John Close - music / tangent

From Depths Unknown

This slow, long and sombre composition grew, ironically, fom a jingle. The Tangentusers 6th contest was a straightforward enough affair, the rules said compose a jingle, length maybe 2 to 30 seconds.

So I sat with m trusty notebook PC and Tangent. The only parameter I set was for two periods only, i.e a short composition. Everything else was left up to Tangent and I put the program in Elevator mode, pumping out an endless series of compositions. From time to time I leapt in and worked on and saved a more interesting one.

One that did pop up used the Soundtrack voice in the bass in an interesting way. I increased the length of the piece, first to 16 periods and then to 64, slowed down the tempo, change the voicings and their octaves and so on. Then I sat and fiddled with the parameter editor until I'd got what I wanted.

During its evolution I thought about what the piece reminded me of. The title had come to me fairly swiftly, but where had it come from? I realized eventually that it bore some resemblance to Gavin Bryars' 'Sinking Of The Titanic', which has long been a favourite of mine.

The long version simply employs longer period times. At this time of writing I have only listened to half the long version but I think I prefer it!

John Close
Milton Keynes, England
April 2000