William Winant, percussion; the William Winant Percussion Group; Chris Brown, piano and electronics
Chris Brown’s (b. 1953) music has evolved within the intersections of many different traditions and styles. Following early training as a classical pianist, he was influenced by studies of Indonesian, Indian, Afro-American, and Cuban musics, and then took off on branches provided by the American Experimentalists in inventing and building a personal electronic instrumentation. Collaboration and improvisation have been primary in the development of his music for various traditional instruments and interactive electronics. An “iconicity” is the analogy between the form of a sign and its meaning. All three of these pieces are through-composed using simple processes applied to both the sounds of the instruments and their real-time electronic transformations. The players must synchronize exactly with the rhythms produced by these transformations, and together the acoustic and electronic layers of sound create closely interwoven textures that evolve gradually into more complex forms. The acoustic sounds and the patterned variations of their recurrence affect the listener’s experience of time, and provide a metaphor for its transcendence.
Stupas (2007): A stupa is a Southeast Asian monumental architectural form, which in Buddhism is also viewed as a symbol of enlightened mind and a path to its realization. The form of a stupa, a square base with circular domes rising above it, is used to structure this piece. Gangsa (2010): Gangsa are bronze flat-gongs from the mountainous regions of the northern Philippines played in ensembles in which each player plays one gong of a different pitch. Subtitled Invention #8, this piece is one of a series that focuses on polyrhythmic interaction of performers with electronics. Iceberg (1985): The electronic sounds are all live transformations of the percussion, and the performer plays in time with the automated switching of effects, starting simply, and then playing more complex and syncopated patterns against it.