Los Angeles came about quite by accident. I had initially contacted Mark
Trayle in connection with a planned visit of mine to Los Angeles about
coming to Cal Arts to give a performance or lecture. Much to my surprise
and great pleasure, he suggested instead that I compose a piece for the
2008 Cal Arts Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology
Festival with a group of my own choosing.
As it so happened, Ulrich Krieger, an old friend from my early days in
Berlin, had just started a professorship at Cal Arts. He was one of the
first people I met when I arrived in Berlin in 1990 and we eventually
even performed together before Ulrich moved away soon thereafter to New
York. Since then he has produced an extensive body of work, both as an
instumentalist and composer. It was great having the chance to play together
again after so many years.
Olivia Block was my next choice. Known primarily for her compositional
work, this performance features Olivia on prepared piano. Judging by her
fantastic playing on this recording, I can only hope that more people
will invite her to perform as a pianist in the future.
Mark Trayle completed the group. As a composer and member of the network
music ensemble The Hub, Mark's work has been at the forefront of computer
music since the 1980's. On this recording he performed with guitar and
his own self-programmed SuperCollider applications.
It should be stressed that Timelines Los Angeles was composed with this
group of musicians in mind. These graphical works of mine are therefore
not interchangeable: they are conceived within the context of the particular
instrumentation and, even more importantly, for the participating musicians.
In this sense, I see these works as more than just groupings of instruments
but social situations, bringing together a particular group dynamic within
the parameters of a graphical score and a space in time.
Listening back to the piece it somehow sounds to me like Los Angeles,
the city I spent most of my life in. There is a darkness and weight to
the music but also, towards the end, an airiness and sense of lifting
and release, much as I used to feel at the end of the many long, hot Los
Angeles days when the sun had finally begun its descent and the city's
heat drifted on desert winds slowly out to sea.