Daniel Buckley Music – The Prevailing Westerlies Series


Daniel Buckley rides Jackalope / sets from West by Rosemary Geseck, 1987

Daniel Buckley rides Jackalope / sets from West by Rosemary Geseck, 1987

Daniel Buckley’s Prevailing Westerlies series (audio examples below) developed experimental ideas that were brewing around the time of the completion of the composer’s 1987 opera “West]”.

Chronologically the series continued into the mid 1990s, with sporadic additions in the decades beyond.

Evocative of the mood, spirit and landscapes of the American west, they were inspired by the music of Spaghetti Western film composer Ennio Morricone, as well as American classical composer George Crumb and others. There is a surreal, ominous quality to some of the works, and a suggestion of altered states as well.

Below are snippets of several pieces from this series.

Spaghetti Western No. 1 is a dark study for prepared piano intended to portray the arrival of a dreaded gunslinger.

Down and Dusty uses sampled electric guitar, thunder and percussion, along with vocal and harmonica samples snatched from tracks of a prior Daniel Buckley piece titled “Vanishing Point.” “Vanishing Point” in turn was composed as a mood study for the Jonestown Project. Throughout his career as a composer Buckley has recycled and reinvented chunks of his musical past. This piece portrays the danger and sheer monotony of slowly making the move west.

Dust Devil is another work that uses samples from a prior piece of music to explore new sonic possibilities. In this case, the main sound sources are samples of slide banjo riffs from a study of string excitation. The gleaming sounds are produced by plucking the strings above the bar, as opposed to the normal practice of plucking between the bar and the bridge. Plucking above the bar excites string segments from both sides of the bar, and is particularly haunting when sliding the bar. As the title suggests, it is meant to evoke the motion and power of these sudden spirals that pop up all over the desert. Worth noting as well is the fact that dust devils also occur on Mars.

All rights reserved,  copyright Saguaro Furnace Music

~ by Daniel Buckley on August 19, 2011.

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