In May 2017, I received an email via this website from a gentleman named Doug Nottingham, inquiring about obtaining performance rights and a score for “Sheet Music.” My initial reaction was that this was someone playing a prank on me. Of all the musical projects I have been involved with over the past 40+ years, “Sheet Music” seemed the least likely to be revived, not because it was without musical value (I'll leave that question for the listener to decide), but because it was so very much a product of its time and place (1975–76, San Francisco) and of the particular people involved. But Doug, who directs the percussion ensemble at Glendale Community College, near Phoenix, AZ, was serious. So I told him how to build the instrument (“The Metálkonk”) and gave him the “score” (just a simple set of verbal instructions), and lo, in the fullness of time a new Metálkonk was built and the opening and closing movements of “Sheet Music” (viewable below) were performed by the GCC Percussion Ensemble in November 2017, along with two of my minimalist pieces from the same period. You can read a more detailed history of “Sheet Music” on this page.
Since then, Doug and the GCC Percussion Ensemble have obtained a long-term loan of Other Music's American Gamelan, and have been performing and recording some of my compositions from that period, focusing on pieces that were not recorded on Other Music's LPs. Some of these are featured here.
“Song of the Apostate” is a piece I composed for Other Music's American gamelan in 1978. It is a lancaran (a traditional Javanese gamelan form with 8 principal beats to a gong cycle). It uses a typical just intonation slendro scale (1/1, 7/6, 4/3, 3/2, 7/4) with an added flat fifth (7/5) in descending passages
“Sunagi” (1978) is a piece I composed for bowed metallophones using Other Music's American Gamelan. It uses most of the pitches in the gamelan's 14-tone just tuning. Here, it is presented as a studio recording by the GCC Percussion Ensemble, accompanied by video art by Peter Bill. “Recorder Piece #1 for Henry S. Rosenthal” is a separate piece. It permits any sound that can be produced by any number of recorders with all of the finger holes covered. Other Music regularly played the two pieces together on concerts in the late 70s–early 80s. Henry and I substituted “harmonic flutes”—acrylic vertical flutes with no finger holes—for the recorders in these performances. On this recording, I have overdubbed several tracks of harmonic flutes, sometimes modulated by water.
As mentioned elsewhere, Sheet Music was a half-hour long collective composition/improvisation developed by Other Music in 1975–76 and performed frequently by the group during those years. THe videos below are from performances by the GCC percussion ensemble in 2017.