Bricolage [2016]

Instrumentation: Mixed Orchestration
Reading by: Paul Burrows 

Artwork by: Julia Makówka


Program Notes

The Ambiguity of Meaning.

Music possesses a specific heighten emotional connection, from the start of the musical composition regardless of what style one seems to be drawn into the surrealistic emotional ambiguity the composer/producer/artist chooses to portray. In that scenario can we, the listener, ever fully understand the meaning behind the composition without actual words? Does any composition without words ever truly depict the concrete meaning it attempts to portray?

For example if I say “I am going to Central Park at 8AM to have my morning coffee with my friend Bob”, the sentence explains exactly what, when, where and with whom I am going to interact. Without any doubt of meaning and much understanding we are able to recognize the lack of ambiguity and confusion in the sentence presented above.

With music and it's vastness or lack thereof, the typical listener is only able to ascertain the emotional aspects of what the composer is trying to evoke and the imagery of what the composition reminds one; but it's almost impossible to guide the listener on a simple walk of understanding and clarity as that sentence above so easily does. The listener may wonder off into a path the composer didn't intend him; which I like to believe is why music is so entertaining and exciting to listen to. The journey, which one embarks on at the start of a Beethovenian symphony or reading T.S. Elliot or looking at mesmerizing 20th century paintings. One changes during the course of the journey taken regardless of what the medium is. That you may say is a great thing and it constitutes musical art or any art form as a matter of fact but what if it was possible to combine clarity of understanding and ambiguity of musical language to take the listener on a journey through musical and emotional realms with clarity of understanding of the whole composition in its entirety or at least giving them the tools which may reveal the composition to have both the surrealistic feeling and concrete meaning.

The piece that I bring in before you is my first attempt at a style that I believe has never been achieved, which combines musical, poetical and emotional clarity of understanding. The piece is titled Bricolage, which means construction or creation from a diverse range of available things. It uses many sounds we hear almost every day. But the underlying rhythm of the whole piece uses Morse Code to depict that literal meanings inclusion in a musical format is possible. Without interfering with the traditional experience of just simply listening, my composition gives concrete meaning to musical ideas for the ones who are looking for it. The ones who are not particularly interested in that sort of approach can simply disregard it and enjoy the music, which is the main reason why it was created. In case one is interested to learn what was being said in the underlying rhythm of the track, I attach the full poem and all the little reminders that I threw in there as well as a comprehensive list of sounds, instruments and landscapes which I compiled in the building process of the piece.

The piece, in its entirety, was composed in Logic Pro X using VST plug-ins for many of the orchestra sounds and synthesizer modulations. The piece contains samples of sounds which I myself recorded, those being sounds of birds, bar atmosphere, sailing ship during heavy rain, University campus, train station as well as some I did not field record, like a World War II air raid, jungle rain forest, hospital heart monitor, just to list a few. It uses Electric/Acoustic guitars, as well as symphonic strings (Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass). It uses the legendary Prophet Synthesizer, Moog, Fender Rhodes, Hammond Organ and many others. The piece uses a wide range of guitar pedals and modulation/effect transformational tools to enhance the experimental mood.