SOLAR/ ELECTRIC (2009)
Solar/Electric begins with Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea, a “psychedelic, fantasy concerto” written as an homage to Jimi Hendrix. The work was conceived for solo electric guitar and “random instrument orchestra” (i.e. instruments found in the composer’s bedroom), and pits a heavy, rock influenced guitar part — which loosely quotes fragments of Hendrix’s solo in the song Are You Experienced? — against an expressionistic and surreal backdrop of instruments that includes soprano and alto recorders, 16 tuned crystal glasses, glockenspiel, multi-tracked viola, electric bass, a variety of percussion instruments, and electronically manipulated sound samples.
The EP resumes with Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint. Recorded on a solid-body instrument, the recording’s “chime and bell like” sonority is further enhanced by a slight amount of overdrive, providing a colorful, “grit and sparkle” patina to the overall musical texture. Rendered through a subtly, blues-inflected performance, this unique timbre lends a slightly more aggressive edge to the work, and is intended to be an original alternative to different realizations offered by other artists.
The last track, One Thought Among Many — which owes as much to Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question as it does to the guitar playing of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour — returns to the psychedelic world of Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea, only in more muted and static tones. Washes of ambient electric guitars and loops create dense, swirling planes of space, out of which an extended, solo guitar melody manifests itself before ultimately dissolving back into the sonic ocean-world from which it came via a series of high trills.