasyan For Gyumri
Zaki Ibrahim The Secret Life of Planets
The Internet Hive Mind
JACK Quartet Everything That Rises (John Luther Adams)
Kuniko Drumming (Steve Reich)
Kukuruz Quartet Julius Eastman Piano Interpretations
Kendrick Lamar/Various Artists Black Panther: The Album
Kelly Moran Ultraviolet
Georgia Anne Muldrow Overload
Steve Reich/International Contemporary Ensemble/Colin Currie Group Pulse/Quartet
Esperanza Spalding 12 Little Spells
Kali Uchis Isolation
Kamasi Washington Heaven and Earth
Tierra Whack Whack World
Aretha Franklin The Atlantic Singles Collection 1967-1970
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 A. Russell 2018