THE SOFT MACHINE

FOR 13 MUSICIANS · 2015

Listen soon…


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The second of four works, collectively titled Island Songs, that were written in November 2015 at the former home of Imogen Holst, Aldeburgh. These works were generously supported by the Britten-Peers and Holst foundations.

The Soft Machine is a commentary upon “coming of age” and how this period of transition has been represented by the literary and poetic works that emerged out of the Beat culturural movement. The free-form structure, vivid descriptions and onomatopoeic language of Beat culture has long-inspired creators across all artistic mediums, but Elms was drawn to this cultural movement because of the many works that documented the transition of their authors from artistic adolescence to adulthood. Some of the symbology and practices of Beat culture, such as the “cut up method” of William S. Burroughs, are used by Elms to inform the structure and harmonic content of the music; elements of the instrumentation and musical phrasing draw inspiration from bebop, a genre of music that features prominently in Beat culture. These influences and processes cumulatively comment upon the rights of passage undergone by all creators of artistic works and build towards an explosion of frenetic musical language, which is representative of the free-flowing verse, spontaneity and excitement of the Beat cultural movement.

1 CLARINET Bb
1 TRUMPET Bb
3 PERCUSSION

crotales, vibraphone, marimba, chimes, wood blocks, snare drum

1 ELECTRIC GUITAR

with amplification, delay pedal and e.bow

1 SYNTHESIZER

with amplification

1 PIANO
2 VIOLIN 1 VIOLA 1 CELLO 1 CONTRABASS DURATION: 8 MINUTES
PUBLISHED BY MUSIC SALES
ALDEBURGH, NOV 2015