nicholas cline | music

Currents (2012)

for 8 instruments and live electronics


  • Kayla Faurie, Flute; Keith Northover, Bass Clarinet; Jay Hurst, Soprano Saxophone; Heidi Siberz, Baritone Saxophone; Mike Sweeney, Trumpet; Kevin Garza, Trombone; Nicholas Cline, Zither; JunYi Chow, Double Bass; Vini Frizzo, Conductor; Ford-Crawford Hall, Bloomington, Indiana, 11/11/2012

Program Note:

Currents is an orchestration of a four-channel fixed media piece, Homage to La Monte Young, which was made from the sounds of feedback from scordatura electric guitars and noisy amplifiers. The pervasive 60-cycle hum that permeates our daily soundscapes provided the initial impetus and harmonic material for the work. A natural precursor is La Monte Young's Composition 1960 #7 (B and F# 'to be held for a long time') – about which he says: “Actually, the first sustained single tone at a constant pitch, without a beginning or end, that I heard as a child was the sound of telephone poles, the hum of the wires.” Initially, I conceived of Homage to La Monte Young as a live performance – a performer manipulating volume controls to produce textures of electric guitar feedback. The four-channel version captures an ideal performance. The orchestration returns the piece to the live, acoustic realm and retains a certain degree of unpredictability. Like Streams, no two performances are exactly the same. In Currents, the ensemble tunes to the hum of the amplifier (down approximately a quarter-tone) and it features a homemade bowed zither playing harmonics up to the 15th partial.

View the score: [PDF]