for Distanced Ensemble
This work draws together and celebrates the patterns, connections and stories embedded in the southern Alberta prairie landscape. From the eerie forest within a tuft of sage grass to the wind swept horizon capped with a shifting prairie sky. A melody embedded within a millisecond of cricket call mimics thunder rolling through the valley. Everything unfolds in its own time. This piece leverages micro and macro scales to tell the story of land unfolding beyond the fringes of human perception. Technology shifts these sounds and images into a space where they can interact with the expressive repertoire of instrumental performers. The instrumental parts were recorded in the musicians homes in order to magnify the quietest sounds. The audio and video materials were collected out on the land at the McIntyre Ranch using a variety of captured devices. These include digital microscopes, time-lapse action cameras and shotgun microphones. These materials, as well as videos from the musicians performing at home have been fed into a generative system that seeks patterns and similarities. The resulting material is a collection of visual assets that integrate macro and micro scales in improbable ways. For example, when presented with all the data, the computer sees a cello made of bone and grass, or a lichen made from bassoon components. This work is the result of time spent with my friends Leroy Littlebear, Amethyst First Rider, Susan Lingle and especially Erin Thrall, who have taken the time to share their profound respect for and connection to their unique ecosystem.