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Daniel Harris: Dust Devils

This is the third movement of my Symphony of Extensions 1998 for bass clarinet controlling a MAX program driving a Kurtzweil 2500 synthesizer. All sounds are initiated by the bass clarinet. Dust Devils are those swirling small cyclones one encounters on New York City streets that can loosen a hat or lift a skirt.

The Symphonies of Extension series is a group of symphonic-length music compositions, often with interactive video, images, and lighting, that were vehicles for my traveling solo performances in the 1990s and early 2000s. They were often composed to support environmental or political causes.

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My Crowded Fireplace Mantle

A Selection of my drawings, sculptures, and ceramics on my fireplace mantle.

Sculptures, pottery, paintings, and drawings on my living room fireplace mantle.
Left to Right:
Sculptural Teapot Woman blog.danielharrismusic.com/recent-ceramic-piece/
Flagon blog.danielharrismusic.com/fully-fired-flagon/
Sculptural Teapot Sculptural Teapot blog.danielharrismusic.com/porcelain-teapot/
Three Masted Bark flic.kr/p/2ey7Xnq
Flight flic.kr/p/RTMzi2
The Cry flic.kr/p/2hRqBVb
Solitude flic.kr/p/2g9gyS4
Dragon flic.kr/p/2g9K89c
Last Man Standing flic.kr/p/2fFvbAJ
Achilles flic.kr/p/258pnxi
Gryphon Teapot flic.kr/p/2n6mbr4
The Cry Bronze blog.danielharrismusic.com/the-cry/

Against the Wall
Flagon Paint Schema (not posted)
Swimming Dragon Paint Schema flic.kr/p/2kAoqea
Swimming Dragon flic.kr/p/2nAzf6u

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Considered Fiction

Cover Art: Story Mask 6 by D.R. Harris

Considered Fiction is a selection of short stories, flash-fictions, micro-fictions & poetry written between 2012 and 2020. An ebook version can be downloaded from Blurb for $4.99 here:

https://www.blurb.com/b/10811403-considered-fiction?ebook=760739

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Digital Mobile Art Contest 2020

I submitted these three digital paintings made on my iPad Pro using the app Art Rage. This was a group I helped found in 2009 and we held two big international conventions in New York City in 2010 and 2011. A group in San Francisco assumed the group and changed the name. Except for local events, international confabs are on-line. They have an active local presence that includes art, music, film, graphics, and photography made on digital mobile devices.

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The Cry

The Cry is my first bronze cast sculpture. The very talented artists at Bronzarts in Sarasota, Florida managed to capture 99% of the detail in this very complex piece. Stevan Kuyper was the mold maker and Wayne Dyer did the cleaning, welding and detail work after the pour. They both were excellent to work with and are very knowledgable and informative about the whole process. The Cry is a bronze version of my wood sculpture The Cry. The bronze version is 8″ (20cm) tall, 11″ (28cm) with the granite base. I am currently seeking funding for a 6-foot version and buyers for the smaller version. The mold can support an edition of 20.

The Cry Presentation view

The Cry

The Cry
The Cry
The Cry Detail Head
The Cry Detail Body
The Cry Detail Neck
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Story Mask Project

These are colored sketches for a new porcelain mask project. It will be similar to the Mask as Self Portrait project, but are intended to be “story masks.” They are made using Aquarelle pencils, water brush, dip pens and color India inks.

Mask 5 Sketch
Mask 4 Sketch
Mask 3 Sketch
Mask 2 Sketch
Mask Sketch 1
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Painting Heads

Painting heads has been a decade-long project with over 650 extant examples. I call the pictures “heads,” as they are not true portraits, but representations of types, or the impression that a sitter or observed person projects. They range from informal sketches to wildly abstract versions of the real and imagined.

Most of the head paintings were made on iPhone or iPad using various painting apps. The impetus to use digital mobile devices to make art came from Mr. Harris’s longtime friend and colleague, Patricio Villarroel-Bórquez, a legendary musician and artist based in Paris.

