Australian composer James Ledger

All Hail the Machine
2011 – 10 mins
bass clarinet and electronics
Premiere: 21 Jun 2011 – South Melbourne Town Hall – Alex Morris Recorded by ABC Classic FM

Play sample

All Hail the Machine is the third in a series of pieces for solo instrument with live electronics. Like the previous two for trumpet and vibraphone, the electronic element includes live manipulation along with pre-recorded samples of the solo instrument, in this case, the bass clarinet.

The form of the piece came from the idea of television “channel surfing”. I think most of us have idly watched several TV shows at once and hopped from channel to channel either due to the prevalence of ads or due to the mundane quality of television shows in general.

The piece begins with random non-pitched key clicks, like a strange static, that gradually become more and more pitch-centred until they come together in a full blown melodic line. This material hangs around for quite a while until, without warning, the music instantly snaps to another idea. This concept of “channel changing” then forms the entire piece. New ideas come and become interspersed with old ones. The final minutes of the piece reflect rapidly increasing scene changes until the music ends on a somewhat vehement outburst.

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