ADKOM (A Different Kind of Measure) (2001-present)
ADKOM is written for four percussionists playing two marimbas and equipped with special in-ear computer generated clicktracks. The piece is divided into seven short etudes, with each exploring a different aspect of musical time. The ADKOM suite was inspired in part by the famous photographic work of Eadweard James Muybridge whose system of trip-shutter high-speed photography revealed many wonderful secrets of time and motion. Just as the Muybridge photo experiments presaged the advent of Cinema, the ADKOM etudes suggest forms of musical organization not hitherto possible without the added technological component. Many composers in the last 50 years, Gerard Grisey (my former teacher) being one, attempted to organize musical time in ways similar to that of the ADKOM etudes. Only recently, has it become possible to translate computer generated time maps into performable musical scores. A computer can “perform” any rhythmic plan, but living musicians must obey the constraints of live performance. Each musician performing ADKOM is assisted with an in-ear electronic conductor that aids them in performing simple musical parts that when taken together can create elaborate non-grid based rhythmic patterns. With the aid of the electronic conductors, the individual lines grow, separate, join, depart and return in fluid ways. One way to achieve or provoke new music is to alter the performance practice or situation of performance. How would music be made in outer space, on the moon, while submerged under the sea, or on a raft in the middle of the ocean? As the basic rules for gravity, environment and viscosity change, so the music changes and adapts. ADKOM etudes model time in a flux, making a traditional musical score (based on a grid model) impossible. These etudes are a challenge not only for the performer but for the composer as well.
ADKOM was commissioned and composed for Miguel Bernat and the Drumming Ensemble. The design of the software calculus-engine was realized by computer scientist Matthew Wright who is the Music Systems Designer at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies. I have dreamt of working with such a tool for many years and Matthew has helped make this dream a reality. The piece is dedicated to Matthew Wright and Miguel Bernat.
Selected Performance History:
ADKOM (A Different Kind of Measure), Drumming Ensemble, Teatro Nacional S. Joao Porto, Portugal, June 20-22
ADKOM, The Juilliard Percussion Ensemble, Peter Jay Sharp Theater, New York City, October, 2007
ADKOM, Drumming Ensemble, EDUARDO PRADO COELHO Hall, Lisbon, Portugal, May 28-29, 2009