Timber, a collaboration with David Bithell, Terry Longshore and LeftEdge Percussion, performing Michael Gordon's Timber

Left Edge presents Michael Gordon's "Timber"



Performed by Left Edge Percussion, directed by Terry Longshore, along with a newly-created immersive video experience by faculty artists David Bithell and Cody Bustamante. Mantra Percussion, co-commissioners of Timber, write: “Michael Gordon's Timber is an evening-length tour de force, scored for six graduated, amplified, wooden Simantras (2x4s). The work brings the physicality, endurance and technique of percussion performance to a new level. In this work, Gordon shapes the music in both polyrhythmic and dynamic waves of textures — often each players' hands are in separate rhythmic 'worlds', each traversing a different dynamic contour from loud to soft to loud, similar in some respects to his solo for percussion, XY.


Adding to the aural phenomenon of Timber will be a new, immersive video work projected on three screens, created by Left Edge co-artistic director and SOU professor of Emerging Media, David Bithell, collaborating SOU Art professor Cody Bustamante.  Using drawing fragments by Bustamante, and animated by Bithell  the work creates an ever-evolving, intricate visual experience to accompany  musical material of Timber.


The featured performers and members of Left Edge Percussion will be director Terry Longshore; Master of Music in Performance students Reed Bentley, Greyson Boydstun, Jenny Gray, and Drew Wright; and senior Music Performance major Jake Riggs.


Artist Statement:

In creating a visual work to be shown alongside this performance of Michael Gordon's Timber, we set out many goals for ourselves.  We wanted to create a work that:

  • complements the visual nature of the live percussionists on stage, but doesn't overshadow them;
  • inhabits similar conceptual and aesthetic terrain as Timber, but isn't merely a visual interpretation of the composer's ideas;
  • and can be exhibited as a stand alone project in galleries and museums.


The work we created utilizes the timing of Timber as a structural backbone, but is realized via generative computer code such that each performance is unique, each shape or pattern never to be drawn exactly the same again.


The visual language we explored developed out of Cody Bustamante's series of drawings Emergent Forms / Unnatural Selection in which modular forms appear to grow into accretions with complex inner life and potential.  Images derived from this series as well as those created specifically for this project are overlapped, set in motion, and grouped into procedurally calculated meta-shapes.  As we were drawn to the intricately shifting internal rhythms in Timber (and the haunting quality of resultant sounds seemingly played by no-one), we looked for shapes and larger forms that result in complex patterning when moved or rotated against themselves.


— David Bithell and Cody Bustamante