Electronic Battleship

For String Quartet and Percussion, 2015

From LOVE and a Night of Infinite Resignation

Performed by Maddy Brotherton, Joanie Shalot, Nathaniel Sattler, Henry McEwen, and Sean Goldman

Duration: 8min. 


Program Notes 

 It remains of utmost importance not to submit to the empirical opinion of post-modern conservative classicism in the aural-temporal medium of sound. Therefore, I shall not refer to the following as “program notes” as such would lead astray the mind to  more conservative ideals. Rather, with these artistic muses expressed in the neo-written fashion, I aim at defining a peak objective with which my aural interdisciplinary landscaping may provide a resolution to the anxious sound capturing systems (ears) of radical tonalists. It’s an a priori truth that the lack in performance mediums for the viola was not without purpose. Yet my goal is concerned not with the arrogant classicism found in the capitalist based structure of harmonic gestures centered on the tonic and dominant vertical sonorities (or tonality, as some pre-contemporaries would call it) but instead with the anti-structural archaic fashion of numerical expression within hyperbolic introversion. Which is why I decided to feature the viola heavily in this piece.

One might say this is a “piece” written for “string quartet” with added “percussion”, yet I’d prefer to think of it as a philosophical practice in aural sectarianism and contemporary cyclical post-numeral enhancements. The sound scape begins with a series of modular post-rhythmic anomalies which superimpose each other in a manner which can only be determined by the use of intermediately aggressive numerical processes. Each rhythmic block contains something I would like to call and anti-block which mirrors its own actions and thus doubles the outcome. As the aural movement of the work continues, one can hear a clear structure in the metronomic pendulum of the division of form.

This piece is, without a doubt, one which follows the anti-post-modern abnormality of the mortal composers of early history (even going as far back as Messaien) and it’s not divided by form but instead through a numerical pyramid of increasing and decreasing frequency and pitch, with clear divisions of moments determined by the sounds of aural attacks.

The process continues until the peak of the piece, in which I invent a convention I would like to call suspenseful post-quintal-a posteriori- instrumental and asexual divisions according to the division of sound with dramatic increase in frequenticity leading to a climactic quantal tension of note movement. Some might call this a chord progression, but again, my goal is to free the audience from the constraints of illuminati controlled tonal pessimism.

The work proceeds to end with an interpretation of the ontological proof that God exists. One may find that the ending, much like your life itself, is nothing but a series of meaningless events trapped in a cycle of neo-post-cyclicism.


About LOVE

In 2013, a study was published about mice. Researchers tortured mice as they were fed strawberries and studied their children. Not only did the original mice fear the smell of strawberries but their children and their children’s children did as well. Thus, we have confirmed the epigenetics of pain and that is where this story starts. Nebal has crafted this series of works to study radical trans-temporal queer pain.

Nebal asks his audience to answer questions that reach the core of what it means to be human; Where does pain come from? How are we to heal if we are historically and actively marginalized? When we meet Hasan and David, we are encapsulated by the way two men can suffer as they say goodbye. This moment, hundreds of years ago, mirrors the pain that Abdullah feels as he honors his lost son, Alan. Both moments echo the dichotomy of public versus private. Hasan and David’s secret relationship is hidden from their public lives; Abdullah, struggling with the appropriation of his son’s death on a Greek shoreline, takes a moment to grieve privately. These painful moments are tied together through Rabia al-Adawiyya whose soul in death, in Nebal’s words, shattered into a million pieces and lies within every queer body. I invite the audience to find the difference between suffering and love themselves and to take with them the interconnectedness of the world that Nebal has exemplified before them today.

Naomi Oster, Co-Director

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