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Liquid Fragments 1

Randall Smith

Programme notes

Liquid Fragments 1 is the first piece of a new series of mixed works that explores the weave of traditional instruments (live part) and their exfoliation (tape part). The live parts, double bass and alto flute, were composed and recorded first, then fragments of these recordings were processed in real-time producing a wide range of material for the tape section. The sounds are ‘poured’ in to fragments through different DSP processes coincident to their mixing with the other (recorded traditional instruments) tracks of sound. These mixed processes crystallize their fluid, fundamental origins in a transformation whereby ‘original,’ ‘mold’ and ‘copy’ conflate, and become one.

Liquid Fragments 1. Begun with a pulse, a heartbeat, and then a trilling flute, this is music as heard from inside the body, before the mouth has opened to name the world. Blocks of sound rise and fall as the body shifts to accommodate the mysteries of the outside. The sound of people speaking, rendered here via flute and bass, occasion a quickening of the heart, a response not so much understood as felt. Lived. Furious conversations and a lumbering gait leads to the repose of sleep. The rattle of a child’s shaker calls. A debris of percussion ensues, the household world turned into a drum ensemble of taps turned and shelves opened. The world, a sack of water and organs, shakes and stirs at every turn, admitting strange sounds, new worlds not yet seen. In preparation for entering it.



Liquid Fragments 1 was realized at the composer’s studio in 1996. It was commissioned by the ensemble Continuum Contemporary Music with support from the Ontario Arts Council. Liquid Fragments 1 premiered on June 5, 1996 by J Tracy Mortimore and Jennifer Waring in a Continuum Contemporary Music concert at the Music Gallery in Toronto.


About this recording

The present recording was realized in April 1996 and mixed in in 1999.

  • Composer(s): Randall Smith
  • Year of composition: 1996
  • Instrumentation: double bass, alto flute and stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: Continuum Contemporary Music with support from the Ontario Arts Council
  • ISWC: T0727934215
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Duration: 10:27
  • ISRC: CAD509913760