In several of my recent electronic compositions, the focus has been on manipulating the voice by adding pitch-shifted and formant-shifted layers on top of each other, enriching the harmonic complexity of a given voice. I am trying to both tease out the natural resonances and add my own harmonic content embedded in the overtones.
When I explained this to Will Leathem of Prospero's, he suggested the book If On a Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino, as a source of inspiration. This postmodernist novel has a multiplicity of different voices embedded within the frame story format. I am using as many of these voices as I can, trying to make some comprehensible and others less so, to give the overall impression of simultaneity.
For the first hour, you will simply be listening to me read the novel, much like a book on tape. I have added musical elements to accompany each section of the narrative. These melodic fragments, or cells, are to be used later on in the performance by live improvisers as seed material, providing structural associations that the listener can make between these two events separated by almost 90 minutes of time.
This first hour of the story will be broadcast in the downstairs portion of Prospero's on a number of our portable speakers. These speakers will be located among the stacks of books with the volume turned down to innocuous levels. We encourage audience members to stream what they are hearing also on their phones, or in earbuds if they like, so they can better follow the story.
The first hour ebbs and flows and at the 60-minute mark, we begin playing Fragmented Realities in the upstairs portion of the venue. The downstairs section continues through the first chapter of Outside the Village of Malbork. At one hour and 22 minutes the downstairs track ceases and after that, all of the music takes place upstairs. At this time, the live stream will shift to accompany what is going on upstairs. The hope is that the first hour of introductory material will also serve as an enticement to casual customers of Prospero's that night to stay for the rest of the show.