Extended Compositions


Tape/Electronic Music

Circle of Influence (2001) -for improvising quartet and tape, one page score and CD, tape realized January/February 2001(section 1-10:12: section 2-7:46: section 3-7:25)
    Written for the quartet Return To One, the tape was constructed out of recordings (performances, studio improvisations, outtakes) by the quartet and various field recordings from that period. Unlike for DPH, which has very intricate notation elements, Circle of Influence is simply three tape sections with the quartet improvising between these sections to create a piece that melds together as a seamless whole. COI was conceived, written and performed with the excitement of the previous several years of quartet work with RTO. (No live performances, recorded 2001 and never released)

Circle Within A Circle (2005-2006) - for tape and improvising percussionist (numerous live performances, recorded 2006 and released on Blind Orchid)

Discrepancy In Flow II (for John Cage) (2001-2002) -3"/3"score, tape
-as an extention of DIF I (scored for percussion quartet (and recorded by NOD), this piece came together upon the creation of the tape, made with the pause button technique on my great grandfathers stereo. The score features a large box separated into 16 boxes, each of these boxes separated by dotted lines into four boxes. Each box has "ideas", numbers, letters, question marks, black lines or shape notation. The piece was inspired by John Cage and the score name checks several Cage type "ideas" (cactus, e.e. cummings, slinkys, dance, satie, etc.) The title appears several times in the score, giving you (and me) the idea the tape could be used for "other purposes".

dream:annex (2009) - for voice, piano, organ, percussion and electronics (high female voice, piano, organ, vibraphone, tone bells, chimes, sampled material)

For DPH (1999) -for improvising trio and tape, fifteen page score (everyone reads from score - tape, woodwind, bass and percussion), CD (15:23), tape realized August/September 1999
    written for Return To One at a point when we were still a trio, this piece uses quite a few different notations as well as leaving room for solos from the group members. Several other concepts used were- pitch cells, poly-tempo melodic fragments, rhythmic notation, shape notation, and the very nice ending melodic section. Below are program notes from the debut (and only) performance - Monday, October 4, 1999 SDSU Smith Recital Hall.
   "…to me the world is sound. Sound penetrates me, linking me to the world. I give sound active meaning. By doing this I am assured of being in the sound, becoming one with them. To me this is the greatest reality. It is not that I shape anything, but rather that I desire to merge with the world." Toru Takemitsu
    After forty-seven years of running a contracting business in Encinitas, the city of Encinitas decided this year to cancel my grandfathers company's lease, thus forcing them to move. I decided to start taping some of the sounds of the yard as a way of remembering something that has been a major part of my life. During this time in my life, I was listening to and studying pieces by Kenneth Gaburo, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Tony Oxley for electronic tape and various instruments. I decided these tapes I was making would make an interesting piece.
    The tape was digitally recorded to mini-disc and later, using a four-track recorder, was overdubbed, looped, recorded backwards and pitch shifted. No effects were used. As well as a wide variety of sounds (including oil compressors, gas compressors, tractors, engines, back-up sirens, a creek and various crows and birds), the voices on the tape are - Don Hubbard, Marty Jens, Jim Jenson and myself. The piece originally started with political overtones but listening to it now, as a finished product, I believe it is simply a statement that things change. For my grandfather and my father. -NMH

Installation I (2001-2002) -for six boom boxes and six compact discs (in collaboration with Greg Buhlert)

Painting On Glass (for Oscar Fischinger) (2001-2002) -for two octets and tape (Octet #1-two pianos, two woodwinds (1-flute, clarinet; 2-clarinet, bass clarinet), guitar, bass, two percussion (1-vibes, three metal bowls; 2-marimba, chimes, large bass drum, guiro) Octet #2-trumpet, horn, tenor trombone, bass trombone, four electronics), twenty page score, first octet reads from score, separate parts for second octet, score for tape realization, tape realized 2002
    Oscar Fischinger's work came to my attention from visual artist and friend Jennifer Hopkins, who played me a few of his films late one night in the dead of a Valencia winter. I was completely enthralled and started working out a few ideas based on Fischingers work method and output, as well as being inspired by several of John Zorn and Wadada Leo Smiths chamber ensemble compositions. This piece went through a few different orchestration ideas before settling on the double octet and tape concept. Section I uses only the first octet and Section III uses only the second octet with the tape overlapping both sections and bridging sections I and II. Section I uses the opening chords for generating material for the thirteen dependent sections, with deconstructed fragments of the Section II material showing up at various points. In addition to the notated sections (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 13), there are also sections for open improvisation, as follows - 4. open percussion with section 5 used as an exit, 7. open guitar/bass with notated percussion repetition cells, 9. open piano duo, 11. open wind duo with shape notation backgrounds on cue by conductor. The use of repetition structures and overlapping textures gives clues back to Fischingers work, and the continuing strengthening of the opening chords (sections 1, 6 and 13) leads on to the tape section. Section II for tape was originally conceptualized for gamelan ensemble, but proved to difficult to allow for performance. So, the score is given in traditional gamelan notation to be realized in different ways. My original realization uses pitch-shifted metals (glockenspiel, coffee cans, brake drums and spoxe) to form the pitch matrices in the score, as well as adding overlapping meters and tempos hinted at by the score. Section III states the material hinted at and deconstructed in Section I. The material is then slowly separated and placed in new orders, deconstructing to section E, an open improvisation for the second octet. Through out Section III, the four electronics supply a constantly shifting background by preparing samples/recordings of the textural specifications of the score. The coda restates the material in a new harmonic context and provides the ending.

