I composed Tension Studies between the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011 in Brooklyn, NY. They came as a request from my friends Andy and Travis not too long after they decided to create The Living Earth Show. I said 'yes' because I admire their nimble, curious musical minds.
Both studies employ superficial narratives of tension: soft to loud, slow to fast. Within this rigid framework I explore other tensions. Some are concrete: between the strings and tuning pegs of the guitar, equal temperament and microtonality. Some are more abstract: between ambition and failure, awkwardness and extroversion.
I designated the pieces 'studies' because their goals are musical and, particularly in the first study, technical.
I wrote the electronics with a software called Max/MSP. They function primarily to highlight the overtones of the guitar and to transform several samples.
Tension Studies were commissioned by Andrew Meyerson and Travis Andrews.
Percussion [ vibraph(2), kick dr(2), sizzle cym(2), snare drum, bass drum, brake drum, almgl ] / 2 PERCUSSION VERSION
Percussion [ vibarph, kick, sizzle cym, snare drum, bass drum, brake drum, almgl ]
MOTU 828 audio interface (or equivalent)
laptop equipped with Max/MSP
MIDI foot pedal
amplification of percussion (optional)
"The evening’s most successful elements came from composers whose work is already familiar. Samuel Adams’ “Tension Study No. 1,” in a slinky rendition by guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson, offered appealingly trippy textures that bent in and out of focus."