RUSH HOUR (1997-2017) is the culmination of my twenty years of study and exploration of the ever-evolving genre of electro-acoustic music (i.e., computer music, acousmatic, fixed media, etc.). This compilation represents the work that I am most proud of and that I think audiences will find most enjoyable. It is not, however, arranged chronologically; each track compliments the next and leads the listener towards the final climax of the title work.
From the opening track, I explore the subtly of sound and the nuance of noise. I playfully dissect the spoken word in 2 Days in the Tank, and sculpt waves of color and granulated textures in Triptych and WOOSH. Violent interjections and discursive digressions serve as counterpoints to the overarching narrative of Sans Titre V, while Tantric Dreams of a Lotus Blossom unfolds as protracted, single-minded mediation. The final piece, Rush Hour, provides an expansive aural landscape to showcase John Perrine’s incredible musicianship and sublime depth of expression.
RUSH HOUR should be listened to on a high-quality speaker system, one with a wide frequency response and broad dynamic range. It is my hope that the audience will discover new things with repeated hearings, and will cause them to broaden their concept of what constitutes music.
For listeners interested in reading a more in-depth description of my work, please visit the “Rush Hour” project page on my website: www.williampricecomposer.com.
Thank you and enjoy.
I would like to thank my wonderful wife, Robin, for her loving support, and my friends and colleagues for their creative insight and helpful editing suggestions. I would especially like to thank John Perrine, Laura Usiskin, Jeremy Grall, and James Bevelle for their infinite patience and valued expertise.
This project was funded in part by a University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) College of Arts and Humanities Dean's Faculty Development Grant and by the UAB Department of Music, Birmingham, Alabama.
Trope No. 3. Brushstroke: A Gradient Collapse
Brushstroke: A Gradient Collapse was inspired by Gerhard Richter’s series of paintings entitled Stroke (Strich). Trope No. 3 suggests the initial contact of a single brushstroke against a given surface and how the paint quickly changes in color and texture over time. The piece was composed and assembled in the composer’s home studio in Birmingham, Alabama in 2015.
Triptych: Three Studies in Gesture and Noise
Inspired by the abstract paintings of Richter and Bacon, Triptych: Three Studies in Gesture and Noise is a two-channel electroacoustic composition that explores and develops artifacts found in the space between recorded sounds. It is a three-part, cyclical assemblage based primarily on noise, musical remnants, and studio debris.
Each part focuses on two to three main gestures: Part I uses as its source material sounds usually associated with the pre-concert ritual (warming-up, tuning, moving stands, and the scrape of a piano bench sliding across a stage floor); Part II unfolds slowly and juxtaposes long, high pitched granular threads with low pitched glissandi, all of which were extracted from the previous bench scrape; and Part III focuses on sculpted noise, sweeping gestures, and extreme changes in timbre and texture. Triptych was composed and assembled in the composer’s home studio in Birmingham, Alabama in 2015, and was first released by Ablaze Records on Electronic Masters, Vol. 4 (2016).
2 Days in the Tank
2 Days in the Tank was created using the audio synthesis program Csound. All of the sounds on the piece were derived from the manipulation of the title of Charles Bukowski’s poem, The Drunk Tank Judge (1974). 2 Days was composed in the Louisiana State University Music & Art Digital Studios (MAD Studios) in 1999.
A Crime of Passion
A Crime of Passion reflects the composer’s interpretation of James Joyce’s poem Alone (1927). This brief work emphasizes three main ideas: the guitar glissando, a granulated text stream, and the phrase “Sex is violent.” It was composed in the LSU MAD Studios in 1999, and first released by New Tertian Recordings on the album Tweak (2007).
The moon's greygolden meshes make
All night a veil,
The shorelamps in the sleeping lake
Laburnum tendrils trail.
The sly reeds whisper to the night
A name - her name -
And all my soul is a delight,
A swoon of shame.
~ James Joyce
Spline focuses on the interruption of the primary narrative through the continuous juxtaposition and/or superimposition of disparate sound media as the primary determinant of their musical forms. The piece was created in the composer’s home studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2001, and first released as “Three Short Pieces for Tape: Spline” on Sonic Circuits X (Innova Records, 2004).
Trope No. 1. Surface Tension and Trope No. 2. Saturation Point
Surface Tension and Saturation Point were both selected as semi-finalists in the Art! X Climate 2014/2015 International Sound Art Competition organized by The Center for Experimentation and Research in Electronic Arts at the The National University of Tres de Febrero in Buenos Aires, Argentina (CEIArtE-UNTREF), and the Red Cross Climate Centre. Surface Tension was selected as one of seven finalists and has been presented at music festivals and conferences in Argentina, Colombia, and the United States. Both works were composed and assembled in the composer’s home studio in Birmingham, Alabama in 2014. Trope No. 2: Saturation Point was first released by Mute Sound Records as “Saturation Point” on 1 Minute Autohypnosis…29th CD (2015).
Sans Titre V
The fifth installment in a series of works for solo instrument, Sans Titre V for amplified cello was written in 2006 and commissioned by Craig Hultgren. The work explores contrasts in musical distance and aural proximity. The use of amplification and sonic effects, such as reverb and delay, are used to reduce the distance between the audience and the performer, and provide an alternate sonic environment (i.e., a space within a space). Musical distance is achieved through the use of tonal and non-tonal materials within a modified strophic-variation form. Throughout the piece, two main musical ideas are explored and developed, the brief, but unrelenting interruption and the longer, discursive musical interjection.
Sans Titre V was recorded in July and September 2016 by the composer and James Bevelle at the UAB Recording Studios. It is published by Conners Publications.
