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Sparks II

from Retrospectacles by Chris Brown

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Sparks II, Chris Brown (1977-97)

Sparks is one of my earliest compositions, written for acoustic piano using only the highest two octaves of the keyboard. It is a strumming drone piece using tones and tone-clusters played alternating between hands at maximum speed to create a gradually changing layer of sound that slowly descends and then ascends in pitch. This drone allows the listener to hear multiple spectral layers of sound that include the pitches, but also the beat frequencies produced by the close, high pitches and clusters, as well as the percussive noise of the hard hammers hitting the very short and high tension strings at the top of the piano. In this electronic version from 1997, I added a synthesized piano module triggered by a computer program that transposed the pitches and imitated the speed of my playing on a MIDI piano, to add an interactive chorus to the pulsating wall of sound.


from Retrospectacles, track released October 7, 2018
Sparks II was recorded on December 12, 1997 at Roulette Intermedium, New York City, by Jim Staley.


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