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All hail the machine : for bass clarinet and live electronics

by James Ledger (2011)

Work Overview

All Hail the Machine is the third in a series of pieces for solo instrument with live electronics. Like the previous two (for trumpet and vibraphone), the electronic element includes live manipulation along with pre-recorded samples of the solo instrument, in this case, the bass clarinet.

The form of the piece came from the idea of television "channel surfing". I think most of us have idly watched several TV shows at once and hopped from channel to channel either due to the prevalence of ads or due to the mundane quality of television shows in general.

The piece begins with random non-pitched key clicks, like a strange static, that gradually become more and more pitch-centred until they come together in a full blown melodic line. This material hangs around for quite a while until, without warning, the music instantly snaps to another idea. This concept of "channel changing" then forms the entire piece. New ideas come and become interspersed with old ones. The final minutes of the piece reflect rapidly increasing scene changes until the music ends on a somewhat vehement outburst.

Work Details

Year: 2011

Instrumentation: Bass clarinet and live electronics.

Duration: 9 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM).

First performance: by Alexander Morris — 21 Jun 11. South Melbourne Town Hall

This work can be performed as a solo with the instrumentalist operating a foot pedal to control the live electronics. However, it is recommended the electronics be operated by a second person positioned in or behind the audience.

Performances of this work

31 Jul 2013: at Australian Festival of Chamber Music (Townsville Civic Theatre). Featuring Michael Collins.

14 Aug 2012: at Australian Voices - James Ledger curated by Paul Dean (Melbourne Recital Centre). Featuring Musicians of the National Academy of Music.

21 Jun 11: South Melbourne Town Hall. Featuring Alexander Morris.

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