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Dapplegray (2016)

for double wind quintet & playback - 20'


Dapplegray is the second in a series of pieces drawing on field recordings made by John and Ruby Lomax in across the Southeast region in the "Southern Mosaic" series. The specific recording used in this piece is a version of the lullaby "All the Pretty Little Horses" recorded by Shirley Lomax Duggan (Alan and Ruby's daughter!) on May , near Comanche, Texas. I took this audio, processed it, reversed it, and then chopped it up in to small pieces which became repetitive grooves that slowly shift throughout the piece. The winds essentially perform a transcriptions of those reversed vocal grooves with the recording, making the electronics and wind parts completely enmeshed. The material of the piece is the lullaby, but the larger issue explored is time. One aspect of time explored is the sort of trans-historical dialogue that occurs between the sounds of one moment in and modern day.

The grain and grit of the fuzzy recording is placed against the sound of sampling and a steady, four-on-the-floor bass kick drum. Time is also explored through the two alternating types of music heard--one "timeless" and free and the other strictly "in time" and pulsing with the electronic kick drum. Another idea of time explored is the flexibility of time represented in the precise tempo modulations that occur throughout the piece. In every moment of the pulsed sections the tempo is subtlely pushing forward or laying back by the kick drum metronome, creating these huge, mostly inaudible poco a poco accel. or rit. gestures. Finally, time is explored through the shifting micro-timings in the relationship between the vocals and instruments and the metronomic, steady pulse.

Dapplegray was premired by the Imani Winds and the UofSC faculty wind quintet in 2016 on a Southern Exposure New Music concert at the University of South Carolina.

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