Michael Cutting : I AM A STRANGE LOOP V (world premiere)

Building on the short piece for Fender Rhodes & delay pedal Michael wrote for me to play at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2015, for my recital there this year he is writing me a much bigger piece, this time for the Rhodes & tape machines. We are extremely grateful to the Britten-Pears Foundation for supporting this commission. Here’s Michael’s programme note to the new work:

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I AM A STRANGE LOOP V is the expansion of This is not a Faux Wood Keyboard, a short work I wrote for Richard’s performance back in HCMF 2015. Whilst that work explored the sonic world of this iconic 1970’s keyboard with help from a simple loop pedal, I AM A STRANGE LOOP V adds multiple tape machines to the setup, making the new work as much about the performative possibilities of tape as of the Fender Rhodes itself.

Whilst the original function of these reel-to-reel tape machines was to give everyday consumers the possibility of basic recording and playback in their own homes, I’ve recently become fascinated by their potential use in live performance. The degradation of sound provides a novel answer to musical development, while the physical presence of moving tape allows for a genuine visual interaction between the live and the recorded.

I AM A STRANGE LOOP V is also the culmination of my I AM A STRANGE LOOP series, a set of varied works responding to Douglas Hofstadter’s book of the same name. Centred on the hypothesis that consciousness is a neural feedback loop generating the illusion of ‘self’, the book is an engaging and often personal journey attempting to understand the meaning of ‘I’. My IAASL series takes as its starting point the book’s focus on self-referencing, repetition and looping, exploring the relationship between difference and repetition, stasis and development, in a musical context.”

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photo © Stuart Leech