The book Painting Heads is a teaser for a more complete volume that will contain the cream of over 700 heads made over the last decade.

Painting-Heads

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Process Music

During my tenure as a student at Eastman School of Music and Yale University’s School of Music, I kept searching for what I called a “New American Musical Language.” With the recommendation of Mel Powell, I attended the Bennington Composers Conference in 1967. There I made the happy acquaintance of Hall Overton. He was excited with my music and suggested I contact Steve Reich, one of his former pupils, when I returned to New York City in the fall. It wasn’t until the Spring of 1969 that I finally connected with Steve Reich at the New School in New York City.

In our lessons, we spoke frequently about “process” as a compositional tool and how it differed from modal, serial or more traditional compositional practices. We also discussed “phasing” techniques which figure prominently in Steve’s early tape & acoustic works. Among other topics we discussed was the psychoacoustic properties of repetition and what effects repetition had on the perception of real and imaginary sounds.

In all fairness, I must say that my prior training was invaluable and no doubt contributed to my early appreciation of Steve Reich’s music, as different as it was to any music I had been exposed to at that time, which included a host of musical “Mavericks:” Cage, Ives, Ruggles, Partch, Mingus, Monk, Dolphy, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Ornette Coleman, et al.

I composed a number of pieces using process techniques which were well received. When various performers and conductors, commissioned me to compose a work for them, they all asked that I write something in the “Minimalist” style. I never considered the music of Reich, Glass, Riley, etc., minimal in any sense of the word. The sonic and musical worlds opened up by the close listening required of this music was anything but minimal. While there was an attraction for some persons to this music because of its hypnotic effect, to serious listeners there was a whole cosmos of sound, interactions, and developments to discover and enjoy.

In my own compositions in this technique, I strove to bring a synthesis of traditional performance practices: articulation, dynamics,  expression; with techniques borrowed from tape music: phasing, delay, echo, and looping.  In Holograms rhythmic and melodic cells are emphasized and enhanced, dissonances and intervals are used to create multiple textures, difference & summation tones, looping, and phasing. In Mozart Doesn’t Phase Me Anymore for Five Trombone Choirs, five tape delays (ten reel-to-reel tape recorders) were used to build textures from simple melodic cells based on the Tuba Mirum of the Mozart Requiem. Sopwith Hemke for Four Soprano Saxophones and Tape has the live performers adding expression and articulation to a Mobius loop of 2, 3 & 4 soprano saxophones. Tempi Modulatus for Solo Clarinet & Wind Ensemble combines traditional counterpoint techniques with tape delay techniques to create metric and tempo modulations that create changing textures and rhythmic vitality.

The score for Holograms and a short sampled electronic version can be seen and heard below.

HOLOGRAMS

 

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New Nightbook Sketches

I have added ink pen to my drawing tools. I am using an  Arts Hybrid Technica 0.3mm pen by Pentel. I’ve also rediscovered my Shaeffer 585 gold nib medium-fine fountain pen.  This pen was a gift from a music composition teacher. For years, even after e-mail, I wrote 90% of my correspondence with this pen. Shaeffer black ink. (Not permanent).

There’s a certain harrowing esthetic with all the dark lines that I’m enjoying at the moment. The subject matter remains at the intersection of sleep and wakefulness where images, (erotic, mundane, and terrifying) meld into a surreal gumbo of lines.

