Timelines Los Angeles came about quite by accident. I had initially contacted Mark Trayle in connection with a planned visit of mine to Los Angeles about coming to Cal Arts to give a performance or lecture. Much to my surprise and great pleasure, he suggested instead that I compose a piece for the 2008 Cal Arts Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology Festival with a group of my own choosing.
As it so happened, Ulrich Krieger, an old friend from my early days in Berlin, had just started a professorship at Cal Arts. He was one of the first people I met when I arrived in Berlin in 1990 and we eventually even performed together before Ulrich moved away soon thereafter to New York. Since then he has produced an extensive body of work, both as an instumentalist and composer. It was great having the chance to play together again after so many years.
Olivia Block was my next choice. Known primarily for her compositional work, this performance features Olivia on prepared piano. Judging by her fantastic playing on this recording, I can only hope that more people will invite her to perform as a pianist in the future.
Mark Trayle completed the group. As a composer and member of the network music ensemble The Hub, Mark's work has been at the forefront of computer music since the 1980's. On this recording he performed with guitar and his own self-programmed SuperCollider applications.
It should be stressed that Timelines Los Angeles was composed with this
group of musicians in mind. These graphical works of mine are therefore
not interchangeable: they are conceived within the context of the particular instrumentation and, even more importantly, for the participating musicians. In this sense, I see these works as more than just groupings of instruments but social situations, bringing together a particular group dynamic within the parameters of a graphical score and a space in time.
Listening back to the piece it somehow sounds to me like Los Angeles, the city I spent most of my life in. There is a darkness and weight to the music but also, towards the end, an airiness and sense of lifting and release, much as I used to feel at the end of the many long, hot Los Angeles days when the sun had finally begun its descent and the city's heat drifted on desert winds slowly out to sea.