The wreck of former boundaries (2015-16) for piccolo trumpet, quartertone flugelhorn, and trombone
The wreck of former boundaries, for clarinet solo, is part of a larger conglomerate of works—each sharing the same title—that includes a range of solo works, small chamber works, works for electronics, and an extended ensemble work for two trumpet soloists, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, electric lap steel guitar, double bass, and multichannel electronics, ranging in duration from six to 35 minutes. The collection of works was commissioned by the ELISION Ensemble, with support from the RMIT Gallery Sonic Arts Collection. This trio was written for Tristram Williams, Peter Evans, and Ben Marks.
The work is closely tied to my recent fascination with curves, arcs, bubbles, and foams, and foregrounds an undercutting and liquidation of the geometric, architectural, latticed methodology that has guided most of my work to date, particularly with regard to rhythm and its notation, and to the relationship between formal design and local-level decision making.
The work is also about the ideas of ‘melody’ and ‘unison’, or, rather, it is an initial exploration of what those concepts might mean in my work. Peter Evans and I were talking in New York a year or so ago about Ornette Coleman, and in particular about the two weird, wonderful songs on the album Science Fiction, and Peter shared with me an anecdote about Coleman’s admonition to his players that they had to ‘find their own unison’. That idiosyncratic turn of phrase has seeped into many corners of this work, particularly in an approach to melody that is sometimes clearly monophonic, sometimes entangled and heterophonic, and sometimes vertical and harmonised.