Starting off with the basics of Our Reality, it’s difficult to get more basic than Cause & Effect. In essence, it is all we know: the rest---matter, energy, thoughts, time---are all just details within Cause & Effect. Agrippa does in fact place this idea at the very front of his Three Books: “…the Maker of all things, and First Cause, from whence all things are…the elements are upon another account opposite one to the other . . .” (Book I, Chapter I)
All opposites can be traced back to this one because we are very firmly rooted within our context (or pretext) of linear time. Certainly we think of Up & Down as opposites, but we can only think of them separately, in sequence, not simultaneously. “The belief that time is a linear, directed sequence running from A to B is a modern illusion. In fact, it can also go from B to A, the effect producing the cause…” (Eco, p. 207)
The fact is, inasmuch as opposites exist, they certainly must exist together; then Time ceases to be a factor in existence at all. “A typical scientific explanation, in which the cause is mistaken for the effect, or vice versa. You must not think linearly. Nature doesn’t; nature knows nothing of time. Time is an invention of the West.” (Eco, p. 338-9)
Far from dispensing with time, this movement emphasizes it by causing the pulse to be central to the rhythmic counterpoint and cyclic nature of these intertwining lines. Layering, interlocking parts were built around a sketch made from some music overheard from someone’s headphones on the train in Oakland; I thought it was hip-hop since the listener was kind of rapping along, but I could clearly hear the electronic drum beat which had a very mathematical and infectious increase of subdivisions every two measures.
The concept of karma adds new dimensions to our impression of cause & effect, so it occurred to me to borrow something from the Radiohead tune “Karma Police”. In the spirit of contrafacts and motet composition based on pre-existing melodies, I remolded the bass line of “Karma Police” into new meters and made this line into the highest part of an upper register four-voice chorale. These harmonies mostly, but not always, cater to the implied inevitability of tonal harmony.
This movement functions to introduce the elements, roles, sounds and capabilities of the four bass clarinets. All parts concurrently oppose and complement, and the pairing voices in opposite registers figures largely in the final measures.
Edmund Welles: the bass clarinet quartetOakland, California
Edmund Welles has the distinction of being the world’s only original, composing band of four bass clarinetist: they invent
and perform heavy chamber music. Drawing virtuosic precision from the classical realm; innovation and texture from jazz; and power, rhythm and overall perspective from rock and metal, the quartet’s sound is characterized by a thickness of tone and absolute rhythmic prowess....more