Sunday, September 22, 2013

Summer 2013 from The Seasons

I've just posted the latest in my series called The Seasons.  It's the seventh season.  And it's available not a moment too soon, as the Equinox just passed.  You could listen to Summer 2013.  Screw all these words.

Here's a recap of the particulars of The Seasons in case you're just joining us.  These pieces are composed in small sections, theoretically one per day.  Often I actually create one per day if my energy level and other commitments allow.  These short musical events are separated by much longer silences, about 40 seconds of silence.  It turns out that a completed season consists of about 80% pure silence.

Why so much silence?  The silence allows several seasons be played simultaneously.  Or they can be played with any other music of your choice.  It's non-serial musical combinatoriality.  More interesting too than the serial kind.   The Seasons creates an unpredictable user-modifiable listening event in which the elements combine in unplanned ways.  Some people like that sort of thing.  Me, for example.

Now that Summer 2013 is finished, I've been listening to all seven seasons at the same time.  I'm a little surprised that the effect is not as uproarious as I would have predicted when I started the project.  Well, yes, there are moments when multiple unrelated segments overlap to form a thunderous crazy-loud cacophony.  Even so, silences still happen.  I wonder how many seasons it will take before silence completely disappears.  No matter how many seasons I play simultaneously I always hear interesting combinations.

Another reason for using this mostly-silent format is to exploit what I consider one of my strengths as a composer: the ability to have lots of different ideas.  I may not be so good at integrating all those ideas into musical coherence.  You can find lots of other composers who will do that for you.  Heck, they teach how to do that in colleges everywhere.

The Seasons is evolving.  The first season, Winter 2011, had a completely unrelated bit of music for every day.  Gradually I've given each succeeding season its own musical signature - a sort of unifying principal behind the notes.  I suppose my teachers would approve of this increase in unity.

The current season Summer 2013 is based on a well-known classical warhorse for solo violin which you will likely recognize.  (Need a clue? "24th Caprice".)  The sounds are limited to three instruments: electric violin, electric cello and piano.

Ultimately, the one-per-day structure of The Seasons turns it into something like a calendar - or maybe a daily journal.  More abstractly, it is a representation of passing time - not just for the length of the piece but of three whole months.  It is also a time-lapse musical representation of what goes on in my brain.

Sometimes real-life events are celebrated.  For example, many seasons have special musical qualities for each  Monday, the day I take out the garbage.  I call this Garbage Day Periodicity.  Summer 2013 does have G.D.P. although it will be very difficult to hear.  It will be more obvious in the upcoming short version.

Short version?  Yep.  Like the previous season (Spring 2013), there will be a short version, sans silence, of Summer 2013.  Stay tuned for that.  If your time is money or you can't stand silence because your tinitus is acting up or you're otherwise just an impatient on-the-go sort of person, that may be the version more suited to you.

Click here to hear Summer 2013 by David Ocker 
© David Ocker 4229 seconds

Click here for all MM posts about The Seasons.

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