Parallel Prints

Music work with film, 2022

Music by Marcel Zaes
Film by Eli Backer

Parallel Prints #1: Nineteen Rhythm Fragments for Grand Piano (42:28)

Parallel Prints #2: Nineteen Rhythm Fragments for Drum Pads, Synthesizer, Grand Piano, and Crotales (34:24)

Written by Marcel Zaes for Yarn/Wire, 2018-2022
Realized by Yarn/Wire between 2018-2022 in Providence, New York, and Philadelphia

The live version was premiered in October 2022, at The Stone at The New School in New York

The record has been published as EVSFT004 by Editions Verde, New York, in 2022

Sequences of shaded color bars, coded in software, laid the foundation of PARALLEL PRINTS. Each member of the ensemble, for each rhythm fragment, picks a graphic sequence and realizes it against a metronome, by repeating subtle dynamic shades on a single pitch. This process, conceptual in nature, lends itself to iterations across any imaginable sound-making device or instrument, provided they allow the performer to craft subtle dynamic shades on pitched percussion. Its only requirement is that each fragment be played on a single sounding body. PARALLEL PRINTS thus creates space for negotiation in the moment of its realization, as four players closely gather around a single piano, an octave of crotales, or a tiny drum pad. Yarn/Wire demonstrated an unconditional commitment to experimentation across timbres and techniques as they fluidly moved between piano-based and percussion-based sound-makers. Their patience and persistence allowed me to spend an extensive amount of time with PARALLEL PRINTS; it enabled me to spend months, if not years, with the numerous fragments we had produced together – including the months of pandemic lockdown. The conversations with my collaborators deepened, for Yarn/Wire, Dykstra, and Backer encouraged me to take the original idea’s invitation for recombination and reconfiguration seriously. Simultaneously, Backer started shooting durational video footage in rural parts of the US, which she consequently processed with software code, constructing singular artificial composites out of a variety of durational videos. Artifacts of the process characterize her work, including the stills printed on this record. Inspired by my collaborators, after recording PARALLEL PRINTS #1 with Yarn/Wire on piano, we started capturing smaller fragments on drum pads where rhythmic data was recorded without sound, and we went on recording fragments of isolated sound on different instruments, so that endless permutations could be mechanically produced. PARALLEL PRINTS #2 I thus finished by writing software code that recombines the materials while rendering audible the computational processes themselves. Clicks, drop-outs and brisk decays suggest a sonic world that could never have been played by humans, and yet the present rhythms stem directly from Yarn/Wire’s performance. For me, the core of this work is constituted by humans who interact with a piece of conceptual technology. While necessarily some of the original idea was lost, these humans – my collaborators – have given rise to surprising and unforeseen nuances that characterize what PARALLEL PRINTS has grown into.