Odd Partials

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Clarinetist Rachel Yoder and composer Greg Dixon join forces as Odd Partials, transforming the clarinet through effects pedals, Max/MSP, and modular synthesis, in compositions by Yoder, Dixon, Jenni Brandon, Jessi Harvey, and William O. Smith.

Clarinetist Rachel Yoder is a Seattle-area contemporary music specialist and instructor of clarinet at Western Washington University. This program features the world premiere of her composition Domestic Loops, for bass clarinet, effects pedals, and fixed media. Domestic Loops explores the repetition and cyclical nature of domestic work and caregiving through prerecorded sounds of appliances and voice with live clarinet looping—at times gritty and noisy, at times beautiful.

William O. Smith is well known to Seattle fans of experimental music. Evening Ritual (2019) was the last solo clarinet work he composed. Written for Rachel Yoder, it presents an otherworldly theatrical ritual in which a clarinetist wanders the stage—finding clarinet parts, intoning Latin, and making mysterious but beautiful sounds.

Jenni Brandon’s Cacophony for clarinet and delay pedal uses effects to envelop the listener in birdsong, while Jessi Harvey’s Tater Dreams takes the humble potato as inspiration for improvisatory clarinet explorations based on a graphic score, poetry, and notation.

Composer and sound engineer Greg Dixon embraces electronic music in all forms, from analog synthesis to Max/MSP and video game music. Serpent Hors Devours is an improvisatory modular synthesis composition created specifically for this event.

Rachel Yoder and Greg Dixon join forces as Odd Partials, a clarinet and electronics duo that performs pre-composed interactive compositions and live improvisations. The duo has appeared at the International Computer Music Conference, Society for Electroacoustic Music in the U.S. (SEAMUS) conference, the Wayward Music Series, and the University of Wyoming New Frontiers Festival.

In addition to an improvisation integrating the clarinet into a modular synth patch, on this program Odd Partials performs the live premiere of Dixon’s Mirror Lake II, which explores musical concepts of variation, reiteration, reflection, and transformation. Inspired by the poem “A History of the Sketch” by Richard Hugo, Mirror Lake II explores themes of youth, aging, revision, death, and the meditations, reflections, and daydreams of a stoic hermit sitting quietly by a lake. The performer begins on bass clarinet and finds their way through the poem, recalling youth on the E-flat clarinet and middle age on B-flat soprano clarinet, ending back on bass clarinet. The technician acts as the subconscious, adding effects, recording phrases and manipulating them or recalling them later, independent from the performer’s intentions. The effect is a journey through memory and a meditation on a lived life, with a stream-of consciousness form grounded in the repetitions, obsessions and other machinations of the human mind.