Darkness, Memory and the Western Wind (2001, revised 2003) -for improvising quintet, piano and tape, two page quintet score, one page piano score, CD (3:22), tape realized July 2001
    Written for the group Cosmologic, this piece was originally conceived of as a studio piece so that Scott Walton could play both the piano and bass parts. It was later expanded to include guitarist Al Scholl. The piece uses quarter-tone notation, shape notation, melodic fragments and repetition structures. The tape was constructed out of processed florescent light and clock recordings with pitch shifted brake drums entering towards the end. This section was conceived as a stepping off point for extended improvisation and a chance to have all of Cosmologic play percussion. Inspired by a strange evening to Tijuana with Greg to see Pan Sonic at Don Loope. My truck was broken into and someone stole my backpack and stickbag, nothing of any value - minidiscs from a RTO tour and a book of my poetry. This led me to think about RTO minidiscs, which I never got to listen to. So this piece is about memory consolidation, the passing of time and is dedicated to Justin Grinnell, one of the few people to attend the concert documented on a lost mindisc. This piece was performed as a whole when Rick Helzer joined the quartet Return To One at a performance on June 25th 2002.


Extended Notation Music

Departing landscapes (holding on desperately to memories i'll never keep) (2001) - one page score, transposed parts for any instrumentation

Downtime (2005) - four page score for three instruments, pages to be read in any order

empty vessels of contaminated light (2003) -for any four instruments or any four ensembles, four set of papers (four pages to each set)-1. four diagonal lines with notation concerning entrances, duration and register; 2. traditional notation on four staffs to be read in any clef; 3. shape notation, mostly long intertwining lines; 4. shape notation, mostly small dots in various shapes. Score to be realized in any order or direction.

Fourth Generation (2003) - one page score for two percussionists or any two instruments
    In Fourth Generation, the two performers read down the page thru twelve "sections", and the tension and release of the piece comes from how the performers navigate the parameters of the notation.
Structurally it incorporated loose timbral orchestrations with brief notated sections, creating an over all sense of rapid change and fast paced movement.
Fourth Generation was inspired by the percussion music of Gregg Bendian and Harris Eisenstadt.

iii (2005) - one page score for any three instruments

Litany of Disclaimers (2006) - one page score for any instrumentation

Shards of Memory (for Morton Feldman) (2001) - eight page score for high/low winds, high/low brass, high/low strings and percussion
    My first encounter with Morton Feldman's music was in the form of The King Of Denmark, Feldman's piece for solo percussion. Of course the notation fascinated me, but the underlying ideas were what stuck with me. Several years later I found Howard Slater's amazing evocative of Morton Feldman in the magazine Resonance (vol. 7, no. 1). This caused me to go back, reevaluate Feldman's music, reassess many different ideas and buy a few records I had not heard. All of this at a time when much of my thoughts and playing were on volume, energy and the extremes of development. So this was a chance to step back and disagree with a few things. The piece was originally scored for the quartet Return To One, and was later expanded and extended to its present form. Thank you Morty.

Slowly going buhlert (2002) - one page score for any two instruments

Some journeys take a lifetime (2001) - one page score for any instrumentation

Structure I (1999) -for any instrumentation, two 8.5"/11" pages, color notation on four line staff
Structure II (2002) -for any instrumentation, two 8.5"/11" pages, color notation in large boxes, four boxes to a page
    The Structure series has been a place to expand on several extended notation ideas as well as use of color in my scores. In general, the pieces have been used by improvisers who have placed their own definitions on the different notation types, allowing for a wide ranging view on what is possible from the score. These pieces have been performed almost exclusively with solo performers, although in the future I hope to see group performances of each.
Structure I uses different shapes and color notation on a four line staff to target different areas of sound and texture, and how these sounds and textures develop and overlap against each other. As the piece progresses from beginning to end, several of the main structural notations presented in the first half of the piece are presented in different contexts.
Structure II takes the original concepts presented in Structure I and places them outside of the A to B time line. The shape and color notation is presented in eight boxes (four on each page), allowing the performer(s) to concentrate on what they feel is most important, whether it be on one area of focus or the larger picture, or every degree in between.

World coming up (2001) - two page score for any instrumentation

Zeitgeist II (for trio) (1998) -for any three instruments, one 11"/17" page (later reduced to two 8.5"/11" pages for the Return To One books), shape notation on five line staff

Zeitgeist III (2007) - one page score for any three instruments


Multiple Ensemble Music

empty vessels of contaminated light (2003) -for any four instruments or any four ensembles, four set of papers (four pages to each set)-1. four diagonal lines with notation concerning entrances, duration and register; 2. traditional notation on four staffs to be read in any clef; 3. shape notation, mostly long intertwining lines; 4. shape notation, mostly small dots in various shapes. Score to be realized in any order or direction.

kaleidoscope moon I (1998-2001) five page score, everyone reads from score (soprano/alto/baritone saxophone, tenor/baritone saxophone/bass clarinet, bass, percussion-vibraphone/marimba/chimes)
This piece was conceived for four quartets - #1-soprano saxophone, vibraphone, bass clarinet, bass, #2-two tenor saxophone, marimba, bass, #3-alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, chimes, marimba, bass, #4-any four instruments. The beginning of my work for multiple ensembles, this piece was realized by the quartet Return To One overdubbing each quartet for the recording firecliffs.