Alone on Repeat

by Douglas McCausland



Written for Aaron Hynds, a fantastic tuba player from BGSU, 'Alone on Repeat' is a work for solo tuba and electronics that was accomplished initially through a collaboration for the SPLICE 2016 festival. This recording is currently being prepared for a CD release on Aaron's recording project, "Collosus".


When I began working on this piece, I struggled with how I would treat the tuba as a solo instrument; I didn't really know if I could write some of the things I wanted to try, and as a result of this, there was a lot of scrapped material for this piece. Eventually, out of frustration, I decided to change my way of thinking, and through discussion with Aaron, began to wonder what it sound like to "make the tuba speak" in a very literal sense. What followed was a series of ideas that centered upon using the tuba as a resonator, for the player to speak various phonemes, word fragments, and sentences through... Simultaneously with this discovery, I was working with the concept of incorporating my love for noise and metal in a very purposeful, but somewhat restrained way.

During the writing of this piece, I additionally found myself fighting off various problems related to depression, which happens often as I get invested into a project. I quickly found myself sometimes facing severe writer's block compounded with technical difficulties, all while on a strict deadline. In the end, when I finally placed the double bar on the score after a number of sleepless nights, I sat back and looked at what seemed to be a nearly incoherent mess. But later (after some sleep), I felt that what came out of all of this initial difficulty had a layer of honesty that rang very true to me - that this manic piece with unresolved musical tensions and chaotic gestures was simply what I had to write at the time.

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


released June 18, 2016


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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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