Ryan Streber – Concentric
Released on New Focus Recordings, 2014
Featuring SZS on Compassinges (2003)
for marimba/vibraphone and sound files
and Line C3 on Cold Pastoral (2004)
“Compassinges” for solo percussion and electronics (2003) is a single movement work arising from the imbrication of two independent pieces – a fast and highly canonic movement, and a slow, atmospheric song based on a poem by A.R. Ammons. The electronic component of the work was built from recordings of a string quartet accompaniment (performed by Michelle Satris, Lisa Liu, Nadia Sirota, and Clarice Jensen), electric guitar, and voice. The title comes from Chaucer’s description of the marginalia of gothic architecture; the word itself is an elision of two words – compass (signifying geometrical design) and singes (monkeys) – and it refers to the very secular images and ideas which commonly inhabited the fringes of sacred medieval art. This idea is reflected in the piece in a number of ways. For example, the canonic segments of the work play with the material introduced in the Ammons song in ways that are complex and at times even irreverent. For me, the title is most clearly reflected in the production of the quartet recordings themselves. I edited, mixed, and produced the quartet material as if it were a pop recording, with lots of somewhat overdone effects like compression, distortion, speaker emulation, double tracking, spatial effects, etc. I also wanted to exploit the spatial disposition of the soloist and surround-sound electronics to create a center vs. periphery conflict. “Compassinges” was written for and dedicated to Sam Solomon.
Learn more about Ryan at ryanstreber.com
Live performance, Berklee College of Music, June 2005