Unfavored House is a piece I wrote while struggling to give back a house I inherited in Los Angeles in the midst of the economic downturn, a gift that came with more debt than the house itself was worth at the time. The combination of grief and bad advice led me to a dark place where randomized Bach was my only comfort.
I think randomized Bach an excellent comfort for whatever ails you, actually.
And this psalm also does a very good job of capturing my sense of futility at managing legal documents and paperwork.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.
You can hear a recording of Unfavored House by visiting 24 February in A Book of Days.
Unfavored House was written to be performed in conjunction with a live Ableton session that gradually doubles the live performers’ pitches with different successively constrained random pitches each time you play the piece. (If Ableton isn’t a possibility, I can supply a pre-recorded track for a duet version of the piece, with the clav part pre-recorded, and the mandolin and guitar players live.)
If the clav part is live, the live clav and the random clav should use the same patch. The clav part doesn’t look much like what you will hear, and it will sound a little different every time you play it. The live players’ mandolin and guitar sounds should match the random doubles as closely as possible. Feel free to use different sounds in Ableton that match the mandolin and guitar more closely, or even better, sample your own instruments so that Ableton is randomizing you!
Normally, I would charge $50 for the performance materials; in these pandemic days, I welcome you to pay what seems right to you, with thanks for support of this low-key method of publishing:
- Instrumentation: synthesizer guitar mandolin violin
- Ensemble Size: 2-6
- Duration: 5-12 minutes
- Electronics: Fixed Audio Live Processing
- Video: No
- Project(s): A Book of Days
- Year: 2014