Night Book 391

Night Book 390

Night Book 389

Night Book 389: Circus Woman

Night Book 394: Rara Avis

Night Book 396

Night Book 395

Night Book 388

Night Book 387

Night Book 386

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Prologue Five Million Yen

July 21, 1948. Sherman, Connecticut

The lanky broken man walked with short quick steps on the uneven path. His long-fingered right hand held a length of cheap grocery store clothesline. He wore jeans, a black-and-white checked wool shirt and dress slip-on shoes without socks. His thinning black hair framed his pallid complexion. The whites of his eyes had a faint blue patina. A heavy leather-and-steel orthopedic brace encircled his neck. If he was in pain, it was not apparent from his facial expression, which seemed to relax into a beatific smile with each step. His legs, which initially felt heavy, shed weight as he switched his gait to a drag-leg hop-skip. In his native Turkish-Armenian, he repeated a three-word phrase until it became an unintelligible rhythmic singsong. A large mixed-breed dog and a dachshund followed the man. Ahead was a small three-sided shack situated beside a large stone crusher, remnants of a former resident’s mining ambitions. In the shack were stacks of empty wooden wine crates. The man entered the shack, took one of the wine crates and situated it under a roof joist. Standing on the wine crate, he tied the clothesline to the joist and made a slipknot at the lower end. He stepped off the crate and pulled a piece of white chalk from his pocket. On another wine crate he wrote Good-by all my loved. He wanted to write more, but the chalk broke. He tossed the pieces of chalk out the open side of the shack onto the grass. His mind was not his own. He was ready to escape the physical pain, misery, humiliation, career failure, ridicule and recent cuckoldry he had suffered. His life had become a lie. Even his American name was a lie. He had devoted his life to art, but art had walked out on him. He removed the leather and metal brace from his neck, dropping it on the earthen floor. He could smell the rising summer heat from the quarry. He stood on the crate, put the loop of clothesline around his neck, and without hesitation kicked the wine crate from under his feet. The clothesline stretched until his toes were an inch from the earth. His weakened neck made a sharp click sound. His last exhale caused his jeans to drop to his pubis revealing the bandages around his abdomen from his recent colon surgery. The dachshund began barking. The dead man was the acknowledged father of Abstract Expressionism: the painter Arshile Gorky.

July 21, 1948. Union Square, New York City

Unknown to the thief, the click of the lock on Gorky’s Union Square studio door in New York City coincided with the crack of Gorky’s neck in Sherman, Connecticut. The object he sought was the painting on the studio’s large easel. That painting, The Unfaithful Wife, depicted a nude woman lying on her back on an unmade bed, legs akimbo. She beckoned to the man who stood at one side of the bed. Her figure was foreshortened making her head appear smaller as it receded toward the headboard at the top of the picture frame while exaggerating the size of her legs and hips. The perspective made the naked man’s erection appear larger than normal; his eyes were glistening in anticipation of sexual pleasure. Both figures were painted with wild stabbing brush and palette knife strokes. The setting was a room filled with a pale rose and yellow fog, like blood in urine. Bodily details were intensified by impasto, a technique Gorky rarely used. There was enough detail to reveal, to those who knew the subjects and the painter, that the woman was Gorky’s wife Agnes Magruder and her lover the Chilean painter Roberto Matta. The painting was small for Gorky, 20 inches wide by 26 inches high; but with the neck brace and broken collarbone from a recent auto accident, it was as large a painting as he could manage. It was signed “a Gorky.” On the back was the date 19 July 1948. The title, The Unfaithful Wife, was crudely printed in cadmium red oil paint on the back of the painting along the upper stretcher bar.

The painting had been slashed with a knife from the upper left corner to the bottom right separating the woman from the man. The knife had been thrown into the wooden floor a foot from the easel with such force that the point was buried an inch deep. The thief, Roberto Matta, removed the painting from the easel; the paint had not dried and was tacky. He carefully wrapped it in white butcher paper. He locked the door of the studio and left with the painting. Gorky’s body had yet to be discovered in Connecticut. Matta began thinking about lunch with Agnes.

December 29, 1975. 12th Arrondissement, Paris

The man, a tall handsome Russian-American artist with jet black hair, full lips and soft dark eyes, sat at a table in a cozy non-descript bar near Gare de Lyon. The room consisted of a six-stool bar with three tables along the opposite mirrored wall. Ice from the freezing rain covered the small table outside on the sidewalk. Two prostitutes sat at the bar smoking and drinking wine. The sleet blanketed holiday decorations and rendered the Monday evening rush hour streets and sidewalks treacherous. From his position behind the bar, the bartender, a short stocky man with a Stalin mustache and thick blond hair, watched the sleet and rain blur the reflected automobile lights in the bar window.

Continue reading “Prologue Five Million Yen”