Jacob David Sudol(b. Des Moines, Iowa 1980) writes intimate compositions that explore enigmatic phenomena and the inner nature of how we perceive sound. He recently finished his M.Mus. at McGill University and currently resides in La Jolla, CA where he is working towards a Ph.D. in composition at the University of California at San Diego with Roger Reynolds, Chinary Ung, Philippe Manoury, and Rand Steiger.
Over the last five years some of Jacob's mentors in composition have included John Rea, Denys Bouliane, Philippe Leroux, Sean Ferguson, Dan Asia, and Craig Walsh. He has also participated in master classes with Danish composer Bent Sørensen and German composer Manfred Stahnke.
During 2005-2006, Jacob was the first-ever composer-in-residence for the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble under the direction of Denys Bouliane, in collaboration with the McGill Digital Composition Studio. He has also written music for the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Contemporary Keyboard Society, percussionist Fernando Rocha, saxophonist Elizabeth Bunt, and clarinetist Krista Martynes. As an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, he composed the music for a collaborative dance project with choreographer Hillary Peterson, and he was the principal composer and pianist for El Proyecto de Santa Barbara, a chamber Latin jazz ensemble.
During the 2005 and 2007 Montréal/Nouvelles Musiques and 2006 MusiMars festivals Jacob was an electronic assistant for performances with Court-Circuit, Matt Haimovitz, Sara Laimon, Martin Matalon, Moritz Eggert, Manfred Stahnke, the Caput Ensemble, and the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble. These concerts were broadcast by the CBC and the European Broadcasting Union in over fifty countries throughout the world. He is currently a studio research assistant for Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Roger Reynolds.
During his free time Jacob takes an active interest in religious phenomenology, cinema, acoustics, literature, poetry, and visual art. As a composer and performer, he always attempts to bring insights from these other fields into his work.
All music posted on this blog is posted out of love and the idea that for the truly great music of our time(s) to be known it must first and foremost be heard. If you like what you hear please support the artist by buying the recordings, scores, and/or encouraging the performances of the music in every way possible.
If you are the composer, performer, performing organization, artist or directly represent the composer, performer, performing organization, or artist of anything posted on this website and would like your material removed please contact me and I will happily oblige.
Sound is a physical phenomenon. It emanates from its source(s), travels through the air, bounces off of some objects, and resonates in others such as our bodies.
For all we may theorize about sound’s constructions, organizations, and its other abstract non-physical properties it is my belief that this physicality is the primary source of music’s power. The visual arts and letters can directly appeal to our strongest sense – sight – but the physicality of sound that literally touches and caresses our bodies and minds is what engenders music with its unique and undeniable emotive strength. This is why often I like to refer to music as the most sensual of all art forms.
Sound and music take on a different character when their physical presence is increased. When sound waves are allowed to really build up on themselves they take on a pure phenomenological force that is both enigmatic and impossible to deny.
In this poorly recorded piece for 400 electric guitars it is obvious that with enough physical presence electric guitars can cease to sound like electric guitars. The rhythmic accuracy fuses into what sounds like a bowed continuum. With this mass their harmonies no longer clang or merely even shimmer they can now truly ring, resonate, and caress.
Both of these tracks have compositional demonstrations of what is arguably one of the most famous auditory illusions – the Shepard tone, a veritable auditory barber pole where, in the constantly rotating movement, it is nearly impossible to identify where one line ends and another begins. Although this auditory illusion can easily come across as one of the cheaper contemporary music clichés to an ear well versed in contemporary compositional techniques, I find that the dirty raw striving in Glenn Branca’s Symphony #6 (Devil Choirs at the Gates of Heaven) holds up consistently on multiple listenings.
In contrast, Jean-Claude Risset’s “Mutations” is one the original classics in the digital acousmatic age and was the first composition ever to use a Shepard tone. This short, delicate, and almost perfect work seamlessly transforms (or “mutates”) into the first Shepard Tone ever found in a musical composition – a one ten octave glissando reiterated in a ten part cannon.
A friend of mine recently suggested starting a contemporary music mp3 blog to share and promote some great, yet fairly obscure, music. I was instantly reminded of some similar suggestions I’ve been given in the past, an old dream of programming my own radio show, and this blog at Sequenza21. After sifting through my collection and getting some ideas I decided to post this, the first in a series of mp3 blogs – Discordance, Gloria, and Communion.
The first piece I’ve chosen is my favorite tape piece by Iannis Xenakis – Bohor. This work is dedicates to Pierre Schaeffer, who didn’t quite appreciate this piece, saying “Boror was in the worst case (I do mean, best) the wood fires of his beginnings. No longer were we dealing with small embers, but with a huge firecracker, an offensive accumulation of whacks of scalpel in your ears at the highest level on the pentiomenter.” (“Chroniques xenakiennes,” Regards sure Iannis Xenakis (1991) 85) To fully appreciate this work I recommend listening to it (preferably with headphones) at the loudest tolerable volume to better appreciate Xenakis’s slow construction and demolition of a stunning sonic architecture.
The second mp3 is the first movement from Glenn Branca’s Symphony #3 (Gloria). This symphony is scored for a collection of amplified metal wires (which Glenn Branca invented) and drums. Similar in concept to some of La Monte Young’s sound installations, this symphony derives its material from the harmonic series. As the work unfolds, the listener is gloriously enveloped by the first 127 harmonics of the archetypal rock fundamental – E.
The final piece is the last movement of Pierre Henry’s Messe de Liverpool. This complete work is closely linked of the traditional Mass form. For example, in every movement except the last, the music contains spoken fragments from ordinary mass. These fragments are transformed and overlaid with other sounds in the type of imaginative and engaging paths that only Pierre Henry creates. These paths are so miraculous and extraordinary that one only realizes that he or she has arrived at the final communion by the time the final movement is half over.