The premiere of Sparkling in the Dark is next week, and I’m busy touching up the electronics. Those of you who were reading my blog early this past July know that Sparkling in the Dark is my first foray into electronic music in thirty years. Now two performances are looming, on November 3rd and 8th, and I’m finding myself in exhilaratingly unfamiliar territory, as if I were about to walk into my first orchestra rehearsal. Knowing, as I do, what a minefield a first orchestra rehearsal can be, I’m stepping gingerly, wondering where fatal missteps might be grinning in anticipation.
Here’s the big question mark as I head down the home stretch: the two performances are going to take place in two very different spaces – the premiere will be in a bar, and the second performance will be in a concert hall. The acoustic of the first space is rather dry, and the second one is pretty generous. I’ve considered making two different versions of the electronics to compensate for the difference, but I don’t trust my instincts (why should I when I haven’t done this before?), and I won’t have enough time in the bar before the performance to make any changes.
Another fun thing: I’m deaf in my left ear, so I don’t experience sound in three dimensions. For the entire history of music up until a few years ago, it would have been easy for me to have a composition career without ever thinking about sound location, but current technology makes dimensionality something one chooses to either face or ignore. I’m choosing to face it (with my face turned to one side, of course), and I’m giving the music a 3-D profile. In order to do this, I have to use my imagination — which I enjoy using — and the knowledge I have from years of research into this alien topic.
So I tweak, and I fidget, and I make fussy little adjustments. Remarkably, I think it is turning out rather well. More as the dates approach.
Meanwhile, in case you hadn’t heard, ACME is playing the Sequenza21 concert tomorrow night at Joe’s Pub in New York. I didn’t submit anything for it, because I was on a previous S21 concert and it seemed appropriate and collegial to let others have a turn. I can’t be there, but you should go if you can: lots of good stuff on tap. Tell ‘em I sent you.