Sometimes I Dream
perc (vib solo)
Avant Music Festival / TIGUE
Vibraphone (1 player)
To what degree can a piece be conscious of its own trajectory? What if it were capable of dreaming its way forward, while its creator is preoccupied elsewhere? Perhaps, like in the novel ‘VALIS’ by Philip K. Dick, our own fictional creations can sometimes acquire autonomy and wreak havoc with our presence of mind. ‘Sometimes I dream’ plays with memory and expectations, using repetition to provide a false sense of location. Would-be signposts are duplicated, mutated and deleted, leaving the listener little choice but to submit to the unpredictability of the road ahead.
I sketched the outlines of ‘Sometimes I dream’ in 2015 during the prototyping phase for ‘Occultations’, commissioned by Avant Music Festival for the percussion trio TIGUE. It wasn’t until 2022 when I was rummaging through old folders that I rediscovered the work-in-progress. I was surprised and pleased by the harmonic combinations and naturalistic rhythmic flow and decided to turn it into a piece. Each movement builds on the previous one while collecting new items along the way.
The four movements of ‘Sometimes I dream’ can be played as a set or separately. If played as a set, the interconnectedness of the materials is more readily apparent. If only one movement is to be played I would suggest No. 3 which is particularly suitable for standalone performance.
Aside from regular stage performance, I can imagine ‘Sometimes I dream’ being performed in a three or four wall cyclorama (a room with curved walls) with subtle, slowly changing colored lighting and, if possible, fog machine(s), creating the illusion of infinite depth. The space should be big enough, and the lighting low enough, to ensure that the audience’s sense of direction is temporarily suspended. If fog is used, it should be circulated before the performance since fog machine(s) tend to make a fair bit of noise. The vibraphone may be amplified if desired, using two condenser or ribbon microphones on a stereo bar ca 2-3 feet above the instrument.
Although conceived as a vibraphone piece as regards range, character and voicings, the work may also be performed on Rhodes electric piano (with slow tremolo) or piano, provided the program contains a note to that effect.