Neither the Time nor the Energy
Owen Green - 2015-

for Bowed Cardboard and Truculent Electronics

The whole bowed cardboard thing started off as a bit of a facetious gesture, a silly way of supplying a computer with control data. However, the bow and box live nearer to the threshold of instrument-hood than I’d expected, and have yielded a surprising repertoire of ways of sounding and moving. Sometimes I even play it without electronics.

Neither the Time nor the Energy is the second piece/system I’ve done around the box. As a technical matter, I’m trying to see how much of a performance’s unfolding structure can be driven by my playing within a fairly loosely specified overall shape. In other words, I have only marginally more of an idea than you about what’s going to happen. It might sound as if it has three movements, and it will last for fourtneenish minutes. The electronics are almost wholly autonomous, in practice: expect me to pull faces of occasional surprise or bafflement.

As a more poetic matter, I’m still working my way through what all these sounds could do, musically. Among the vocabulary of the box are sounds ranging from the fragile and breakable—whispers, fields of clicks, animal moans—through the more turbulent—almost-gastric creaks and unabashedly abrasive squawks. Much about the soundworld is so reminiscent of those things we’ve become habituated to through our digital means, yet so blatantly of a different source. Perhaps there’s something in there about the stories we tell about ourselves through our toys.