Work » Projects » or say the day is jeweled and burning 2018

In the summer of 2018, I was thrilled to be invited to travel along with the Wesleyan University Gamelan to Solo, Java, Indonesia by Professor Sumarsam. At Sumarsam’s invitation, I wrote a piece for the ensemble to be performed alongside works by Ron Kuivila and Alvin Lucier at the 2018 International Gamelan Festival. Lucier’s piece Music for Gamelan Instruments, Microphones, and Amplifiers (1994) has had an enormous influence on me since I first saw at as graduate student in 2002 (also my first time to visit Wesleyan). Since teaching at Wesleyan, I’ve had the good fortune to perform this piece a few times, working with professors Lucier, Sumarsam, Harjito, and Kuivila. As such, my own piece written for the Wesleyan Gamelan owes a great debt to this work.

Wanting to work with feedback as well, I create a feedback network mediated by a program I wrote in Max. A series of small electret microphones are played inside the resonators of two gender, performed by Sumarsam and Harjito, also referencing Lucier’s original work. Additionally, contact microphones are affixed to two gongs, and transducers are braced inside them as well. Working this way allowed me to generate feedback between these different instruments, also routing them to the PA system of the venue.

In addition to the two gender performers, the remaining gamelan performers sing, matching the tones of the feedback generated within this system, deviating against these tones very slightly, or singing harmonically related tones. The voices in this system resonate through the gender and gongs, creating shifting waves of sound and color.

or say the day is jeweled and burning draws its title from a poem by Peter Gizzi.


Gamelan, Feedback, Live-Electronics
Wesleyan University Gamelan ·