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Nothingness Stimulates (2011)
for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Viola, Piano, Electric Bass, and Drum Set
Click here to view score

By closing ourselves off to certain stimuli, others can become much more present. For instance, in a quiet, empty space with little to distract us, it is possible to concentrate on sounds we usually don’t notice – perhaps an air conditioner, cars on the road outside, a flowing stream of water, or the sound of the wind. And at some point, these sounds can even begin to seem musical. The smallest things often become much more interesting when they’re not overshadowed by our usual distractions.

Nothingness Stimulates begins with only a few simple sounds, as most instruments are restricted to only one or two notes. As the soundscape settles, the capabilities of each instrument start to expand, and the texture becomes less static. By the end, the piece becomes trapped in this new texture – seemingly unable to escape – as the piano, bass, and drums pound the same notes mercilessly, until finally, the opening texture sets back in. The piece ends with the drums forcing a return to reality by cutting the sound off with the hi-hat.