American Evolution Program Notes
The Star Spangled Banner
Major Bill & Captain Scott Ride Again
During the bloody battle of Shiloh in America’s Civil War, two Union Cavalry officers and their horses vanished into a space–time continuum and were spit out through a worm hole into the unforgiving desert of southern Arizona in the 1960’s. Here they were doomed to spend eternity as bounty hunters and tour guides. This music depicts Major Bill & Captain Scott riding through the desert in search of two kidnap victims. In this piece the drums and bass represent the horses, the guitar and bari sax represent Bill and Scott, and the accordion and Farfisa Organ are the harsh desert surroundings. A full gallop by the horses is felt in the 4/4 section, and the slower trot is felt in the 2/4 tempo. The two strange computer music passages represent chance encounters with rattlesnakes and Chupacabre.
Our New Founding Fathers
This piece was written for solo percussion with audio track. The original idea comes from the opening announcement in the movie “The Purge”. After a subtle synth movement the percussion comes in to simulate the type of chaos that would ensue if this took place. Faster passages with different polyrhythmic elements add to the chaotic feeling of the beginning section. Once this section comes to an end, the audio track returns with the first of the characters being hunted as The Purge begins. This pattern continues throughout the piece. As the track becomes more aggressive so does the percussion part. The playback track shows short snippets of four random characters experience through the purge. The finally moments close out with a section of the song God Bless America. This symbolizes the New Founding Fathers new vision for the country.
But for a Glorious Moment, He Was On Top of the World
This piece tells the story of a revolution from the perspective of a power hungry tyrant. The “leader” makes an awful decree to the citizens and imagines their response to be in perfect harmony with his idea; however, he did not have his own people in mind when he made his decision, and they decide to fight back to have their rights restored.
Knowledge That Will Change Your World
I wrote this song in observation of the events taking place at UAB over the past several months regarding the discontinuation of the football, rifle, and bowling teams. The performance will include singing over an instrumental mix as well as sections of video after each verse. Special thanks to David Love for his assistance and advice with filming.
The instrumentation for the multi-percussion setup was vital to the sounds I wanted. The two different bass drums used help fill the low side and impact. These come through by utilizing a standard kick drum and large concert bass drum. Next to help give a more dissonant sound is the two toms. By tuning the lugs offset from being exactly the same helps achieve this tone. Following the toms the piccolo snare drum gives out the high range and can cut through all of the low-end sounds that are emitted by the toms and bass drums. Along with the piccolo snare, a break drum is used to add an extra bite as one of the more high pitch metal instruments. Lastly, the cymbals choices are critical to help give all the accents that extra punch needed. The crash is just a standard and the china helps give it a trashier sound.
A Fistful of Synths
The first section of this piece is largely inspired by Ennio Morricone’s scores for the films in Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name Trilogy. These films are regarded as three of the best westerns of all time, and their memorable scores created an iconically “western” sound that composers have emulated for decades since their original theatrical releases. The first section of the piece utilizes a live band and triggered sound effects to pay homage to Morricone’s archetypal style. The second portion of the piece adds an electronic element to the mix, and is inspired by the unique musical style known as “frontier trip-hop” present in the video game Bastion. The video accompanying the music features several of the most significant scenes from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, the last film in the Man with No Name Trilogy.
No Hay Banda
I. The Face of God
II. My Mind is Going
No Hay Banda is a two-part piece that chronicles the technological reliance and electronic elements in the evolution of popular music. Clocking in at 15 minutes, the piece is quite dense at times, spanning several different musical styles.
Part 1: The Face of God, evokes musical characteristics of the early/mid 1970's, when synthesizers found their niche in popular music. The pacing during Part 1 is slow, taking its time, not in a hurried pace to reach a catchy hook. The classic analog synthesizers are interspersed with more traditional electric and acoustic rock instruments to really hammer in the aesthetics of this period of music, as well as to capture the feelings of discovery, wonder, and inspiration that were prevalent in much of the music at the time.
Toward the end of Part 1, the music becomes more dissonant, eventually "crashing" as a sound-clip from the first televised broadcast of MTV plays, signifying a great change in the popular music industry.
Part 2: My Mind is Going, evokes musical characteristics of the 1980's, when synthesizers developed a more prevalent role in the fabric of songs. The beginning of Part 2 is intended to be painfully generic synth pop, with the chorus hook repeating way too many times. The electric guitar is heard briefly for a solo, but is promptly "interrupted" by the returning hook.
The second part of Pt. 2 features more modern-day EDM synths, with a driving, pulsating beat, and the obligatory "drop" heard in much dubstep nowadays. Guitars are utilized briefly in this part, however they, like the rest of the instruments, are heavily-compressed and mechanical. The piece concludes, revealing that things are not always as they appear...
I Said What You Heard
Exactly everything you heard, and nothing you didn't... Right?
Soldier’s Requiem is a blend of electronic/synthesized music mixed with elements of ethereal/hard rock influence. The song is a musical journey through different moments of a soldier’s life at war leading up until the end..(This also refers to the challenges every college student faces leading up to graduation.) Soldier’s Requiem is most closely associated with ternary form, however, slightly modified. The entire piece is basically a build into the final movement (guitar solo) that musically signifies the expression of “going out with a bang”. I mean, this is my last CME performance ever. I might as well end it with a whaling guitar solo right?
Hail to the Chief
This piece is an aggressive rock song featuring quotes from the American band tune “Hail to the Chief.” The quotes are presented not only musically, but also lyrically, as certain lyrics from the original piece are included. This song is written for performance by all of the members of the Computer Music Ensemble and features solos by most of the members of the ensemble.