Unwinding with Penelope Recording from Boston Microtonal Society

I am so thankful to get to share Gabriela Diaz and Wendy Richman’s recording of Unwinding with Penelope from Boston Microtonal Society’s 2017 Call for Works concert. It is inspired by the subtle delaying and resistance strategies Penelope employs in The Odyssey. After promising to choose between her suitors when she completes her father-in-law’s funeral shroud, she keeps making and unmaking it, keeping them at bay as best she can with what she has available to her. (My appreciation for this comes especially from Dr. Barbara Clayton’s A Penelopean Poetics.)

I wrote this piece with Gabby and Wendy in mind, especially thinking about each of our access points to microtonal music. For Gabby, she is known for doing Ligeti’s concerto that involves scordatura (retuned strings) and microtones. For Wendy, she found Scelsi’s Manto III to be a transformative experience. For me it was when I was at the Xenharmonic Praxis Summer Camp back in the 2011, writing in 14 edo (14 notes per octave) for Jacob Barton, Steven Kandow, and Chris Vaisvil. Because of this I chose to use a similar starting position and sense of aspiration in how I designed Unwinding for Gabby and Wendy.

While composers like Rebecca Saunders, James Tenney, Harry Partch, and Peter Adriaansz inspire how I imagine a musical space, those warm, playful weeks in West Virginia will always be a part of how I approach alternative tuning practices.

Image credit: Quilt made at the Garden Garret Studio in Vallejo, California.



How Things Are Made release’s album and how to play along with it at home!

Earlier this year, How Things Are Made (Brian Riordan, David Bernabo, and Matt Aelmore) released an album of four indeterminate works I wrote.

You can take a listen to it all or purchase the digital album at the link below.


I deeply appreciate the thoughtfulness How Things Are Made put into finding an identity for each work. Whether it is the brusk playfulness of Get to the Point, the stasis of Yes, accidentally cut off your beard, the increasingly clear cycling of Return to Bloland, or the careful motion of Flush After Magellan, they brought the works to life with a warm and percolating musicality.

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 10.59.07 PM.jpg

To share in the fun, you are welcome to join in on their performance of Flush After Magellan. After turning on the recording (and either keeping an eye on the track’s time, set at timer for around 26 minutes, or just go for it), pick a route to follow on this graphic (from one corner to another, around a singular point, tracing one of the double lined routes, etc.). Ideally, have the score at a size on your device so you can physically trace the route as you perform as if you are a chess piece on a board.

Basic Directions to Perform Flush After Magellan 

Each box is about 5 seconds long, but the closer you are to the double barred lines, they should be closer and closer to 10 seconds. Perform the number of sounds depicted in a box as you move through it.  Ideally they are disjunct. Have fun. Be solemn.

B = Breath

P = Pizzicato (or a snapping sound)

G = Gradually change the sounds as you move from the previous to the next box

S = Sudden Change

≈ = Do approximately what you did before

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 11.40.37 PM = Look down and/or lowest note and Look up and/or highest note

Flush After Magellan Score Playalong


Electronic Music Midwest selects Losing Constellations for performance

Electronic Music Midwest has selected the string quartet and electronics version of “Losing Constellations” for performance by Elara String Quartet at its annual festival this October at Lewis University (no relation 😉 ).

I’ve really loved collaborating with Elara String Quartet this year and I am especially looking forward to this!