#MusicForWriters: Tristan Perich's Percussionists, Human And Not

Tristan Perich. Courtesy of the composer
Tristan Perich. Courtesy of the composer

‘Blur And Back Again’

When composer Tristan Perich puts his work Parallels on its feet, one of the results is something that Q2 Music’s Hannis Brown correctly identifies as familiar to distance runners: the play of endorphins in an athlete’s sensory fields. Brown writes:

It’s music to which any runner can relate. Parallels‘s architecture melts from distinct texture and color to hypnotic blur and back again; moments of exhaustion lead to euphoria. Through focus, repetition and sheer magnitude, the process builds to a state of heightened awareness – one that ultimately achieves a glimpse of ecstasy.

Parallels cover

Do take advantage of the SoundCloud provided by Perich’s label, Physical Editions, to hear the work as you read.

Having embarked on a year-long series of releases under the overall title Compositions, the first of four installments’ releases saw Brown writing for Q2 Music’s Album of the Week series just What I Talk About When I Talk About Tristan Perich. Hardly a stranger to listeners of New York Public Radio’s Q2 Music, Perich nevertheless keeps us all guessing by throwing open new doors of percussive potential each time he produces new work.

Like many of the leading voices and minds in our contemporary classical community, Perich is an artist who thinks of performance. Unlike many of his colleagues, however, he’s thinking here of “the separate roles of composer and performer.

“It is the performer who translates score into sound, a live even that is captured and becomes the recording.”

And “performer” this time is both man and machine. Todd Meehan and Doug Perkins, working as the Meehan/Perkins Duo, are engaged in what Brown rightly talks about as “almost as much about physicality as about sound.”

Known as the man who released an album, 1-Bit Music, as a microchip, Perich generates music that sounds like the technology he masters to produce it. His work is daring, dancing, ebullient —swirling interactions of tones and patterns. In the 46-minute Parallels, for example, some 20 minutes of feverishly shimmering, tingling triangle suddenly morphs into hotly compelling signals that could accompany NASA’s New Horizons probe to Pluto. There is a spacious persistence here, an elegant insistance. Brash hi-hats, yes those cymbal sets used in drum kits, start fizzing their action around something that takes on its own mind — and curiously focuses yours.

A New York Foundation for the Arts fellow, Perich is internationally welcomed as one of the most forward-looking composers of our era. Book? Sure, he created a book from “The First 1/100th Second of the 1-Bit Symphony” and titled it 0.01S. It’s close to 700 pages of code. His most devoted fans will be heading to his PhysicalEditions.com site for a remarkable packaging of the Compositions collection from this year.

“The physical world will always be messier, imprecise, an approximation of the purity of the mathematics behind code.”
Tristan Perich

And yet, for all the physicality that Brown identifies in his music and that Perich, himself, engages in the presentation of his work, getting a handle on just what’s happening to create the sonic chambers of his work is no easy task.

So that’s where we started in our interview. The full title of this work is Parallels For Tuned Triangles, hi-hats, And 4-Channel 1-Bit Electronics. And if you’d like to get an idea of what Parallels sounds like, hit Play on this video from Perich’s own Physical Editions label.

‘To compose pieces of music, not to bundle them’

Tristan Perich. Image: Courtesy of the composer
Tristan Perich. Image: Courtesy of the composer

Thought Catalog: Tristan, I’d like to start by asking if you could describe for our readers what they’d see if they were hearing and seeing Parallels performed live in front of them?

Tristan Perich: Parallels has a particularly minimal setup: two percussionists playing alongside four small raw speaker cones. The percussion setup is sparse, a handful of tuned triangles plus two hi hats, and the accompanying speaker cones hang from boom stands. They perform alongside each other—six composed lines of music—without any processing or manipulation of sound. Even though the electronic part is played by computer, I consider it equally as live as the human percussionists because I think of computation as a physical process. For the release event, I staged the performance in front of one of my machine drawings, because there are similarities between the elements of tone/noise in the music and order/randomness in the drawings.
Read More

There’s more: Read the full story at Thought Catalog

By Porter Ander­son

Writing on the Ether:  Music For Writers: Tristan Perich’s Percussionists, Human And Not

Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com



600 x 200 TEP this one


Banner big

Matera 600 x 200


The Markets banner 600



600 X 200 NINC

Leave a Reply