Magnetic Time Series (2007-2015)

At the heart of this series is an a cappella tape work, in which sung text is cut-up and randomly placed in time via computer algorithm. As the piece goes on, the cut-up pieces of text start to drift back into their original order, as if the places in time are becoming magnetic. At the end of the exposition section, the words become audible. Additionally, the audio generated by the algorithm also is part of the cut-up and is arranged by the composer.

The instrumental parts are also part of this process, as they start with the same melodic lines as the a cappella voice, and they also start out scrambled, eventually drifting back into order. This work explores the flux in randomness and order using this magnetic time algorithm in different variations and voicings. Performers should attempt to echo the sung tape part in the articulation of their melodies when possible.

Works in Series

Places in Time become Magnetic (2007)
for fixed media

Time becomes Magnetic (2007)
for fixed media and accordion (optional)

losing love in magnetic time (2008)
for vibraphone, marimba, and fixed media

pretending in magnetic time (2015)
for bassoon, marimba, and fixed media


‘losing love in magnetic time’ was premiered by  MPDuo (Meehan/Perkins Duo) at the 2008 Dartmouth Festival of New Musics, and they received a New Music USA grant to record the work on their 2016 upcoming album along with works written by Scott Lindroth and others. It also has been performed at the New York Electro-Acoustic Music Festival 2009 by the CUNY Percussion Studio.

‘Time becomes Magnetic’ was performed as part of the ‘Every Night I Lose Control‘ setlist as well as in the Modified Arts Gallery in Phoenix, AZ, shown here. Accordion is played by Courtney Brown, and Brent Brimhall is the dancer. The dance is a live improvisation to the sound.

‘Places in Time become Magnetic’, the original one-minute work, was included in Vox Novus’s 60X60 project, both the 2008 International and Evolution Mixes.