KILN III [2020]

cello, tuba, & percussion [36’]

commissioned by the ELISION Ensemble

included in the evening-length concert-installation KILN

performance history

program note

KILN III attempts to impart the form taken by molten materials after they have fused together and ossified into a solid object. The piece is about the forces that impose influence upon objects and jettison them into assemblages and relations with other objects. The work seeks to expose a sonic granularity, a withdrawn sonic vitality, residing not only within objects, but also within the very friction created by their collision. 

The work is based on ceramic artist Nishida Jun's sculpture Zetsu #8, in which various materials are allowed to melt into each other and assume varied states of alteration within the extreme conditions of the kiln. With Jun's work, the formed object carries traces of the forces incubated within the kiln; the effects of time, temperature and pressure are acutely present upon and embedded within the work. 

KILN III ventures to create a sonic form similar to Jun's sculpture. Elements are kept distinct while melting into each other; phrases are left incomplete or are interrupted by massive intrusions of other material, yet there is an undeniable continuity permeating the entire piece; the instruments retain distinct voices while occasionally being caught in each others' orbit; the textures at play within the piece are both anemic and highly detailed. Just as within Jun's kiln, time, pressure and the collision of forces press down upon the materials in a quiet, devastating turbulence.