I am always fascinated by Bach’s use of illusion and tension-his ability to create harmonies with just a single line. Written for a recital of music based on Bach’s influence, I wrote my solo piece for three different types of guiros. Since I wasn’t dealing with real pitches, I created an “implied imaginary melody”, heard in the opening bars as if it was the statement of a fugue. My use of the title, literally meaning “as above”, is this melody and all the continuous references back to it throughout the piece. The material develops first by the use of a rhythmic counterpoint of the original subject, which is not only based on the imaginary “melody”, but is also taken from the influence of each individual guiro sound. In particular, the playing techniques lend itself naturally to the timbre of each instrument, eventually unfolding as part of my “pitch structure”. Rather than a set of variations, the “melody” and “countermelodies” are developed through the alternation between sections. This constant alternation creates tension and new sonorities to a basically monophonic texture. The specific lengths of each section are left up to the performer, similar to the dynamics in Bach’s music. Carefully balanced with the improvisatory manner of the piece, this creates an illusion of interpretive freedom with a real sense of virtuosity.
When I thought to write a collection of musical pieces for Vibes, my purpose was to give the chance to beginners, intermediate, and advanced musicians to practice different kind of music styles. I would like to think that someone could advance from the first to the tenth piece, playing these compositions and use it as a starting point of his career. Enjoy the music!
For this new album, I have composed four original pieces –"1213," "Module," "One" and "Cyclical." The compositions are all written for percussion and electronics, inspired by instruments I have discovered during my travels as well as by the noises produced by found objects and aleatoric weather patterns. The instruments on the record range from gender wayang to springs, lions roar, kanjira, gongs, and electronic sound manipulation.
"1213" was instigated by the displacement of the rhythmic interval of 1213. It utilizes Balinese gamelan instruments, a large plastic tube, bells from India, numerous drums, gongs and rattles.
"Module" was written for a hybrid drum set with springs, glockenspiel and aleatoric samples of the weather outside my New York apartment.
"One" is a duet with amazing percussionist Satoshi Takeishi drawing on a South Indian Korvai with extended improvisation.
Last, "Cyclical" is a work for solo bicycle with electronic manipulation and sounds by Abelton wizard Harold Bott.
Chicago-based percussionist and composer Glenn Kotche has been called one of the most exciting, creative and promising composers and performers in modern music, receiving international attention for his "unfailing taste, technique and discipline" (Chicago Tribune). After 3 solos records, including his 2006 album Mobile (Nonesuch Records), Kotche will release his 4th studio album in 2013. Kotche has written pieces for world-renowned ensembles including Kronos Quartet, The Silk Road Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, So Percussion and Eighth Blackbird. His compositions have been performed at venues as wide-ranging as Chicagoland's Ravinia, Carnegie's Zankel Hall and Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in New York and Teatro Castro Alves in Salvador, Brazil.
In addition to his work as a composer and solo percussionist, Kotche is a member of the groundbreaking American rock band Wilco, with whom he has played since 2001. With Wilco, he has recorded the records Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Kicking Television, as well as the Grammy nominated Sky Blue Sky, Wilco (The Album) and The Whole Love and the Grammy-winning A Ghost is Born. In 2010, Kotche and his Wilco bandmates started their own music festival, Solid Sound, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). Kotche contributed a permanent sound installation to the museum's collection, created for the 2011 festival.
Beyond Wilco, Kotche records and performs regularly along with Darin Gray in the longtime rhythm duo On Fillmore. Together they have released four records, the most recent being Extended Vacation (Dead Oceans) about which Pitchfork wrote, "These seven interwoven pieces delight... it reveals two focused, imaginative composers and performers." He is also a member of the trio Loose Fur, along with Jim O’Rourke and Jeff Tweedy, who have just recorded their third studio record. A frequent collaborator, Kotche has appeared on over 90 records to date.
Kotche has twice appeared on the cover of Modern Drummer and once on the cover of Percussive Notes, the official publication of the Percussive Arts Society of which Kotche is currently a board member. He resides in Chicago with his wife and two children.