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Timbre Harvest
  • Artist: Forrest Larson
  • UPC: 711517627924
  • Item #: CDBY762792
  • Genre: Electronic
  • Release Date: 6/29/2010
  • This product is a special order
  • Rank: 1000000000
Price: $16.94
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Timbre Harvest on CD

Ever since I can remember, sounds in the everyday environment have inspired me, the engine of the family Volkswagen bus, squeaky doors, crows, pots & pans in the kitchen. From early childhood I sought out ways of making and experimenting with new kinds of sounds from instruments and as well as any object around that might make some kind of noise. One does not have to go to a concert (or even listen to a CD like this one) in order to hear deeply moving sounds. The root of my music is attentively listening to the authentic quality of sound itself (the timbre or tone-color), and not using it to tell a story or be symbolic of anything in particular. I listen for a lyrical quality or singing quality even in sounds such as jackhammers and short wave radio noises. Traditional musical elements of melody, harmony and rhythm are not always necessary in my work. This approach can be quite at odds with the traditional college music school training that I've had. The influence of Baroque and early music that I also love is evident in some of the works here. There is a creative tension in my compositional process between a pure interest in sound and writing music with clearly notated pitches and rhythms and some fairly traditional gestures (which could be heard as "narrative"). Although my music is outside of the musical mainstream, it is not necessarily ground breaking. And technologically, my use of reel to reel tape recorders and monophonic analog synthesizers may even be "old fashioned" considering the current musical possibilities of the computer. My compositional output has mostly been electronic music and works that combine that medium with live instruments. There have been performances on venues in the Boston area by the Boston Chamber Ensemble, Culture Industry Misfits and the Grape Society. And my music has received performances in Ithaca, NY, Pittsburgh, and in Ashland, OR. I've also given lectures on analog electronic music at Bates College, Southern Oregon University and at M.I.T. Horsefly Fantasy (1991) originally was intended as a technical studio exercise with pizzicato violin and some audio delay units. The result is some uncharacteristic virtuosity not found in any of my other music. It wasn't until years later that I appreciated the final results. The grainy "black and white" sound quality from the cassette tape source does bring a certain expressive hue to the piece. Solitary Motion, for solo cello (1994) dedicated to Rob Bethel, seeks to capture the formal and expressive freedom found in early 17th C. Italian Baroque composers such as Marini and Corelli. Some period performance practice techniques are even called for, such as using vibrato only as an expressive ornament and certain bow articulations and gestures. A common feature of violin music from that era was variant tunings called scordatura. Here the cello's A string is tuned down to a-flat, which open up new timbral and harmonic capabilities. Urban Sanctuary (1994) is a summation of my way of listening to the "music" that is all around me in the city. These sounds are worthy of our close attention and in appreciating their beauty, one may even experience them in a kind of "sacred" manner. The sounds used in the piece were collected in my wanderings mostly in the city. Rural Vermont night insect sounds open and close the piece. Syncronic, for tuba and recorded sound (1993) was composed on a request from Phil Van Ouse. He wanted a program of all new original tuba music for his masters degree recital at Carnegie Mellon University. In this piece, I wanted the tuba to sing. It is a kind of meditation. This was the first work I'd written that calls for live concert performance of a solo instrument to be synchronized with pre-recorded sound. The recorded sound part uses both pure electronic and modified acoustic sources. Staccato Droplets (1999) was realized with two Korg analog monophonic synthesizers and a 24-step analog sequencer. Instinctively I'm drawn to sustained sounds. As a challenge, I chose to create a piece using only very short sounds. Even short specks of sound can have a lyricism that draws one in to their inherent essence. Long Short Waves (1999) came about on a late June night in 1999 when sounds on the short wave radio spectrum were particularly inspiring. This piece was realized by splitting the radio output and routing one channel to an oscillator and the other through various signal processors. Careful attention was paid to never lose the sound quality and character of the original radio broadcast sounds. The process of composition was a dialog between studio control of the sound material and the random changes of the radio signals. As Far As The Crow Can Fly, for cello and recorded sound (1999) was written for Sera Smolen and premiered in Ithaca, NY. It is an elegy for some very special people in my life who have died. Almost all of the recorded sounds originated from glass and metal. The intent was to create organic rather than synthesized sounds. This piece was crafted as a duet, so that the recorded sound part and the cello are of equal importance. There are six short contrasting connected movements, ending with a coda.