Other Minds is excited to bring you an EP of two archival works from Bay Area composer Charles Boone. Both pieces take their inspiration and titles from man-made landmarks across California. Solar One from a monumental power station near the desert city of Barstow, The Watts Towers from Simon Rodia’s outsider art masterpiece in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts.
In much of his work, the composer seeks to create sonic landscapes that are simultaneously static and dynamic. Certain elements, harmony for instance, might evolve slowly or not at all, while others, rhythmic material perhaps, sprint forward along sometimes uneven paths. The musical scenery passing along the way tends to be colorful and contrasting. All of this holds true in larger ensemble pieces in the forming of their blocks of sound that range from hazy to cloudless. Both pieces exemplify these pursuits within Boone’s work.
“Solar One” makes use of the contrasting timbres between the flute and trumpet pairing performed here by Janet Ketchum and Mario Guarneri. Tight, parallel harmonies and cascading arpeggios mimic the sheen of the power-granting sun off of the angular array of solar panels that so unexpectedly seem to grow from the barren Mojave desert floor. “The Watts Towers” is a solo piece performed by percussionist Louis Siu. The steady, driving, rhythms occasionally interrupted by pauses and dramatic pulses echo the hand-hewn architecture of the Towers, jagged edges and jagged rhythms.