Central Park

for baritone, bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and electronics (2017)

Written for loadbang and Stephen Menotti

“I am for an art that tells you the time of day, or where such and such a street is.” —Claes Oldenburg, quoted in Kenneth Goldsmith, New York, Capital of the 20th Century.

Like Raymond Queneau’s Exercises de style, that retells the same story of an everyday Parisian scene 99 times, Central Park for loadbang traces the New York landmark through a multilayered process of reading, sampling, and transcription. I recorded each member of the ensemble speaking through their instruments, mutes, and preparations, with texts drawn from New York, Capital of the 20th Century, Kenneth Goldsmith’s rewriting of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project transposed from Paris to New York. I then used the distinctive colors of these samples to transcribe and re-transcribe the same field recording of Central Park for each member of the ensemble, drawing on his unique sonic palette and personality. The result is four interlocking solos, like the paths of four characters crossing the same place from different times and directions: a palimpsest of perspectives, a portrait of the ensemble and myself in our shared city.