Diffusion (2013), for (4) metallophones and (4) gongs.


Written for The Lightbulb Ensemble (Oakland, CA), in Diffusion (2013), four metallophone players each play and repeat the same 20 beat cycle at slightly different speeds. The ratio of their tempi is 6:7:8:9. Each time one of the four cycles restarts, a corresponding gong is struck. Over the course of the piece, rests are gradually added into each player’s part, which serve to decrease the rhythmic density while allowing for more chaotic and, ideally, beautiful melodic abstractions. The musicians are able to perform these com-plex rhythmic relationships due to the aid of four synchronized click tracks. I had in mind here the concept of irama, in Javanese music, in which the same cycle can gradually and freely move between many different speeds. Also, of the inevitable increase in entropy, of the winding down of a music box, and of the body’s push toward final repose. Diffusion was premiered at the Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. in November, 2013, and was recorded in May, 2014 at Mills College in Oakland, CA.  The piece is dedicated to Emily Pontecorvo.  

Recorded in Littlefield Concert Hall at Mills College in Oakland, CA

Brian Baumbusch, Jon Myers, Scott Siler, Keenan Pepper: metallophones
Ryan Jobes, Scott Siler: gongs