6 Channels of Sound, 2 Amplified Performers
Jitterbug, for two musicians and six channels of prerecorded sound, was commissioned by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 2006 for the dance eyeSpace. In Jitterbug, the musicians are interpreting photographs of rocks taken for this project by Gwen Deely, as graphic scores; these are intricate in their patterns and color shifts and I found them in a creek bed, up in the Montana Rockies. A pre-recorded surround-sound score draws on insect sounds: aquatic insects which I recorded in the small lakes and backwaters of the Flathead Valley, Montana; and ‘air’ insects generously made available to me by Lang Elliott, of the NatureSound Studio. A curious aspect of the underwater recordings was that these strong sound signals were being created by beetles and other microscopic insects which were always invisible to me, although the water was clear and often shallow.
Deep tones from bowed gongs and a piano infiltrate this insect world, providing a strong contrast. Gustavo Aguilar, William Winant and Joseph Kubera, with audio engineers Maggi Payne and Marilyn Ries generously recorded these sounds for the project.