I started to brainstorm about what i wanted to do with the Liminal Space commission a couple of days ago, and today when i was thinking about it, I came up with two starting points for the development of the material.
The first is a trick that i remember learning from my undergraduate professor Rob Maggio – there’s an old piece of his called Barcarole (seven mad gods who rule the sea) whose compositional structure takes the musical material of Mendelssohn’s Song Without Words and deconstructs it. The deconstructed material slowly develops over time and leads to a climax that resolves itself with the original Song Without Words as the epilogue. It’s a beautiful piece and uses this concept that I consider a sort of “backward development” that I’ve used in a few pieces since, and i think that’s going to be the basis for the piece i write for Liminal Space.
The second is to play with a delay pedal or multiple delay pedals as BPM producers. In my head i have this idea of creating a delay loop with notes and chords with the electric guitar that the marimba player then hockets in a manner not unlike balinese gamelan. The potential problem with this is: how does it develop? The use of the delay in that sense will be strong enough as a central part of the piece that even if i decide to make the piece fairly minimalist, i feel like that aspect of it needs to evolve through teh piece and help drive its direction, and i don’t know how to do that yet without it stagnating.
But that isn’t a new struggle; it’s conceivable that as i start to write the piece, the development of the ideas will take a life of its own and lead me to where it needs to go. The first step is to come up with the closing material – whether it’s my own material or a quote – and then see how and in what way i can deconstruct it.