by Dan Trueman



Year: 2010

Duration: 42:00

Instrumentation: Percussion Quartet with Laptops and Turntable


Program Notes:

The performance materials for this work are available for purchase in several different formats, and the original tether controllers are avaialble for rental. If you are interested in performing this piece, please contact us for more information. We are here to help!

Unlike the anvil or pulley, the computer hides its purpose—to strike or yank will only break. What is this “tool” we call a computer? It is surely not really about computation, and what does it offer us as musical beings? neither Anvil nor Pulley is, in short, a wordless musical epic that explores the "man"/machine relationship in the digital age. Are there musical places we can travel to or musical buildings we can construct with this tool that were impossible—even for us to imagine—with its predecessors?

The cast: a turntable spinning vinyl with the fuzzy, crackling remains of some old sounding fiddles tunes; virtual metronomes, clicking relentlessly, but reset by striking some old chunks of wood; re-purposed golf video game controllers—joysticks with pull-strings, aka the tethers; a huge bass-drum with speaker drivers attached, performed with hand-held microphones, the resultant feedback tuned via digital filters changing to the key notes of a well-known Bach Prelude; difficult drum machines; four virtuoso and highly imaginative percussionists

The story: we begin with the crackle and fuzz of a needle dropping on vinyl… well, best just to look and listen... In five acts, of varying lengths and natures:

Act 1: Another Wallflower [from Long Ago]

Act 2: 120bpm [or, What is your Metronome Thinking?]

Act 3: A Cow Call [please oh Please Come Home!]

Act 4: Feedback [in Which a Famous Bach Prelude becomes Ill-Tempered]

Act 5: Hang Dog Springar [a Slow Dance]

Composing for (I really should say “with”) So Percussion is an incredible pleasure. Their collaborative and adventurous spirits (not to mention their sheer musical abilities) are awesome. In the past, I’ve had the privilege of actually performing my own music with them; while I don’t join them in neither Anvil nor Pulley, a doppelganger of sorts—in the form of a turntable—sits in.

~ Dan Trueman

New York Times Review - March 26, 2010

Austin Chronicle Review - March 19, 2010

MusicWeb International Review - March 25, 2010

The premier recording was produced by Lawson White and is available on Cantaloupe Music.

Watch Josh Quillen from So Percussion explain the interesting album package options that are available for this release!

First Performance Information:

So Percussion premiered Neither Anvil Nor Pulley in Austin, Texas on March 11, 2010 followed by the NYC premiere at Zankel/Carnegie on March 25, 2010.

Commissioning Information:

Commissioned by So Percussion