for electric guitar, looping machines, and percussion
first performance: 6 May 2007; Boston Conservatory, Boston, MA; Andrew McKenna Lee, electric guitar and looping machines, Sam Solomon, percussion
availability: for sale
detailed instrumentation: percussion = vib, crot, tri, susp cymb, small gong. Elec. guitar = wah and volume pedals, overdrive, delay, phaser. 2 looping machines min., 3 recommended. Must have pedal volume control and the ability to playback and record independently.
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Unraveling is kind of my own, abstract response to “minimalism,” a musical style with which I have a strong love/hate relationship. True to minimalist form, the use of looping machines connotes repetition, and indeed, Unraveling is based on a series of slowly unfolding episodes during which loops are built in real time and then repeated ad nauseam. These repetitions generally fade to the background and become a texture over which new material (and consequently, new loops) are then created and developed — somewhat like a chain.
My goal in this piece was to try and make repetitive music that seems to gradually flow and morph from one idea into another, a fairly constant compositional preoccupation of mine. I wanted to create a more "organic" perceived form — something more abstractly sensual and somewhat divorced from the repetitive, rhythmic, ostinato grooves that inherently comprise so much other minimalist-inspired music.
The title comes from my perception of the music's trajectory. It begins with an intensely wrought, notey, and highly ornamented texture, and gradually unravels its energy over the course of the piece until the end, when it dissolves into an ocean of repeating, phased-out, swelling chords.