Xylography-Graphology

for violoncello and electronics (2015) / for violoncello, bass flute, bass clarinet, violin, percussion, and electronics (2016)

Written for Séverine Ballon, Pierre Morlet, and the TAK Ensemble

To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing. —Brassaï, Conversations with Picasso

In Xylography for solo cello and electronics the performance begins with the cello turned backwards, a blank surface upon which the cellist starts to draw. The near-silence is projected around the concert space by a network of contact microphones, then analyzed by the computer to begin an improvised response. The cellist in turn re- sponds to this computer noise improvisation through a score inspired by live improvisations of several cellist collaborators. This game of imi- tation continues with a broadening repertoire of sounds, finally coming to rest on the detuned fourth string, from which the performer elicits a flickering spectrum of harmonics and multiphonics.

Graphology expands this microscopic sound space for ensemble, an extension of the cello and computer. What were previously improvised lines are now etched into close-amplified ensemble textures, diffracted around the room, and gradually layered until they reach their breaking point. Xylography-Graphology is based on collaborations with Seth Woods on Graffiti, and Séverine Ballon and Pierre Morlet on Xylography. It is dedicated to Séverine Ballon and the TAK ensemble.