Parataxis

by Douglas McCausland

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about

Written in 2015-2016 for Michigan percussionist Tia Harvey, 'Parataxis' is a work for percussion and electronics.

Sections:

No Entry
I. you will always be alone
Lost Gates
II. Meditations on Junk's Mound
Index
III. Data Diving and the Great Surf
Adrift

Early in the writing process for this piece, I initially envisioned 'Parataxis' as a percussion solo with electronics. Ultimately, it became clear to both Tia and I that the work truly speaks as a piece for percussion and electronics as a duo. Regardless, the piece would not exist had it not been for the dedicated collaboration of Tia. Whether it was wandering through junkyards to find objects to use for the piece, her input on setup and instrument techniques, her willingness to play a piece that ended up being as large-scale as this, or her incredible patience when I found myself facing debilitating blocks in my writing process - one thing that was always apparent was that she is an incredible collaborator and friend.

The word parataxis, refers to a writing technique often used in poetry that favors short, fragmentary sentences or ideas, with the use of coordinating rather than subordinating conjunctions. In this technique, the relationships between fragments is not always immediately apparent. Ultimately, the ideas often relate back to a central 'hub' theme or concept. In this case, though the piece is in one "movement", it is broken up into seven sections which I envision as fragments that are all interrelated around the central concepts of depression, decay, and waste. Sometimes, these themes are evoked explicitly, with the use of recovered instruments or sounds sourced from junk or abandoned places. However, other times these themes are evoked in an ambiguous or less direct way, such as through the derivation of musical material from the conversion of discarded data into audio. Ultimately, the process of creating the piece is also reflected in its final state as well. What I mean specifically, is that this is the hardest I have ever had to work to create a piece of music and I often faced crippling or paralyzing issues regarding its creation. However, what came out of the process of writing this piece is something that I think is essentially an honest creation, and a sonic introspection of sorts.

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'Parataxis' is realized through the use of a multi-percussion setup which in this recording includes:

2x Bongos
Floor Tom
Bass Drum
Tibetan Singing Bowl
2x Circular Saw Blades
Various Recovered Metals (old cogs, made shavings, pipe, etc.)
Crotales
Sheet Metal Band, which is placed on Top of a Bass Drum resonator

The electronics are a mixture of pre-created fixed-media tracks and realtime processing all run through a programmed environment created in Pure Data.

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This recording was performed by Tia Harvey and myself, audio recorded and edited by me.

credits

released May 3, 2017

license

all rights reserved

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about

Douglas McCausland Palo Alto, California

Douglas McCausland is a composer / performer currently based out of the Bay Area in California, USA while pursuing a DMA in Composition at Stanford University.

Fascinated with new sonic territories and processes for creating music, his work engages with the extremes of sound and the digital medium.
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