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Works with improvisers

Coda estel·lar-espectral (2022)

"Coda estel·lar-espectral" was written for the concert where the piece for pipe organ and electroacoustics "L'alè dels estels" was premiered. With the same lineup, the piece was designed as a closure for the concert reprising ideas from the different pieces that were played that night. The pipe organ improvises on top of an electroacoustic track that builds on a spectral treatment of the sound of the organ.

Hrönir (2018)

Hrönir is an experiment about the coincidence of events that influence each other transcending time and consciousness. This experiment starts with the recording of an improvised solo. Then, a second improviser records a new track while listening to the first. This second improviser can choose to be influenced by the first one and relate to it in any way—dialoging, complementing, contradicting, ignoring, etc. Next, a third improviser does the same but only listening to the discourse of the second improviser and not the first one. Then a third, fourth, fifth… always using as a reference only the previous take. In this way, some musical impulses become hidden to the posterior musicians. Lastly, all improvisations are synchronized and mixed together, revealing synchronicities that were hidden to the very musicians.

“Hecho curioso: los hrönir de segundo y de tercer grado —los hrönir derivados de otro hrön, los hrönir derivados del hrön de un hrön— exageran las aberraciones del inicial; los de quinto son casi uniformes; los de noveno se confunden con los de segundo; en los de undécimo hay una pureza de líneas que los originales no tienen. El proceso es periódico: el hrön de duodécimo grado ya empieza a decaer.” - José Luís Borges: Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. 

Zipf! (2017)

Zipf! was conceived as a piece for ensemble of improvisers and soprano (written especially for Ilona Schneider and the Discordian Community Ensemble) and it was later reworked in its definitive electroacoustic form. The text consists of a list of English words arranged according to the frequency in which they are used in the language (written and spoken, according to the information of the American National Corpus). Musical phrasing is used to provide a misleading feeling that the text has some meaning. The title refers to Zipf's law, which establishes a formula that describes the distribution of the frequency of occurrence of a set of words. The electronic part is subtle, creating a dispersed fog, more discreet in the beginning and then more and more evident, which amalgamates and serves as a resonance to the different instrumental and structural sections.

Love and Tensor Algebra (2016)

“Love en Tensor Algebra” was specifically written for the Discordian Community Ensemble, an ensemble specialized in working the gap between composition and improvisation. This piece uses indetermination to arrange the material in time. The whole piece works as an abstract machine: there are some inputs—materials or gestures played by some instruments—which are processed by the other members of the ensemble. When hearing a specific material which is linked in the score with a series of possible outputs, the next player selects one of the outputs and plays it. This new material is then linked to a collection of other possible materials to be played by other musicians and so on and the choices everyone makes determine the resulting order of the materials.

This mechanic structure is in consonance with the theme of the piece, illustrated by the words of a poem found in the english version—as translated, or reworded, by Michael Kandel—of Stanisław Lem’s book “The Cyberiad”. The poem appears in the middle of a story where one of the two protagonists—two cibernetic “constructors”—build a machine capable of improvising elaborate poems. An “Electrobard”. Because of the rivalry between the two characters, the other constructor puts to test this machine asking for several elaborate poems, every time more demanding. One of this poems, improvised by the machine, speaks of love and tensor algebra, and comprises, abridged, the lyrics of this piece, as if the whole ensamble had become the machine reciting the poem.

140IBUs (2016)

140IBUs was composed specifically for Discordian Community Ensemble, to be recorded for the album Contrast/Movement (published by Discordian Records), a project that brought together five composers and eleven performers, all of them residing in Barcelona. The aim of the project (as it is always the case with DCE) was to fusion original contemporary compositions with conducted and free improvisation, a discipline in which all performers involved are proficient. The finished album includes a musical translation of a magic ritual (by El Pricto), a couple of expressionistic pieces (by Owen Kilfeather), reflections on the unmitigated thirsts of today's world (by Agustí Martínez), a de- and reconstruction of the elements of Metal music (by Pablo Carrascosa), and 140IBUs.

