Video Performance Feature:

"neither Anvil nor Pulley" by Dan Trueman
     Performed by So Percussion
     Hardanger fiddle: Dan Trueman

Videography by Stephen Taylor



Product Selection for this Piece:

Signature Vibraphone - Terry Gibbs
Medium hard vibe or marimba. Rattan handles.
L = 15 1/4"
  [enlarge photo]
Signature Vibraphone - Terry Gibbs
Medium vibe or marimba. Rattan handles.
L = 15 1/4"
  [enlarge photo]
Orchestral Series Keyboard
Medium poly with an added brass weight creates a warm‚ dark sound on bells and xylophone.
Head = 1 1/8" | L = 14 1/4"
  [enlarge photo]
American Classic® 5A
Tear drop tip for rich cymbal sounds. Light and fast for jazz orchestral and pit work.
L = 16" | Dia. = .565"
  [enlarge photo]
Jazz Brush
A retractable wire brush with an infinitely adjustable brush spread capable of maintaining any playing position. A 5" spread and extra heavy gauge wire provide maximum coverage and sound.
Dia. = .575" | Spread = 5"
  [enlarge photo]
T5
Very hard. A special effects mallet.
Head = 1 1/4" | L = 14 1/2"
  [enlarge photo]

 


About the piece:

neither Anvil nor Pulley
for laptop/percussion quartet (with turntable) commissioned by So Percussion

“The dazzling results mixed George Crumb’s knack for unearthly timbres, Alvin Lucier’s infini- tesimally fine gradations of tone, and the fierce creative audacity of Jimi Hendrix.”
— New York Times, March 27, 2010

Unlike the anvil or the pulley, the computer hides its purpose—to strike or yank will only break. What is this “tool” we call a computer? It is surely not really about computation, and what does it offer us as musical beings? neither Anvil nor Pulley is, in short, a wordless mu- sical epic that explores the “man”/machine relationship in the digital age. Are there musical places we can travel to or musical buildings we can construct with this tool that were impos- sible—even for us to imagine—with its predecessors?

The cast: a turntable spinning vinyl with the fuzzy, crackling remains of some old sounding fiddle tunes; virtual metronomes, clicking relentlessly, but reset by striking raw chunks of wood; re-purposed golf video game controllers (joysticks with pull-strings, or “tethers”); a huge bass drum with speaker drivers attached, performed with hand-held microphones, the resul- tant feedback tuned via digital filters to the key notes of a well-known Bach Prelude; diffi- cult drum machines; four virtuoso and highly imaginative percussionists.

We begin with the crackle and fuzz of a needle dropping on vinyl...in five acts, of varying lengths and natures:

Act 1: Another Wallflower [from Long Ago]
Act 2: 120bpm [or, What is your Metronome Thinking?]
Act 3: A Cow Call [Please oh Please Come Home!]
Act 4: Feedback [in Which a Famous Bach Prelude Becomes Ill-Tempered]
Act 5: Hang Dog Springar [a Slow Dance]

Composing for (I really should say "with") So Percussion is an incredible pleasure. Their collaborative and adventurous spirits (not to mention their sheer musical abilities) are awesome. In the past, I’ve had the privilege of actually performing my own music with them; I don’t join them here on neither Anvil nor Pulley, but a doppelganger of sorts, in the form of a turntable, sits in.

— Dan Trueman

 

 

neither Anvil nor Pulley is a digital-only release,
and is also available in several custom-designed packages (all with nAnP download card) exclusively from Cantaloupe Music:

Repurposed LP

Customized Speaker Driver

Tether Controller

For a deeper look at the making of nAnP,
download the FREE digital booklet here.

 
Josh Quillen explains each packaging option:
 
Record Artwork (Repurposed LP): Customized Speaker Driver:
   
Tether Controller
   


About the composer:

Dan Trueman is an American composer, fiddler, and electronic musician. He began studying violin at the age of 4, and decades later, after a chance encounter, fell in love with the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, an instrument and tradition that has deeply affected all of his work, whether as a fiddler, a composer, or musical explorer. With the Hardanger fiddle, and his new 5-string Hardanger-inspired "5x5 fiddle," Dan has performed his music with many groups and musicians, including Trollstilt and QQQ, the American Composers Orchestra, So Percussion, the Brentano and Daedelus string quartets, the Crash Ensemble, many wonderful fiddlers, and others, and has performed across America, Ireland, and Norway. But his explorations of musical instruments have extended beyond the fiddle into new technologies; Dan is the co-founder and Director of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, the first ensemble of its size and kind that has led to the formation of similarly inspired ensembles across the world, from Oslo to Dublin, to Stanford and Bangkok. Dan's compositional work reflects this complex and broad range of activities, exploring rhythmic connections between traditional dance music and machines, for instance, or engaging with the unusual phrasing, tuning and ornamentation of the traditional Norwegian music while trying to discover new music that is singularly inspired by, and only possible with, new digital instruments that he designs and constructs. Dan's work has been recognized by grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, among others, and he is Professor of Music at Princeton University. His music is published by Good Child Music.

