Émissions Transparents

Paul Elwood

Innova 005



            Émissions Transparents (2016)         

1.         I.          L’ange de l’annunciation. Interlude: Magnificat        07:24

2.         II.         Voiceless Transit                                                         03:29

3.         III.        Shifting Points on Bending Grids                    02:30

4.         IV.        Where burns the love that turns it                 02:21

5.         V.         Ombres et Poussière (Shadows and Dust)                 05:17

            The Callithumpian Consort: Pablo Cano-Gomez, solo electric guitar; Yukiko Takagi, piano; Jacob Mason, mellotron;

            Mike Williams, percussion; Stephen Marotto, cello; Ross Wrightman, electronics; Stephen Drury, conductor.


6.         Banjo Player (2015)                                                    07:58

            by Christian Wolff

            Paul Elwood, five-string banjo


7.         For Arthur S. Wolff: London Improvisation 4a           08:02

            Eddie Prévost, percussion

            Paul Elwood, five-string banjo


8.         Plutonic Winds  (2015)                                               07:50

            The University of Iowa Percussion Ensemble: Aly Olson, soprano; Christine Augspurger, percussion; Andrew Veit, percussion;

            Ben Yancey, percussion; Wannapha Yannavut, percussion; Kelvin Tran, celeste; Daniel Moore, musical director and conductor.


9.         Ashe County Lament (2008)                                                   07:24

            Rose Chancler, piano

            Cary Fridley, recorded vocals

            Paul Elwood, two-channel fixed media


10. For Arthur S. Wolff: London Improvisation 4b     09:00

            Eddie Prévost, percussion

            Paul Elwood, five-string banjo


Total: 61:18


Paul Elwood and Western Wear Music Publishing.

All Rights Reserved, 2019.

innova¿ Recordings is the label of the American Composers Forum. 

www.innova.mu                www.paul-elwood.com


Émissions Tranparents (2016) - Eclectic and superb improvising guitarist Jean-Marc Montera commissioned this composition in 2015. The bulk of the work was composed in Torrevieja, Spain, in the summer of 2016 and the premiere was December 20, 2016, at the Nuit d’Hiver Festival in Marseille, France, a festival Montera organized. The composition is structured in five movements, each addressing a different metaphysical aspect of our possible communications with an “other” side. This recording features the indomitable guitarist Pablo Gomez Cano.


I.          L’ange de l’annunciation

Interlude: Magnificat   

In composing this movement I was thinking of the visitation of the angel to Mary in the New Testament, an event known as the “Angelus,” to announce the fact that she was to have a divinely conceived child. The piano solo interlude before the next movement uses pitch material upon which the movement is based interspersed with an anonymous Magnificat chorale from the Episcopal 1940 Hymnal. The repetitive bells heard on the recording evoke the Angelus, or bells rung at 6pm in spiritual communities as a call to prayer to remember this visitation.

II. Voiceless Transit

Disembodied radiophonic voices of mission control, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin are taken from the first moon landing, July 20, 1969. Invisible radio emissions have often fascinated me as almost mystical in their delivery; how could a moon landing have been possible without unseen voices traveling thousands of miles through uncharted space?

III. Shifting Points on Bending Grids

When I think of space, I think of an invisible grid charting a theoretical entity of a vacuum that has no true existence. Sound can create an unseen series of moments in time bending this imaginary cartographic grid.

IV. Where burns the love that turns it

I forget where I found this line in Dante, but it refers to the cosmos of God “where burns the love that turns it.” After hearing a section of tiny bells that I recorded on my iPhone from a clock in a museum in Edinburgh, the ensemble returns to the insistent Angelus theme in this movement.

V. Ombres et Poussière (Shadows and Dust)

In this final movement, the voice of Buzz Aldrin is heard describing “good shadows,” and “picking up some dust,” as the space capsule, the Eagle, descends to the moon’s surface. In the end, in spite of angelic visitations, space, and consciousness, we return to an existential dust.


Banjo Player (2015) - In December of 2012 I performed with Christian Wolff and Jean-Marc Montera on the Nuit d’Hiver Festival in Marseille, France, through the now-transformed and relocated GRIM (groupes recherches et improvisation musicale). On the night of the performance, I asked Wolff if he would be interested in a commission to write a composition for solo banjo.  He took some notes on the instrument and, in the spring of 2015 sent me this piece. 

