- Mantra Percussion ·
so much of any year is flammable was composed for six percussionists performing a series of switching mechanisms, flints, and light bulbs. The piece draws its title from a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye entitled “Burning the Old Year.”
The piece intercuts fragments of live radio signals with an original fixed media composition by tapping simple rhythms in morse code across conductive materials. The largely improvisatory score specifies varying levels of improvisation and unison over the course of the piece.
Each performer is assigned a speaker, radio, and playback device with miniature amplifier. Using wires affixed to their hands, the performers close circuits and allow bursts of audio to pop out from each speaker. Within this system, the performers alternate between the radio signals and the fixed media composition at specified moments. Lighting cues and the striking of flints accentuate the percussive environment, and articulate moments of sustained versus unstained sounds. The piece does not follow a literal interpretation of the poem so much as it considers the possibilities of what lies between things done and undone.
so much of any year is flammable was commissioned by Mantra Percussion and premiered as part of the “3 Nights” portrait concerts as part of the Music at First Series in Brooklyn, New York. It was subsequently featured on NewMusicBox.