Notes on the Compositions
Disc 1 (66:26)
Snowflake (1991) duration: 15:04
Snowflake is the first piece I composed after moving to Florida in 1990. It is one of the most brutal pieces I've ever written. It is scored for 11 percussionists, amplified piano and amplified celesta. In the ensemble are 20 drums tuned to different pitches, from very high to very low. The drums are played at different relative speeds, the highest (a bongo) being played very rapidly, and the lowest (a bass drum) being played very slowly. Although the piece is conducted at a steady tempo throughout, the overall effect is massively chaotic. Dr. Robert McCormick and the USF Percussion Ensemble premiered the piece in 1991 and he has programmed the piece again in recent years. The Eastman Percussion Ensemble and the Oberlin Percussion Ensemble have also performed it.
Executive Outcomes (1997) duration: 10:04
Executive Outcomes is a work for amplified piano and tape. It was composed for Drew Krause and premiered at the Bonk Festival. Drew continues to champion the work and has played it in Miami and New York. Executive Outcomes is the name of a for-hire private army in South Africa. It is a mercenary corporation that works (at least at the time I wrote the piece) across the African continent settling disputes for a price.
My Life in Seismology (1996) duration: 40:57
My Life in Seismology is the longest tape piece I've ever composed. Unlike many of my other tape pieces (The Blessing included) it employs no sampling. Acoustic, real-world sounds are avoided (or grossly distorted) in order to create a synthetic sonic environment. The old Emu modular analog synthesizer in SYCOM's Studio B was used extensively in the creation of these timbres. Erik Belgum, a writer friend of mine, suggested the title to me, which help inspire the piece's liquid rumble textures. It has a purposeful beat-less, non-sequenced feel and obsesses on long lines.
Disc 2 (70:33)
Smart Bomb (1999) duration: 17:40
Smart Bomb was composed for Ivan Wansley and the USF Symphony Band. Written in my "old school" style, it employs motives and variation and the like. The end of the piece utilizes many wind chimes, which surround the audience out of sight. After the wind chimes cease, one can hear another unusual sound which is the percussionists gently spinning coins on the floor.
Lunch (2001) duration: 22:13
Lunch was composed and recorded especially for this CD. All of the sounds were created in real-time with an acoustic piano being performed and processed with guitar pickups over the strings which then ran through digital effects processors, volume and wah-wah pedals and were amplified through a Marshal stack and large Leslie speaker. The feedback loops allowed me to make the piano sing; the string would keep vibrating as long as I wanted. This allowed me to totally transform the envelopes and timbres of the piano.
The Blessing (1995) duration: 30:20
The Blessing is probably the most eclectic mix of sound sources of any of my pieces. It combines amorphous soundscapes, pop and rock influenced music, noise and narration all in a continuous half hour event. A short snippet of Charles Manson singing and playing guitar is a unifying motif used throughout the piece (although it is so drastically transformed it may not be readily identifiable). In the middle of the piece are some excerpts from a cassette tape letter I received from my friends in New York after I had move to Minnesota when I was twelve. They are explaining all of the trouble they had gotten into since I left.
Paul Reller is an Associate Professor of Electronic Music and Music Composition at the University of South Florida and Director of its SYCOM Electronic Music Studio.
He received a BM from the University of Minnesota, Masters and Ph.D. work at the Eastman School of Music.
He studied with Samuel Adler, Dominick Argento, Paul Fetler, David Liptak, Robert Morris, Allan Schindler and Joseph Schwantner.
He lives in Tampa where in 1991 he start the Bonk Festival of New Music which he was the President or Artistic Director until 1999.
His band, Clang, has released three CDs, and he has produced albums for G.G. Allin, Tiny Tim and Crash Michell.
Since 1998 he has composed much music for theater including a musical, "The Ruins, or Meditations on the Revolutions of Empires and the Law of Nature," which was produced by the Jobsite Theater at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in 2000.