The Somewhere Songs, for baritone, environmental, and electronic sounds:Thomas Buckner, baritone voice The Invention of Memory, for baritone, string ensemble, guitar, and piano: Thomas Buckner, baritone voice; "Blue" Gene Tyranny, piano
"The most original aspect of Tyranny's works is the way they create continuity: they're tonal, yet rigorously asymmetrical. They satisfy the ear without letting it take anything for granted. They evolve, not with the cyclic predictability of everyday life, but with the labyrinthine
irreversibility of deep psychic forces. They say what they have to say perfectly." < Kyle Gann, The Village Voice
This beautiful new recording by "Blue" Gene Tyranny includes the mysterious The Somewhere Songs cycle (1997-2001) for baritone voice and electronics, and The Invention of Memory (2003-2005) a lyrical discourse for baritone voice, string ensemble, guitar, and piano, The Somewhere Songs concerns friendships in or undergoing difficult circumstances. The narrator, in a sense, builds his own circumstantial world as he sings - the vocal part was composed first by singing spontaneously and the "transitional systems" (pitch/rhythm, etc., material) were derived from that vocal line to generate other acoustic and electronic parts. The question of the "true intentions" of the two former friends is of course left to the listener. The Invention of Memory is about the behavior and physiology of the brain.
In the course of reading, Tyranny was struck by what seemed to be rough parallels between the way that people have described forms of memory and certain musical procedures. This thought created a strange sensation in him - something about the true nature of music. The Invention of Memory was written to research this nameless correlation. An initial "Song", heard in a piano solo at the outset, provides a basic reference to which the players return, similar to a past event that is recalled in varied ways. The Song is then "scanned" by the players employing different musical procedures. Some of the musical forms employed are traditional (canonic imitation, passacaglia) while the majority are compositional procedures Tyranny developed for earlier pieces, including melodic transfers within a closed loop (from the transformational lattice score of Stars Over San Francisco,1972), drone with internal motion (from The Interior Distance,1959), camouflage (from Sleeping Beauty in Camouflage, 1992), and the song modulated by its own internal voice ("gravity" modulation from The Driver's Son, 1989 - present).
"Blue" Gene Tyranny, composer and pianist of avant garde music, has toured extensively in solo and group concerts throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. He also played in teenage rock bands and for a gospel church. He has composed over fifty works for electronic, instrumental and vocal ensembles, over thirty film and video soundtracks, and fifty scores for dance and theatre productions. He has performed on many albums and performed with such diverse performer-composers as Robert Ashley, Peter
Gordon, Laurie Andersen, John Cage, Leroy Jenkins, David Behrman, Brenda Hutchinson, Jon Gibson, William Duckworth (The Cathedral Band), Phil Perkins, Ben Manley, Carla Bley, Iggy Pop, Lise Vachon and many others.