this was a piece i wrote up in the fall of 2001. i can't remember exactly what the root of it was, but it had something to do with a voice-leading assignment for what was the equivalent of a course in music theory 101. the root of the piece may consequently come from what was presented to me. i can't recall exactly - but i believe the assignment was to build the different voices up.
my negative relationship with music theory is stated throughout this page and was well established well before the end of 2001. i had an interest in the music theory course for the purposes of deconstructing the theory - in the context of writing, specifically, and not performing. i actually have one of those classic stories - i failed this course. it is actually the _only_ course i have _ever_ legitimately received an _F_ in. hey, if einstein can fail math, i can fail music theory.
the story actually revolves around sight-reading aspect of the course, and specifically it's vocal content. there were three aspects of the course (theory, vocal sight-reading and african drumming which i'm thinking was meant to be a rhythmic component but was really just a ridiculous waste of time). i really wish they would have let me sight read on a guitar, or even a piano, because i'm just simply not a talented singer; i've never had aspirations to become one, and i had a lot of problems controlling my vocals. even with that being said, the reality is that i had a very low level of _interest_ in this. i probably could have passed the course if i spent less time on abstract algebra and more time singing in the mirror, but i just couldn't be bothered...
i really disapprove of the way the course was designed. i was interested in learning about music theory, and needed the course as a pre-req for more advanced courses, which i never ended up taking. i still don't fully understand why i had to pass a singing exam to take further composition courses. the best answer i got was that the school didn't want graduates who couldn't pass a singing exam, but i was at no point enrolled in a b. music so it's a pretty weak response.
anyways, this was a voice-leading assignment that i perverted into something mildly atonal and then built up into something else. you can hear it if you listen, except that it's all "wrong". i'd have to sit down and analyze it to come to a more detailed exposition on it's "wrongness", and i'm not going to, but it's not hard to hear how "wrong" it is, either.
i was clearly listening to a lot of glass at the time, but this goes beyond his medievalism. i'm using so many "wrong" notes that it's ultimately just chromatic - although there's no tone rows or anything that's formally serialist about it. it's not meant to abolish the structure so much as it's meant to just flaunt the rules. that gives it an almost satanic feel, in the context of a vocal piece using "forbidden" intervals.
but, looking back, i think that what the piece really explores is existential anguish. i was in the second year of a math degree (after switching from physics after switching from software engineering) and really had little idea where i was going with it. i was considering switching into music and probably would have had i not failed the singing exam. the thing is i actually knew i was going to fail the course at that point, and was just feeling lost as a result of it. i ended up in math as this sort of default choice, vaguely thinking i might end up teaching somewhere but not having any real interest in it...
so much choice, so few options. i suppose that this is how i expressed what i was feeling about this reality at the time.
i can't remember the exact way this happened, but i believe the piece was initially written for voice (as a voice-leading assignment) and then expanded into further voices and then converted into a composition for nine instruments. i believe the primary reason i converted it from a vocal piece is that i ended up writing well outside a realistic vocal range, but i've kept the electronic choir parts as they are because i'm not really restricted to reality in this way. i've picked halloween as the date, but that's symbolic - it was around then, anyway. it would have been around december that it was put aside, because i don't remember working on it after i moved.
i've included the midi files of the original composition, if you'd like to mess with it on your own.
written in the fall of 2001. rendered, remastered and remixed in late september and early october, 2014. as always, please use headphones.
this is the archive for the artist formerly known as jason parent and now known as jessica
the music here has shifted dramatically over many years, from roots in punk/grunge through to experimental synth pop and into a type of kitchen sink post-rock with heavy electronics. the only consistency throughout is a lack of consistency, guitars and an impressionist aesthetic. "blender rock"....more