Vestige | Wild Rumpus

  1. Jen Wang: Adrogué
  2. Dan VanHassel: Incite!
  3. Joshua Carro: Spectral Fields in Time
  4. Radiohead (arr. VanHassel): Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
  5. Per Bloland: Solis Overture
  6. Jenny Olivia Johnson: Reflect Reflect Respond Respond (Echo and Narcissus in Reverse)

Vestige is an ambitious melding of contemporary chamber music and avant-rock. It features five works commissioned by Wild Rumpus, plus an arrangement of a Radiohead song by the ensemble's artistic director, Dan VanHassel.

Jen Wang’s Adrogué is named after a poem by Jorge Luis Borges, in which the memory of a childhood home haunts Borges as an old man. Jen says, “I loved the murky, dreamlike language and the fluidity of time and place in the poem, and I wanted to capture that ambiguity in this piece.”

Dan VanHassel says Incite!, for electric guitar and piano, “is inspired by my past as a heavy metal fan, and also by Balinese gamelan music, which I’ve studied a bit over the last few years. The two are connected in my mind, since they both tend to involve fast, aggressive rhythmic figures.”

Joshua Carro’s Spectral Fields in Time “is part of a cycle of works which are a direct response to the experience of realizing the greater sense and possibilities of sound when not constricted by traditional constructs and or expectations. The piece was created by amplifying the lowest frequencies of a cymbal, and having the ensemble echo those pitches in a series of long phrases that gradually build to the excruciating climax.”

Weird Fishes/Arpeggi originally appeared on Radiohead’s 2007 album In Rainbows. The song’s rich harmony, hypnotic polyrhythms, and seamless form lend themselves to adaptation for ensemble performance, inspiring Dan VanHassel’s arrangement for soprano, flute, clarinet, trombone, cello, contrabass, electric guitar, piano, and percussion.

Per Bloland’s Solis Overture is an overture for an opera based in part on the life and work of the obscure (possibly fictional) Norwegian author Pedr Solis. Unlike most overtures, its composition preceded that of the opera; it's almost a sketch for the larger work. It incorporates a traditional melody of the Sámi people (known outside Scandinavia as the Lapps).

In Reflect Reflect Respond Respond, Jenny Olivia Johnson explores the experience of loss and related psychological states: sadness, obsession, and the compulsion to repeat traumatic experiences. Taking J.S. Bach's chorale settings of “Jesu, meine Freude” as its inspiration, the piece, with the electronic assistance of audio delay lines, propels the listener into an ecstatic state.


Recording Josh Carro's Spectral Fields in Time.