Tantric Dreams of Lotus Blossom
Tantric Dreams of Lotus Blossom was created using Kyma. The general aesthetic of this nine-minute composition is one of narrative meditation. Almglocken bells, granular guitar streams, and Tuva drums were used to create a quiet, but reflective atmosphere. The piece was composed in the LSU MAD Studios in 2000.
Inspired formally by the elliptical orbits associated with long-period comets, WOOSH is divided into two parts: Part One explores abrupt, visceral changes in gestural noise, dynamics, and stereo spatialization, while Part Two focuses on timbral counterpoint and the superimposition of thick, slow-moving, granulated textures. Both parts use a single six-note musical phrase as their source material. Originally performed on a toy saxophone by the composer and recorded using ProTools, the six-note phrase was retuned, and then granulated and re-recorded using MacPod granular synthesis software. By varying the size of the grains, the shape of the grain envelope, and the rate and direction at which the sound file is read in real time, the resulting textures were layered in such a way so that each sustained note would sound as if it emitted its own interior, yet erratic rhythmic dialogue. Analogous to the use of a notated grand pause, the ten seconds of silence that separates Parts One and Two is used to provide formal momentum through timbral contrast and dramatic expectation. WOOSH was composed and edited in the composer’s home studio in Birmingham, Alabama in 2012, and first released by Ablaze Records on Electronic Masters, Vol. 2 (2013).
Part 1. A Short Commute
Part 2. Blindspot
Part 3. Gridlock
Originally composed in 1999, Rush Hour is a semi-dramatic, quasi-improvisatory work that was inspired by the idea of the practicing performer and his or her desire for improvisatory perfection. The scenario: An aspiring musician arrives home from a hard day at the (fill-in-the-blank). As the performer settles into his or her practice routine, the sound of traffic becomes ethereal and is eventually incorporated into the music that he or she is practicing. Fantasy becomes a motive to develop. Distorted traffic sounds, radio signals, jazz fragments, and the saxophonist's own sounds become an enriched tapestry of memories, impressions, and influences.
Rush Hour was originally composed and recorded by the composer at the Louisiana State University MAD Studios in the fall of 1999. John Perrine, for whom the work was written for and dedicated to, was used as the model for the sampling procedures. All of the saxophone sounds on the sound file were derived from recordings of his performances of improvisatory excerpts provided by the composer, which were then extracted and manipulated using various computer programs. The written tenor saxophone part was recorded in March and October 2016 by the composer and engineer James Bevelle at the UAB Recording Studios in Birmingham, Alabama.
John Perrine is Associate Professor, Coordinator of Jazz Studies and Department Chair at Cleveland State University in Ohio. He has premiered works by Kari Juusela, Aaron Johnson, William Price, Greg D'Allesio, and others. Perrine holds a D.M.A. in Saxophone Performance from Louisiana State University, a M.M. in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University, and a B.M. in Music Education from Stetson University. His teachers include James Bishop, Fred Hemke, Jonathon Helton, and Griffin Campbell. He has studied jazz with Harold Blanchard, Don Owens, Tony Garcia, and Michael Koucour. Perrine performed the William Bolcom Concert Suite with the Volga Band in Saratov, Russia, and also gave master classes at the Saratov Conservatory, the Rostov On-Don Conservatory, and the Moscow State University for Culture and Arts. In addition to his work abroad, Perrine enjoys giving live broadcast recitals with faculty members at CSU on WCLV in Cleveland. He is a founding member of the Red Stick Saxophone Quartet and the Neo-Tessares Saxophone Quartet. The Red Stick Saxophone Quartet won national prizes in both the Music Teachers National Association and Fischoff chamber music competitions, and premiered Perrine’s composition Vonnegut: Suite for Saxophone Quartet at the North American Saxophone Alliance International Convention in Columbia, South Carolina. He has also recently premiered pieces at the World Saxophone Congress at St. Andrews, Scotland. His CD, Dance of the Pampanzi, can be purchased on iTunes and CD Baby. Perrine is a Conn-Selmer Artist/Clinician and a D'Addario Artist/Clinician. For more information, please visit his website: http://www.johnperrine.com.
Cellist Laura Usiskin has performed throughout North America and Europe in such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Palazzo Chigi Saracini, Weill Hall, Barge Music, and many others. Notable performances include the complete J.S. Bach solo suites in Los Angeles and Connecticut and concertos of Dvoràk and Takemitsu with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. With a penchant for music both old and new, she performed on Baroque cello with the Yale Baroque Ensemble and has premiered dozens of works as well as commissioned works in her name. Usiskin has held orchestral positions with the New Haven Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and currently serves as Principal Cello of Orchestra Iowa. She also performs regularly as a founding member of the New York-based Arté Trio. In 2011, Usiskin founded the Montgomery Music Project, an El Sistema strings program for students in Montgomery, Alabama. The program has given intensive string instruction to hundreds of low-income children across three counties. Usiskin resides in Birmingham, Alabama, where she is Adjunct Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Birmingham-Southern College. Through UAB, she founded the series “Chamber Music @ AEIVA,” which presents free concerts connecting music with visual art. Usiskin graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University, Master of Music from The Juilliard School, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the Yale School of Music, where she was awarded the Aldo Parisot Prize. For more information, please visit: http://www.laurausiskin.com.
Executive Producer: Douglas Knehans
Producer: William Price
Chief Engineer: James Bevelle, UAB Recording Studios, Birmingham, AL, USA
Mastering Engineer: Silas Brown, Legacy Mastering, Westchester, NY, USA
Design and Layout: Josephine McLachlan
Design Concept: William Price
Artwork: [insert name]
Liner Notes: William Price; edited by Jeremy Grall
Website Notes: William Price
Sans Titre V was commissioned and premiered by Craig Hultgren in 2006, and published by Conners Publications, Natchitoches, LA, USA.
All music published by IROM Music Publishing, except for Sans Titre V.
All Rights Reserved.