Light Pieces

My musical collaboration with the artist collective Elephants & Volcanoes is the inspiration for this album. I composed the music and language for the collective’s first event, The Seed of Time, in Altamura, Italy October 2015.

1 – Light Peices – Red
2 – Light Peices – Orange
3 – Light Peices – Yellow
4 – Light Peices – Green
5 – Light Peices – Blue
6 – Light Peices – Violet

Light Pieces 1 – 6

The Seed of Time is an event that took place inside a house, which had been transformed into a living work of art. The guests would arrive and be led though the house one at a time, experiencing a rift in the fabric of reality, a glimpse into the future, a possible vision of the dream world. As the journey progressed, the guests would be walking thr ough rooms filled with color, greeted and guided by the houses future residents.

My idea arose from conversations of auras, of Kirlian photography, of the energy a guest brings into a house, and the energy the house itself possesses. What do these colors mean? Is it better to be red or blue or green or a combination? Is “better” even a word one can apply when discussing color? Can it change? Does it even exist? We decided that the journey through the house would also be a journey through the color spectrum, rising in vibration/wavelength from lowest to highest, from kitchen to bedroom, from red to violet. This led to an interesting musical composition problem. How can I musically represent colors, in a scientific manner, not an emotional, subjective, “This song represents Red and everything I associate with it” sort of way?

Dary John Mizelle, my music theory professor, once shared a concept that still resonates with me. I call it the Unity of Vibration, because thats pretty much what it is - I’m not sure if he has a name for it. Everything is moving at a certain rate, a certain number of cycles per second, as you slow down cycles per second, they become beats per minute (bpm), slow these down, and we begin to measure minutes themselves, hours in the day, days in the year, years in the century, etc. As we speed up, we go from calendar time, to bpm, to Hz and kHz (cycles per second), and from there, to infrared, then visible light, then ultraviolet, and so on. I decided to put this theory into play and do some math. Adopting this logic, each color should be vibrating at its own frequency. By repeatedly dividing this frequency in half, I can slow down light until it becomes audible, and once audible, I can slow it down even more until it becomes rhythm, and eventually song form. What surprises me, is that each color has a range of notes, not just one, some have more, like Red which has 4 notes, and some less, like Yellow, which has only two. Now I had the parameters for my composition, and within these, I left myself free to be inspired and create, walking back and forth between my writing and my instrument, experimenting and having fun! What resulted are compositions that sound to me like explorations into the body of the piano, as if I am allowing myself to run and jump inside. Yes, I’m inspired by the compositions of Henry Cowell, but also in the back of my mind is Bela Bartok, whose exploration of rhythmic and melodic variations in the Microcosmos exert a large influence to my Light Pieces.

The limitations I set by restricting my composition to certain notes, in a certain tempo, was actually quite liberating. Freeing me from having to describe something, to describe an emotion or an idea, or even the color itself, for the color was alr eady defined in the concept. I ’m experimenting with timbres and techniques, pulling out sounds and ideas that otherwise would not occur.

Listening to my whole composition (Light Pieces 1-6 in a row), we come a little closer to reality, all 6 colors have their time in the sun.


The Seed of Time

 Arriving in Altamura,Italy with all six Light Pieces pre-recorded, and planning to manipulate them in my computer, creating the inter-dimensional and futuristic atmospheres for each room.

Spending two consecutive days alone in the Infection, the beautiful future house designed and built by Elephants & Volcanos architect, Giacomo Garziano. I began adjusting the music and the lights accordingly to compliment this future house tour.

The kitchen is a combination of Red and Orange (we are getting one step closer to reality, the colors are beginning to join together). The living room Yellow and Green, the upstairs bedroom Blue and Violet. As we travel through the house, we travel up the frequency spectrum,eventually arriving at the highest vibration of violet in the upstairs room. A sonic announcement welcomes as we enter, a psychic conversation is over-heard between chef Mónica Kisic and graphic designer Clovis Wieske, as residents of this future house preparing their dinner, wearing future garments designed by fashion designer Min Li. The language is an unknown, future language I constructed by combining the native languages of each member of our collective. A strange guest is discovered (the viewer) and there is an offering of food.

We are guided from kitchen to living room by dancer/choreographer Loïc Perela. Relaxing there, we see moving images on the wall, a video by Visual Artist Annika Kappner, and we are immersed in the sounds of Yellow and Green. Moving upstairs, into the vibration of Blue and Violet, there awaits a transient being of visual reflection, photographer Michael Seiber stands holding a mirror. We see ourselves, our faces merge. A revelation of the highest vibration. We leave. Back down through the spectrum, and through the door, back into our time and our world. To remember the journey, videographer Juliana Gomez is creating a short film of our inter-dimensional living experience.