Fail Safe

For soloist utilizing Lightning and live electronics

Paul Dresher




electric guitar - electronics


Guitar with Live Electronics or Computer




Grove; Dresher Ensemble website;


"Since 1979, I have composed a series of works for myself as a solo performer working interactively with various forms of music technology. These works, such as Dark Blue Circumstance and Liquid and Stellar Music, are generally not written out but rather evolve over several months or even years utilizing a combination of a predetermined overall form and composed materials which are developed through improvisation. This work is in the early stages of its evolution and is will probably continue to develop over the next few years. At present, it is a collection sounds that intrigue me and a fascination with how those sounds can be triggered and manipulated live by non-keyboard based gestures.

I am principally working with Don Buchla's LIGHTNING, a device which translates the motion of two hand-held "wands" into musically useful (I would say very useful) MIDI data. (MIDI is an acronym for "musical instrument digital interface", a standard digital communication format for electronic musical devices). How LIGHTNING interprets the movement is largely determined by the composerís programming of the device and is very flexible. Thus a composition for LIGHTNING involves 3 principal aspects: the physical gestures, the programming of LIGHTNING for the interpretation of those gestures and lastly, the selection and preparation of the sounds (samplers and/or synthesizers) and signal processors that are being triggered by LIGHTNING."

- Paul Dresher (from: Dresher Ensemble website)