Supralateral is a piece for ensemble about the molecular scatterings of light found in halos in the atmosphere. My interest in this was sparked by the complex phenomena of geometric rings, pillars, and arcs and how they could be used to think about points and lattice in the dimensions of sound. These dimensional explorations involved looking at geometric microtonality, timbral and spectral divergence, and an overarching holistic glow. Like the refraction and reflection of light through diamond shaped ice crystals, the performers use an altered form of a tetradic diamond to construct an assemblage of relations, based on the work of music theorist Ervin Wilson. I deviated from the just intonation whole number ratios as if it were a mode within a larger harmonic context. I also stretched and warped images of halos to diverge from their original shape and explore designs more in the realm of science fiction and time dilation. I wanted to create a psychedelic glowing luminescence multi-structural extrapolation of lines. This extrapolation is an imaginative continuation beyond the original image. I call this a ‘surrealist treatment’ which led me to work with surrealism in sound, taking liberties through extensions, augmentation and warping. I wanted to capture the nebulous difference between an object and a non-object. By non-object I mean the highly variable incorporeality of sound, not always part of our conscious perceptual field. Also, the misperceptions that occur in the mingling and superimpositions of time all within multi-state paradoxes.

A custom setup with paper clips stuck on between frets on with tape.

A diagram of all the microtones on the guitar 

1 – C+12c (1*)
2 – D (B/D)
3 – D#-20c (C/A)
4 – D#+27c (A/B)
5 – E+47c (D/C)
6 – F+10c (A/D)
7 – F# (C/B)

8 – F#+29c (B/C)
9 – G+14c (D/A)
10 – G#-22c (C/D)
11 – A (B/A)
12 – A+45c (A/C)
13 – A#+29c (D/B)

A list of note values taken from the tetradic diamond with cent deviations

In writing the piece, the music became more and more amorphous through a process of breaking down objects into indistinguishable parts and reshaping them into unrecognisable forms. Microtones on the baritone sax, pitch bending on the accordion, and a scordatura guitar tuning was used to obtain these values. Further microtonal intervals were created using paper clips attached in between the frets of the guitar. This is done by cutting off a piece of a paper clip using pliers and sticking it on using a small piece of tape. It is a much more economical option than buying a custom made microtonally fretted guitar, and allows guitarists to engage with non-Western tunings. 

The performer can also choose to make the cracking sounds audible as their fingers brush across the tape. I decided to keep these incidental sounds in and make them part of the aesthetic, as they contributed eccentric, unique elements to the piece. It is useful to think of the three instruments and the harmony like light shining through a prism, each angle contributes to a larger arc, contour, holistic effect. The music is dense, heavy, and low (with the use of octave pedals), reminiscent of voids in sound through degrees of noise, atemporal states, and the lateral intersections of parts. This in combination with the ‘shine’ of harmonic nodes, levels of vibration, sustained frequencies, and dissonance adds a further dimension. The whole effect is an obscurity of tone and noise perception, metric structure, and the asynchronous multitude of mutating architectures.

The piece is for accordion, e-guitar, baritone sax, video, lo-fi electronics, and a starling bird whistle, premiered by Vertixe Sonora Ensemble

See score excerpt




Friday June 21 / 7:00 p.m
Alte Schmiede

Jorge Gómez Elizondo (MEX/AT) 1986 – neue Stück (2024) accordion, saxophone, electric guitar
Frank Bedrossian (FR/AT) 1971 – Innersonic (2012) accordion, electric guitar
Lorenzo Troiani (IT/AT) 1989 – Cratere a calice . Figure Rosse (2014) accordion, electric guitar
Ines Badalo (PT/ES) 1989 – Anthophila (2021) saxophone, electric guitar
Daniel Portelli (AUS) 1986 – Supralateral (2024) accordion, saxophone, electric guitar
Esaias Järnegard (SWE) 1983 – Y (Upsilon) (2014/2022) accordion, saxophone, electric guitar

SOUND VERTIGE María Mogas  accordion  | Pablo Coello  saxophone  | Nuno Pinto  electric guitar