GUNSLINGER is an experiment in scale. Field recordings of freshly melted water from a cliff-side ice sheet dribbling onto the rocky beach below are slowed, stretched, and re-composed for two elektrik guitars. Together, the guitarists cooperate to develop a re-synthesis of each water droplet event. As the droplets begin to run together, a picture is slowly formed of a process that can’t be explained by any individual droplet; only by slowing listening patterns can we sense the long event unfolding before us. The ambience, however, comes from the open, dry climate of a wild-west shootout: the anticipation of who shoots first. Each impact becomes its own dramatic event stretched out in time, and its resonances ripple outward in the wide prairie. Or, phrased differently, what if watching an ice sheet melt was as dramatic as watching one of them old-style-wild-west shootouts?
In preparation for the performance, the musicians have been instructed to wash their sheet music every time a page has been played through, and to dry it thoroughly. The pages played on tonight have undergone two weeks of washing, and will have one more final wash this evening before they are retired. And meanwhile, one or two folks try to clean up the mess.
GUNSLINGER premiered at Howard Assembly Room on February 2018 in association with Opera North and the Centre for Audio/Visual Experimentation at University of Leeds. Recently, GUNSLINGER was featured on BBC3 Radio's Late Junction program. It was composed while in residence at Visby International Centre for Composers (Visby, SE) in 2018.