Keep up with Dan's latest projects at: http://manyarrowsmusic.com

 

About the performers:

So Percussion

So is: Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting

For over a decade, So Percussion has redefined the modern percussion ensemble as a flexible, omnivorous entity, pushing its voice to the forefront of American musical culture. Praised by the New Yorker for their “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” So’s adventurous spirit is written into the DNA passed down from composers like John Cage and Steve Reich, as well as from pioneering ensembles like the Kronos Quartet and Nexus Percussion. So Percussion’s career now encompasses 13 albums, touring throughout the USA and around the world, a dizzying array of collaborative projects, several ambitious educational programs, and a steady output of their own music.

When the founding members of So Percussion convened as graduate students at the Yale School of Music, their initial goal was to present an exciting repertoire of pieces by 20th century luminaries such as Cage, Reich, and Iannis Xenakis. An encounter with David Lang, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and co-founder of New York’s Bang on a Can organization, yielded their first commissioned piece: the 36 minute, three movement the so-called laws of nature. Since that first major new work, So has commissioned some of the greatest American composers of our time to build a new repertoire, including Steve Reich, Steve Mackey, Paul Lansky, Martin Bresnick, and many others.

Over time, an appetite for boundless creativity lead the group to branch out beyond the composer/interpreter paradigm. Since 2006 with group member Jason Treuting’s amid the noise, the members of So Percussion have been composing in their own right within the group and for others. In 2012 their third evening-length work Where (we) Live premieres at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, travelling to the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 30th Next Wave Festival and the Myrna Loy Center in Helena, MT. Where (we) Live follows on the heels of 2009’s Imaginary City, a fully staged sonic meditation on urban soundscapes. In 2011, So was commissioned by Shen Wei Dance Arts to compose Undivided Divided, a 30-minute work conceived for Manhattan’s massive Park Avenue Armory.

So Percussion’s artistic circle extends beyond their contemporary classical roots. They first expanded this boundary with the prolific duo Matmos, whom The New York Times called “ideal collaborators” on their 2010 combined album Treasure State. Further projects and appearances with Wham City shaman Dan Deacon, legendary drummer Bobby Previte, jam band kings Medeski, Martin, and Wood, and Wilco’s Glenn Kotche drew the circle even wider. In 2011, the rock band The National invited So to open one of their sold-out shows at New York’s Beacon Theater.

So’s recording of the so-called laws of nature became the cornerstone of their self-titled debut album on Cantaloupe Music (the record label from the founders of Bang on a Can) in 2004. In subsequent years, this relationship blossomed into a growing catalogue of exciting records. In 2011, So released six new albums, ranging from their definitive recording of Steve Reich’s Mallet Quartet – composed for them in 2009 - on Nonesuch Records, to Steve Mackey’s epic quartet It Is Time on Cantaloupe, to their collaborative album Bad Mango with jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas on Greenleaf Music. The BBC raved of So’s performance of Mallet Quartet that they “have it nailed, finding both the inner glow and the outer edge, and never letting the tapestry lapse into the flat or routine.”

So Percussion is heavily involved in mentoring young musicians. Its members are Co-Directors of a new percussion department at the Bard College-Conservatory of Music. This top-flight undergraduate program enrolls each student in a double-degree (Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts) course in the Conservatory and Bard College, equipping them with elite conservatory training and a broad liberal arts education. In 2009, they created the annual So Percussion Summer Institute on the campus of Princeton University. The Institute is an intensive two-week chamber music seminar for college-age percussionists featuring the four members of So as faculty in rehearsal, performance, and discussion of contemporary music for students from around the world. During the 2011-2012 academic year, So was an ensemble-in-residence at Princeton University, teaching seminars and collaborating extensively with talented student composers.

So has been featured at many of the major venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Stanford Lively Arts, Texas Performing Arts, and many others. In addition, a recent residency at London’s Barbican Centre, as well as tours to Western Europe, South America, Russia, and Australia have brought them international acclaim.

So would like to thank Pearl/Adams Instruments, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks, Remo drumheads, Black Swamp Accessories, and Estey organs for their sponsorship.

 

Visit So Percussion online: http://www.sopercussion.com

 



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