Journey on a Long String

Barton McLean

About this work:

This work might be called a “concerto” for double bass and electronics (tape). But, unlike a traditional concerto, this does not employ the typical virtuosic playing. Rather, the sultry and evocative double bass solo material, which consists of mainly harmonics, is organically interwoven into the texture of the tape part, which is often derived from double bass sounds as well. The accompaniment also includes complementary sampled sounds such as various metallic machinery and runty hinge utterances, which sound like “squeaks” at regular speed, but which, when played back at a much lower pitch, reveal a magical world of subtle gestural and melodic material. A sampled ocarina (flute-like indigenous instrument) and some use of FM systhesis sounds rounds out the accompaniment source material. Early on in his career, composer Barton McLean acheived some virtuosity on the double bass, and this capability is used in a very unusual and creative way in this work. The goal was to give this low, gruff and heavy sounding instrument a totally different voice. Also unlike a traditional concerto, there is no score for this work, as the bass part was selectively sampled and sometimes played back not at regular pitch. The overriding goal was to create a seamless work which took full advantage of the very unusual harmonics capability of this instrument, and to make a purely electronic tape work out of it. This was recorded and produced on Opcode Studio Vision software, in McLean’s analog/digital home studio. As with all of McLean’s work the distinction between analog/digital and live/tape is blurred, and the listener is only aware of a dreamy, contemplative listening experience.

Stereo CD.  Dur. 11:57. A “concerto” for double bass and electronics (tape).  Barton McLean, double bass.  Bass part uses mostly harmonics, evoking a dreamy texture. There is no score for this, as bass part was improvised and selected for the recording, although there could be a score.  Tape part (all done on Studio Vision) is a misture of further bass sounds and effects, plus some ocarina samples and many door and hinge squeaks.  Recorded on EM Records in Japan in 2006 as EM 1060CD.  

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Although I, Barton McLean, hold the copyright, I nontheless hereby gladly authorize anyone to make copies and perform the work for noncommercial and/or educational purposes providing that my name is reasonably displayed as the composer.  I do not under any circumstances authorize selecting portions of the work to appear intact in another person's composition, or to appear under any other composer's name, without my written signed authorization.

Regarding the audio file accompanying this work:  I, Barton McLean own the copyright to the composition itself.  Being aware that this work has been released on a commercial CD, and that the CD company might possess the copyright to that particular sound recording of the composition, I nonetheless claim copyright to this specific sound recording posted here, because it is not the exact recording released on CD.  Rather, it is another mix down and revision of that work which may approximate the commercial CD in most respects but nevertheless is a distinct sound recording of which I claim the copyright.

Version: C & P 2001 Barton McLean
Year composed: 2001
Duration: 00:11:48
Ensemble type: Electronic Instruments and Sound Sources
Instrumentation: ,1 Double bass soloist(s), 20 Prerecorded Sound (Tape/CD/Other)

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