Today we finished mixing and mastering the Relache ensemble’s compact disc of my suite The Planets. I also recently finished my new piece The Rite of Spring, and am hard at work on one called Scheherazade. From now on I’m only using titles that have been pre-tested for widespread audience appeal.
That was a joke. If it were in a book or newspaper, the reader, lacking the potential to respond immediately, might have been forced to mull it over until he or she chuckled, or at least got it, but on the internet it’s probably better that nonliteral information be explicitly identified as such.
Anyway, I’m thrilled with many things about this production on the Meyer Media label, and one is the cover art, which consists of images by my Bard College art-department colleague Laura Battle, such as this one:
This one’s called Mobius, and is borrowed from the web site of Lohin Geduld gallery, Laura’s dealer. For years I’ve loved Laura’s incredibly intricate paintings and drawings, which are composed of thousands of straight lines at geometrically regular angles, and I asked her about using them even before realizing that she gets a lot of her inspiration from astronomical charts and planetary orbits. Her paintings are often huge, 7 or 8 feet tall and 15 feet wide or so, and so incredibly disciplined and detailed that she has to constantly guard against getting carpal tunnel syndrome while making them. For the cover art of The Planets Relache and I had talked about using the usual NASA photos of Saturn’s rings or Jupiter’s moons, and everything seemed so cliché, until I thought of Laura’s work. Meyer Media’s director/sound engineer Andreas Meyer so fell in love with it that he’s basing all the packaging around it, including a fold-out poster.
And what a pleasure Andreas is to work with! Turns out he was the protégé of Thomas Frost at Columbia, just about the only sound engineer famous enough in the ’60s and ’70s to have been heard of by people who don’t know anything about sound engineering. But Andreas started out as a composer, and tells stories of having analyzed pieces by Ligeti and Lutoslawski – and subsequently meeting those gentlemen. Imagine having your music recorded by someone who has the best training in the business, understands modern music on a fully technical level – and who runs the company and is doing your music because he believes in it! So for two days I’ve been hard at work and in heaven, hearing my music come to life with every detail perfect. The CD release is timed to coincide with Relache’s world premiere of the complete work, this February 6 (a Saturday) at the Trinity Center for Urban Life in Philadelphia, 22nd and Spruce Streets, 8 PM. We’re also trying to put together performances in New York City and at Bard, so stay tuned and I’ll announce further details.