CD29 Richard O. Burdick’s
Astral Waves & Phosphor
It was in the early 1990's, just before I had my own computer and soon after, that I was writing these "Astral Waves" pieces. I like that these seem now like antiquated computer generated sounds. I am so happy to be able to present these works, like markers of my path through the latter part of the 20th century with quickly changing technologies, which are presented here and on my other recordings.
I am proud to have had opportunities to create electronic tape music; I think it's really cool that I have worked on tape music from tape manipulation styles of the 1960's, Moog and Buchla patch cord synthesizers of the 1970's and this early computer generated style of the late 1980's. Other examples of my tape music can be heard on CD5 "Let Me Out", opus 30, with its 1960's technology tape manipulation. " . . . Moments When We See . . . , " opus 44" constructed in California State University's electronic studio in 1981, and CD6 "Richard Burdick with Tape".
My piece: "Phosphor" from 1986 was written to be played in a very live space, this version, almost completely revised in 2011, in variations for solo, trios and quartets is a wonderful mix with my "avant-guard" poly-rhythmic space music style of the Astral Waves.
My Astral Waves pieces, in general, were my attempt at finding weird space music; music with mostly deep dark colors. These were written at a time when I was studying the methods of composition teacher Joseph Schillinger, who inspired me to look at complex poly rhythms.
Astral Waves I, opus 62 for horn and tape has been performed a number of times, it seems to build and build and the silences later in the piece are quite effective. This work is a cycle that happens three times with different views. I think this sort of work is important; because a student can spend hours of practice with the tape, alone in preparation for such things as a student recital. I wrote this before I had my own computer, late in 1991, so my copyist created the computer-generated-tape. The original tape part is on a cassette tape and that is probably why the pitch is at A= 437.
Astral Waves II, opus 64 for Violin, Horn and Tape takes us through expanding poly-rhythms from simple triplets to 3:4, 5:6, 7:9, 8:11, 11:13, 9:13 back to 3 and then through a version of the poly-rhythms that are slow and sustained, a third time back to the triplets and we hear the faster poly-rhythms along with sustained chords, sort of a plugging together of parts one & two. Right at the end we finally have what I might called a real melody and this is symbolic of the zodiac Aries and the landing on planet earth from stars.
Astral Waves III, opus 67 once again presents very complex poly-rhythms with "melodies" of sustained tones in the horn and violin based on when different melodic tones occur in the complex rhythmic patterns.
I recently discovered "Mind without Matter" written in 1979, when I was a freshman in College. I recorded this in a horn version. The original is scored for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Viola and Cello. It is written in a graphic notation, with only one reoccurring measure of "normal" metered notation. If I had heard this piece then, I would have written much more in this style.
Richard O. Burdick