Cadence is my new sound installation for the Adam Art Gallery’s “threshold” space, available for audition Jan 24–April 15. A catalogue of final cadences – musical conclusions – generatively recombined to create a cascade of sound that perpetually defers the final barline, engaging the listener in a narrative of endings. MaxMSP programming courtesy of the indefatigable Jason Post. Metronome courtesy of Douglas Mews.
The end. Classical music fell for endings, particularly those that started as beginnings. Beginnings that are already endings. An implacable swoon. “The crash might have been the last bars of a symphony. He lay on his side amid the ruins like a wounded gladiator, a fallen horse” (Jonathan Franzen). The perfect cadence is to fall and become the fallen, the cadaver. But these endings are also recapitulations, signifying the beginning. The irrevocable return. “Now was the Sun in Western cadence low” (Thomas Milton). Beginnings and endings that persist through repetition become cadences punctuating time’s passage. “Walking and falling at the same time” (Laurie Anderson). Tempo. Measured quickly enough time becomes audible. Oscillation. The pulse, the beat ascending into pitch and timbre. Here the liquid cadence, rising and falling as “the general modulation of the voice” (Samuel Johnson). With the voice comes the self. “Listen, says a voice: some being is giving voice” (Steven Connor). The beginning.