Plasmosis (Opium & Absinthe mvt. IV) - live

from Live at Old First Church, October 6, 2006 by Edmund Welles: the bass clarinet quartet

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Composed by Cornelius Boots in 2004.
Demo version featured on Unreleased Masterworks.

Opium & Absinthe

This piece can be described as a minimalist trance piece written with the intention of engendering an inner state of calm, mystery and extreme openness and expansion. The sonority and sustain of the bass clarinet quartet are ideal in evoking these expanded qualities, in addition to using breath to create all of the sounds. The textural and mood possibilities of the bass clarinet quartet inspired me to compose a piece that would guide the listener towards a certain state of mind or being; a deepened mood that would change one’s perception of time and space.

This state is near to the ‘theta wave’ state obtained effortlessly within a sensory deprivation floatation tank, so my floatation experiences continue to influence compositions of this type. Historically, there is a strong tendency to strive toward these states through the use of substances. I categorize the substances of opium and absinthe as lying within a middle ground between powerful shamanic medicines, which are capable of establishing a greater connection to the source from which modern ‘mental-rational’ man is cut off, and the current substances ranging from crack to Prozac to whiskey which serve more as weights tied to the feet of modern man as he drowns in a sea of unconscious disconnectedness.

There is a romanticism surrounding the use of opium as a conduit to psychic powers and lucid dreams, a relaxer and a revealer, and the use of absinthe as activating dream-like surges of creative inspiration. The end of the Romantic Era and the dawn of the post-Industrial age marks the same era in which these substances peaked and then morphed into modern versions of themselves which offer increasingly less of the magical connection that modern-man still desires and yet continues to defile, neglect, oppress and ignore. Our time of perceived separation from all things and each other is coming to a close: we will continue to derive new ways with which to re-establish our connectedness, attune ourselves to the fact that we have always been vibrations, and effortlessly exist as ‘integral’man, a new way of being which draws from archaic, magical, mythical and mental-rational archetypes.

No one can say exactly how this will happen and what this existence will be like; however, sound has always played a major role in connecting humans to the other elements of existence and perhaps it will have its own central role to play as music, manipulated air vibrations and pulsations, may reconnect old conduits, and open new pathways for us.

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from Live at Old First Church, October 6, 2006, released July 24, 2017

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Edmund Welles: the bass clarinet quartet Oakland, 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

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