140IBUs was inspired by the sensations and character of three beers, all of them IPAs but very different from one another. The title of the piece is derived from the sum of each beer's International Bitterness Units and the texts used are lists of the hops for each recipe. 

The first movement, inspired by the belgian "Houblon Chouffe", is written with very little space for indetermination. The whole harmony drones around one chord that could be described as the superposition at the distance of a tritone of two major chords (Eb and A), each with their minor sixth added—like a fatter Petrushka chord— or a full whole-tone set merged with a non-coincident tritone—Eb, E, F, G, A, Bb, B, C#. This chord stretches out through the movement as a low level drone in the harmonic texture and appears with different colorations that are subsets of the main chord. Instead of a strong fundamental this chord is given a central note at the higher extreme of the register, a natural E that drones as a held note for the most part of the movement passing from one instrument to another.

Although all notes are determined, all durations are more or less free and the beginning and conclusion of each instrument's intervention are signaled by the conductor within a context of pulseless rhythm. Another form of indetermination that appears throughout the movement is the use of textures that are suggested to the performer only by a description of their density and morphology. 

The second movement is inspired by the american "Raging Bitch". It is the movement that makes the most use of indetermination and there is not any note precisely written. Instead, the whole movement consists of verbal instructions. These range from clear instructions like "glissandos with artificial harmonics, flautando" to more abstract prompts like "the fluttering of a drunk butterfly". The montage of these elements consists of four techniques: morphing between two different sonorities, development of a static texture giving structural direction to the material, disintegration into silence, and hard cut between two materials or to silence.
The third movement, inspired by thee scottish "Punk IPA", returns to the kind of writing of the first movement but with less control on the entries of each instrument. Therefore, there are less conductor cues and the musicians are given an approximate tempo (60 bpm) so that each instrument flows freely on top of the other. As for the harmony, it is based on series of altering majort thirds and major seconds.

ND44 (2015)

This is a recording of the concert that took place at "Soda Acústic" (Barcelona) on October 21st 2015 as part of the improvisation concert series "Nocturna Discordia" organized weekly by Discordian Records. This concert featured Almudena Vega at the flute, El Pricto at the clarinet, Sarah Claman at the Violin, Pau Sola at the Cello and myself processing the sound of the four instruments with Max/MSP and acting as the sound technician for the event. All the music was improvised.

The idea behind this performance came from an experiment that El Pricto and me had conducted some weeks ago in a concert in Menorca processing his clarinet and we wanted to take the idea to the extreme. The experiment consisted in removing the mouthpiece from the clarinet and inserting a microphone inside the barrel and then creating feedback and changing the tone of the feedback with fingering changes in the clarinet.
In the concert at Soda we applied the same concept to both the flute and the clarinet. The players could also reassemble the instrument at any time to play normally. In addition, the effect was extended by panning changes, which disturbed the feedback. The violin and cello were amplified with contact microphones and also processed with clipping. The result was a very harsh noise kind of sound. Additional processing consisted in bandpass filtering and creating glitches in the buffers where each signal was being temporarily stored.

Insect Politics (2014)

Insect Politics is a piece that was developed for several years. It started as a studio work with the Discordian Community Ensemble. It consisted of two long pieces, and more material which was never recorded, mostly written but leaving some room for improvisation. These pieces were recorded in a studio session of almost three hours. Later, during the editing process, another creative process begun. That process, over the years, gave rise to a completely different piece in which we can hear elements of the original instrumental works where interludes and self-contained pieces emerge because of the sound processing and assembly of the original material.

56 Huskies (2013)

“56 Huskies” was written for the project “Desierto impecable”, album recorded by Discordian Community Ensemble (and published by Discordian Records). The project is inspired in the letters that Patillas Black i.p. wrote, from icy lands, while taking care of Huskies, to Daniel Jove, who later rewrote them as poems.
This piece, like the other pieces from the same album, combines composition with improvisation and indeterminacy elements, which are integrated in the piece with a series of signs made by the conductor. The score mainly consists in melodic lines with precise notes but on a floating rhythm, since each player keeps their own beat. Also, there are some verbal instructions for textures, specially for the guitar and drums.

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