9 sonic explorations composed for multiples of one instrument
Rosetta Stone: Music for multiples.
The idea of “multiples” — musical works composed for several identical or like-sounding instruments — has been a decades-long preoccupation of the composer Jordan Nobles. Whether it’s eight saxophones, six harps, or twenty-four vibraphones, the monochromatic ensemble presents a creative restriction that is capable of surprisingly dynamic and varied results. Taking his penchant for minimalism even further, Nobles opted to have each work on this album performed by a single musician, via multitrack recording. This has allowed him to create works that, for practical reasons, would be difficult to perform “live” (like möbius, for ten grand pianos, or air, for sixteen bass flutes), while at the same time reinforce the chromatic uniformity of each piece to an almost hyperreal level.
The works on this album span two decades and showcase a diversity of approaches to the multiples genre. Quaver, the earliest work here, utilizes rhythmic cells that phase in and out of each other; Nobles’ mallet percussion pieces, crystalline and still life, and his work for harps, typhoon, are engagingly atmospheric; air exploits alternate performance techniques to create an entirely fresh and dramatic sound world; möbius, arguably the most Cage-inspired work here, loops one-minute “strips” of music, offering glimpses at a harmony that is never heard in full; ephemera and rosetta stone are fastidiously precise, with the various musical lines interlocked by way of a rhythmic technique called hocketing; and æther reveals another great passion of Nobles: that final frontier, space, its otherworldly splendour and strangeness eerily captured by the layering of multiple wordless voices. – Mark Takeshi McGregor April, 2018
1. air – for 16 bass flutes, performed by Mark Takeshi McGregor
2. ephemera – for 4 seven-string electric guitars, performed by Adrian Verdejo
3. æther – for 12 treble voices, performed by Kelly Nobles
4. quaver – for 8 saxophones, performed by Colin MacDonald
5. crystalline – for 24 bowed vibraphones, performed by Martin Fisk
6. möbius – for 10 grand pianos, performed by Jordan Nobles
7. still life – for 8 five-octave marimbas, performed by Katie Rife
8. typhoon – for 6 harps, performed by Albertina Chan
9. rosetta stone – for multiple glass objects, performed by Daniel Tones
Recorded at Creativ Music Centre, North Vancouver, B.C.
Möbius recorded at Celebration Hall, Mountain View Cemetery
Produced and edited by Jordan Nobles
Mastering by Don Harder
Special thanks to Mark Takeshi McGregor, Kelly Nobles, Mariah Mennie, Mike Southworth, Colin MacDonald, Susana Valente, Mark Haney, David Anderson, and Mountain View Cemetery.
Cover Painting: Patricia Oblack “Daffodils for Savannah” 2007
TK461 © 2018 Redshift Music
This recording was supported by Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia.
Jordan Nobles – composer
JUNO award-winning composer Jordan Nobles is known for creating music filled with an “unearthly beauty” (Mondomagazine) that makes listeners want to “close (their) eyes and transcend into a cloud of music” (Discorder Magazine).
“Technically, there was no other word for it than that much overused modifier awesome.” Georgia Straight – Vancouver, BC
Jordan has won numerous awards for his work including a JUNO Award for ‘Classical Composition of the Year’, a Western Canadian Music Award, the International Composition Competition of the Unbound Flute Festival (Brisbane, Australia July 2016); the Sacra/Profana (San Diego 2013) , Vancouver Bach Choir (Vancouver 2008), and Polyphonos (Seattle 2011) International Composition Competitions. He placed 2nd in the International Soli fan tutti Kompositionswettbewerbs in Darmstadt, Germany and was a finalist in the C4 Choir Composition Competition in New York., as well as has been chosen to be performed in Wrocław, Poland at the International Society for Contemporary Music’s 2014 World Music Days.
“…breathtakingly beautiful sounds.” The Daily Gleaner – Fredericton, NB
In 2017, Jordan was the recipient of the Jan V. Matejcek Award from SOCAN “in recognition of his overall success in New Classical Music” and was honoured with the Barbara Pentland Award of Excellence for his “extraordinary contribution to Canadian Music”.
“…an experience of profound emotion.” Kitchener Waterloo Record – Kitchener, ON
Jordan was named the 2009 Emerging Artist in music from the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Awards. His string orchestra work Aurora was the CBC’s official entry at the UNESCO International Music Council’s International Rostrum of Composers in Lisbon, Portugal.
“..the most devastating work I’ve heard in a long time. It comes at you in ripples of heart-breaking melancholy that you only gradually acknowledge as such—you find yourself sad, then sadder, than closer to tears, then struggling not to sob, and not really knowing why. I was crushed by it…” Definitely the Opera, Toronto, ON
He continues to receive many National and International performances and commissions. He is a member of the Canadian League of Composers and an Associate of the Canadian Music Centre.
“It was a huge success…The audience was in trance and we got a standing ovation in the middle of the concert!!!!” Michael Zaugg, conductor, Choeur Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC
Recent projects included commissions for a spatial work for large wind symphony for Arizona State University, a work for soprano and chamber ensemble for the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, a concert length spatial work for the Surrey Youth Symphony, and a new commission for the Standing Wave ensemble.
“And just such a unique experience was provided, with spectacular effect, by Vancouverite Jordan Nobles‘ A Sign in Space, which scattered the musicians to the far, jagged corners of the Crystal to surround us with music of unearthly beauty. Specially written for the day, Nobles’ piece was as perfectly at home in the ROM’s Crystal as Gabrieli in St. Mark’s Basilica. And the museum-goers were caught in their tracks as they drifted in from neighbouring rooms: spellbound, they stood and spun around slowly, trying to place the sources of the sound. How long was it, ten minutes? Thirty? Time was suspended; I could have sat for hours.” Mondomagazine, Toronto, ON