Composer Highlight: Drake Andersen / by and Play

Happy Tuesday to one and all! Drake Andersen is second up in our composer highlight series leading up to our show this Saturday, Jan. 23rd at Spectrum @ 7 PM! Drake has written a trio piece for cargoPlay (how is that one? does it make you think of cargo shorts?) called Fields/Poles for trio + electronics. The electronics are amazingly sparkly and we cannot wait to share it with you! 

Tell us a bit about your piece.

I suppose a good starting point would be the title: Fields/Poles. The piece is a sort of improvisation, but with certain musical instructions that are notated. The way the notations are realized, however, is flexible, so there's a tension between symbols on the page, like magnetic "poles," and the sound produced when the performer plays them. In other words, the sounds on the page are multiplied by the sounds and techniques the performer chooses in the moment--responding to her own intuition--and what she hears from the ensemble and the electronics. I think of all of these possibilities as "fields" of potential sounds. The electronics, likewise, respond to the sounds of the instruments, extending the field further in range, timbre and density.


Did you have any particularly invigorating or difficult times when writing your piece for andPlay + Martha?

I think the most difficult thing with a piece like this is finding a balance between all of the information I have to express to the performer and what will be legible and "actionable" in a performance.


What music has most recently inspired you (to write, dance, sing, be a better person, etc.)?

Cecil Taylor--amazing improviser. Here's a clip:


You are stranded on a desert island. What snack do you bring?

Is coffee a snack?


Lastly, do you have a fun fact that you have learned recently?

That the Bowie song "Wild is the Wind" (from Station to Station) is actually a Nina Simone cover:


Check out more things by Drake!