“Folly” is a work for saxophone quartet by Mike Mower. A recorded version by his ensemble Itchy Fingers incorporated additional instrumentation, which provided the inspiration for this project. It is a rearrangement and orchestration of the piece to provide electronic accompaniment and additional space for improvisation within the performance. The accompaniment includes a combination of virtual (sampled or synthesized) instruments and audio recordings of physical instruments. The instrument tracks created are further processed with a wide variety of audio effects used in contemporary recording studios. Additionally, the computerized playback utilizes a software application called Ableton Live, which allows the user to interact with the accompaniment in real time during the performance.
This project poses both artistic and technological challenges. Artistic challenges include the development of electronic material that successfully exploits the sonic capabilities of current virtual instruments and recording studio technology, arranging and orchestrating new material that integrates with the pre-existing quartet arrangement, and creating a musical “space” for members to create extemporaneous composition (improvisation).
Technical challenges include the integration of the electronic material with the acoustic sound of the saxophone quartet during the performance, ensuring that the various improvised sections will flow seamlessly in succession (this is done during pre-production), and appropriately mixing the prerecorded material.
The piece is scheduled to be performed by Saxophobia, the EKU Jazz Saxophone Ensemble, on May 4, 2016 at the EKU Saxophone Ensembles concert, 7:30 PM in Gifford Theater. A demonstration recording of the piece will be made available for the presentation.