For Arthur S. Wolff: London Improvisation 4a (2016) featuring Eddie Prévost, percussion. Beginning around 1965, the legendary AMM improvisational ensemble came into being with original members being Keith Rowe, guitar, Lou Gare, saxophone, and Eddie Prévost, percussion. Eventually bassist Lawrence Sheaff and pianist/cellist Cornelius Cardew were added to the mix. Composer Christian Wolff also did a stint with AMM on piano. AMM inspired many others to experiment with the so-called “free-improvisation” – improv conducted without set rules of harmony and rhythm as guiding templates for the music. The guiding rules, in my mind, are that the performers learn to listen to one another and to play off each other’s ideas. Arthur S. Wolff was one of my composition teachers when I was an undergraduate at Wichita State University. He organized free improv sessions that would go on late into the night, often in resonant stairwells, atriums, and, in one instance, in a tunnel underneath a freeway. His influence, like that of AMM, continues to this day for me and for a number of musicians with whom I was in school. Thanks, Art!


Plutonic Winds (2015) - In the summer of 2015 I called poet Albert Goldbarth, whose credentials include two National Book Critics Circle Awards and poems in The New Yorker. He’s one of my favorite all-time poets. I asked him to write a text for a piece that perhaps expresses Kansas, including the environment, among other things, since he has lived and taught in Wichita for many years; I was born and raised there. The resulting poem is infused with the meteorology and topography of the region, with a bit of science fiction. The piece is dedicated to Albert and Skyler Lovelace with thanks to Daniel Moore, whose percussion ensemble at the University of Iowa premiered and recorded the composition. Dan is a close friend, collaborator, and one of the strongest supporters of my music over the past thirty-plus years.


Jesse is back this summer,

planting windbreak trees

on his parents’ Kansas farm.

He’s tired of course, but confident

he’s busy doing the right thing.

And the wind?

It starts out on the frozen ridges

of Pluto’s furthermost satellite,

and travels to Earth,

where it hits the Great Plains

full force,

and picks up every human moan

on its way through those empty miles,

and at night sometimes you can hear it play the trees

like a blues harmonica.
© 2015 by Albert Goldbarth, used by permission of the author


Ashe County Lament (2008) - I lived in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina between 1995 and 2008. Having grown up playing banjo, I found myself surrounded by the environs and culture that helped to create the old-time and bluegrass folk tradition. The culture and music of the mountains became infused in my soul over this time and I had the pleasure of playing with a number of fabulous musicians including Cary Fridley who had played with the original Freight Hoppers. I love Cary’s voice and recorded her in my house one day singing “The Girl I Left Behind,” a tune that has been performed and recorded in a variety of forms over the years. Ashe County is in the northern part of Western North Carolina and a fertile ground for the development of this music. Over the recording of Fridley I placed electronic manipulated recordings of her voice with piano playing a live solo.  The composition was commissioned by pianist Rose Chancler who rendered this excellent performance. 


For Arthur S. Wolff: London Improvisation 4b

A continuation of London Improvisation 4a


Émissions Transparents         

Recorded September 25, 2017, at the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, Massachusetts

Jeremy Sarna - recording engineer


Banjo Player   

               Recorded September 9, 2017, University of Northern Colorado

            Ludek Drizhal - recording engineer

            Paul Elwood and Kelly Werts - editing and mixing


For Arthur S. Wolff: London Improvisation 4a

            Recorded July 22, 2016, Iklectic Creative Space, London, United Kingdom

Giovanni La Rovere - recording engineer

            Kelly Werts - mixing


Plutonic Winds

Recorded November 3, 2015, University of Iowa

James Edel - recording engineer

Daniel Moore - editing and mixing


Ashe County Lament

            Recorded October 18, 2016, University of Northern Colorado

Recording and mixing - Greg Heimbecker

Editing - Paul Elwood


For Arthur S. Wolff: London Improvisation 4b

               Recorded July 22, 2016, Iklectic Creative Space, London, United Kingdom

Giovanni La Rovere - recording engineer

            Kelly Werts - mixing


• All compositions ASCAP, Western Wear Music Publishing, except for “Banjo Player,” by Christian Wolff and Edition Peters.

• Special thanks to: Régine Esposito-Elwood, Melanie Poston, Stephen Drury, Kelly Werts, Daniel Moore, Jean-Marc Montera, Cary Fridley, Rose Chancler, Eddie Prévost, Ludek Drizhal, and Christian Wolff.

• Fedora courtesy of Hatman Jack and the Wichita Hat Works.

• Funded by the Provost’s Research, Dissemination, and Faculty Development Award, University of Northern Colorado.


Innova Director: Philip Blackburn • Operations Director: Chris Campbell • Publicist: Tim Igel

Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.