Time and Fire represents a quest for a more complex and evolutionary language capable of sustaining its argument over longer stretches of time. This has led to a highly intense musical fabric which presents the listener with a very rapid turnover of material, but less in the way of obvious structural signposts. The musical ideas are seldom more than momentary, flaring up brightly for a time, only to be consumed by those coming after.
The stabilizing influence offsetting this inferno of ideas is the regular division of time — the concept of pulse, whether manifested as the periodic repetition of individual sound events or the internal micro-pulses within the spectral evolutions of the sounds themselves. Much of the most complex material in the work is underpinned by a subtle but tangible ‘beat’ which determines the placing of the main events and creates the possibility of expressive changes of tempo. It is this regular division of “time” upon which hang the apparent complexities of the white-hot surface of the music — the “fire.”
Time and Fire was realized between 1987 and ’90 in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Birmingham (UK) and premiered on September 12, 1990 during the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC ’90) at the Stevenson Hall of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow (Scotland, UK). Time and Fire was awarded Second Prize at the 19th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1991).