violin, bassoon, electronic keyboard, electric guitar, electronic mallet percussion, electronic drum set
Meet the Composer
Chicago, 1994: Paul Dresher Ensemble
composer website; Paul Dresher Ensemble website
"The work was originally composed as part of the Ensemble's touring program "Looking West to the East," a program which examined the variety of ways American (particularly West Coast) composers have been influenced by the cultures of the "Far East." While the aggressive surface of the composition seems to make the work resist an easy assimilation into the Asian-influenced context of this program, in fact the modal and harmonic language of the piece is an exploration of a particular mode I encountered in my studies of North Indian classical music. For those with an analytical bent, mode contains 7 tones and utilizes flatted 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th degrees, a sharped 4th degree and a natural 5th. What intrigues me about the way the North Indians use this scale is that by de-emphasizing the 5th degree, the whole sense of tonal center seems to shift to either the flat 6th or 2nd degree, even while maintaining a constant "tonic" drone. I am not trying to evoke the particular "rasa" (roughly something like color or mood) associated with this family of ragas. I would no doubt do this poorly in comparison. Rather I am simply exploring a phenomena which probably only manifests itself to listeners so trained to seek tonal centers based on the interval of a perfect 5th. When I asked my sitar teacher Nikhil Banerjee, who spoke perfect English, about this apparent (to me) shifting phenomena, he simply did not understand what I was talking about, much less hearing."
- Paul Dresher (from: Dresher Ensemble website)