Figure <-> Ground

two channel recording; 2:39

Fall 2013

Figure <-> Ground interprets the idea of negative space in the context of rhythm and time.  In one formulation, the subjects are percussive sound points and the negative spaces are the durations that connect those sound points.  As the piece progresses, the elements that constitute a sound point are increasingly displaced in time, filling adjacent negative spaces.  The original metric positions and rhythmic identities become more ambiguous as a result, inviting us to both find boundaries between a subject and its negative spaces and to superimpose remembered structure on an increasingly diffuse texture.  The idea of negative space is also explored in rhythm by sonifying sound points and silencing intermediary durations, and then sonifying intermediary durations and silencing sound points.  Negative space is further interpreted in the context of rhythmic stylistic conventions.  The rhythmic configurations in the latter half of the piece are beat-based but also convey quickly-changing meters, syncopations, cross-rhythms and an avoidance of repetition on smaller time scales.  This sort of rhythmic expression inhabits a space between subject-points defined by contemporary Western art music and popular music.