Essential reissue of this piece of modern composition from American composer Ingram Marshall, using brass, tape delay, Serge synth and foghorn field recordings.
The second release from Arc Light Editions is Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes/Gradual Requiem.
“Taken together, both Fog Tropes and Gradual Requiem constitute a kind of huge, sprawling Gothic fantasia that slows down the passage of time to something suggesting the rhythm of oceanic tides or the motion of celestial bodies,” says John Adams in the sleevenotes.
Originally released in 1984 on Foster Reed’s influential New Albion label (which also released work by John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, and Morton Subotnik) it has not, until now, been made available again on vinyl.
Fog Tropes began life as a series of field recordings of foghorns around the San Francisco Bay, made in 1979 for performance artist Grace Ferguson. These were then manipulated, added to, and expanded for performance with a brass section, which acts in sonorous call and answer with its industrial counterpart. In the record’s original sleevenotes, Marshall recalls: “A lot of people are reminded of San Francisco when they hear this piece, but not I. To me it is just about fog, and being lost in the fog. The brass players should sound as if they were off in a raft floating in the middle of a mist-enshrouded bay.” The tone is sombre, the rhythm tidal, the sound world an affecting piece of tape collage and modern/minimal composition, with echoing brass, gulls and sirens in the mist.
Gradual Requiem is dedicated to Marshall’s father, Harry Marshall. The piece is split into five parts, and includes a Serge synthesizer, with John Adams conducting. Tape delay and electronics are used in the sparse composition, a liminal spirit world, where familiar acoustic sound sources are processed lightly with electronic and tape manipulations and the hollow sound of the gambuh. Marshall began playing the two pieces together, later compiling them for this release. Together they mark a key moment in composition, bringing together environmental sound recordings, ethereal voices, brass and gambuh (Balinese flute), with Serge synthesizer and carefully executed tape manipulations.