Recession (2009)
for accordion and electronics [9:30]

The title Recession refers less to the contemporaneous economic collapse than to the word’s original meaning, ‘the act of receding or withdrawing.’ This sense of outward movement and continuous distancing applies to both the work’s spatialization and its musical material.

The piece opens with several layers of circling sound files, constructed in Open Music and SuperVP to create a sort of expanded microtonal accordion. The accordionist plays small fragments which then spiral outwards, transformed as they recede. After two minutes, three additive synthesizers (synthesized in real time) join in, introducing an expanded palette of timbres ranging from homogenous to rich pulsating textures. Harmonizers stretch the sound of a single pitch, while harmonies derived form ring modulation and just intervals advance the action, culminating with a cascade of just intonation triads from a single high B flat. The widely-spaced microtonal chorale heard faintly at the opening returns at the end, retreating to the distance in the final bars.

Recession was written after a year on the IRCAM composition cursus and was premiered 1 April 2009 by Pierre Cussac at IRCAM (Paris, France).