Nicholas Chase - piano, interactive electronics & video
In 2001 my mentor and close friend, composer Stephen "Lucky" Mosko gave me a book entitled: The Thirsty Sword: Sirat Antar and the Arabic Popular Epic. It was a literary analysis of the great poems of Antar, figure of Syrian folklore, a half-black slave who wins his individual freedom and eventually the hand of his beloved Abla through feats of stone-hearted bravery and incorrigible strength. Early in the stories, which number about 300 in episodes, Antar acquires a mystical sword called Djami, purportedly forged of a thunder-bolt. With Djami in hand, Antar slays not only enemies, but entire armies, the stuff on which his legends are built.
Texts about Djami are not mild: "... the sword Djami, at whose edge flow the waves of death..." and "... Djami played among them, causing the heads of warriors to fly through the air like balls, and scattering their limbs like the leaves of trees," typify the imagery describing the mythical object.
Four musical phrases with the indications "softly, patiently, gently, freely" form this solo for piano with interactive electronics and video. Real-time electronics subtly alter and expand the sound into 4-chanels, enveloping the space in an undulating sonic environment. Projections of dying, dead, and predatory insects are cast across the performance area, challenging one's sense of space and visual narrative, and enveloping the performer.