Rosetta Stone: Music for multiples.
The idea of “multiples” — musical works composed for several identical or like-sounding instruments — has been a decades-long preoccupation of the composer Jordan Nobles. Whether it’s eight saxophones, six harps, or twenty-four vibraphones, the monochromatic ensemble presents a creative restriction that is capable of surprisingly dynamic and varied results. Taking his penchant for minimalism even further, Nobles opted to have each work on this album performed by a single musician, via multitrack recording. This has allowed him to create works that, for practical reasons, would be difficult to perform “live" (like möbius, for ten grand pianos, or air, for sixteen bass flutes), while at the same time reinforce the chromatic uniformity of each piece to an almost hyperreal level.
The works on this album span two decades and showcase a diversity of approaches to the multiples genre. Quaver, the earliest work here, utilizes rhythmic cells that phase in and out of each other; Nobles’ mallet percussion pieces, crystalline and still life, and his work for harps, typhoon, are engagingly atmospheric; air exploits alternate performance techniques to create an entirely fresh and dramatic sound world; möbius, arguably the most Cage-inspired work here, loops one-minute “strips” of music, offering glimpses at a harmony that is never heard in full; ephemera and rosetta stone are fastidiously precise, with the various musical lines interlocked by way of a rhythmic technique called hocketing; and æther reveals another great passion of Nobles: that final frontier, space, its otherworldly splendour and strangeness eerily captured by the layering of multiple wordless voices. Mark Takeshi McGregor April, 2018
1. air – for 16 bass flutes, performed by Mark Takeshi McGregor
2. ephemera – for 4 seven-string electric guitars, performed by Adrian Verdejo
3. æther – for 12 treble voices, performed by Kelly Nobles
4. quaver – for 8 saxophones, performed by Colin MacDonald
5. crystalline – for 24 bowed vibraphones, performed by Martin Fisk
6. Möbius – for 10 grand pianos, performed by Jordan Nobles
7. Still Life – for 8 five-octave marimbas, performed by Katie Rife
8. Typhoon – for 6 harps, performed by Albertina Chan
9. Rosetta Stone – for multiple glass objects, performed by Daniel Tones
10. Deep Time – for multiple bass drums and tam tams, performed by Martin Fisk
released May 31, 2018
Recorded at Creativ Music Centre, North Vancouver, B.C.
Möbius recorded at Celebration Hall, Mountain View Cemetery
Produced and edited by Jordan Nobles with assistance from Mike Southworth
Mastering by Don Harder
Special thanks to Mark Takeshi McGregor, Kelly Nobles, Mariah Mennie, Mike Southworth, Colin MacDonald, Susana Valente, Mark Haney, David Anderson, and Mountain View Cemetery.
This recording was supported by Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia.
Composer Jordan Nobles is known for creating music filled with an “unearthly beauty” (Mondomagazine) that makes listeners want to “close (their) eyes and transcend into a cloud of music” (Discorder Magazine). He has won numerous awards for his work including a JUNO Award and a Western Canadian Music Award for ‘Classical Composition of the Year’. Jordan was also the recipient of the Jan V. Matejcek Award in recognition of ‘overall success in New Classical Music’ and was awarded the Barbara Pentland Award of Excellence ‘for his extraordinary contribution to Canadian Music’. He lives in Deep Cove, BC with his wife Kelly and their son Julian.