Effuse / Allure / Ancient Light

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Effuse / Allure / Ancient Light was inspired by the work of Iranian artist Shirazeh Houshiary (Shiraz, Iran 1955). I first came across her work in the spring of 2018, when I was exploring the ideas that eventually would develop into this new work. The title combines the titles of three Houshiary paintings – Effuse (2017), Allure (2013), and Ancient Light (2009). There is a fluidity and ambiguity in these works which I find intriguing and beautiful. It is Houshiary’s process as much as the works themselves that inspired the creation of this piece. She describes her use of water and pigment as a starting point “to open up a window into the chaos…inviting the unconscious…It is about the fusion of the precise, my own markings, with something which is very chaotic.” Houshiary’s water serves for her the same purpose that the computer did for me in this piece. The processing of carefully designed sounds (markings) opened that window into the chaotic. The unconscious sounds were exposed, allowing for a sonic world characterized by conflicting overtone series in an ever-evolving harmonic landscape. The result is a piece that explores the micro-level changes of sound over time. Effuse / Allure / Ancient Light evolves through an expanding interlocking system of pitches exposing both consonant and dissonant harmonic interactions. These interactions enter and fade at seemingly random intervals of pitch and time, offering no clear surface-level formal direction (although there is a larger level design). “At times,” admits a trusted friend and collaborator, “the piece is frustrating. You want it to go somewhere, you anticipate it changing, or lingering in certain parts, but it never gives in.” In this ambiguity, I invite the listener to simply be, to listen, to experience the journey in transformation of sound over time, leaving behind expectation and allowing oneself to engage in the micro-level friction and collision between the unconscious and the precise. As Houshiary explains, “that’s where life happens.”

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