2005 | solo voice and computer | 12 Minutes
For the film by Ana Baer-Carrillo
Laine Rettmer, Voice
World Premiere: AM, Dance Ground Keriac, San Francisco, CA - May 13th, 2006
Mujeres de Juárez was created for the short film by Ana Baer-Carrillo. The film is a powerful and poignant work exploring the unsolved murders of young women plaguing the Mexican border town of Juárez since the mid 1990s. The beautiful images inspired me to create what I consider one of my most beautiful pieces. Recorded over a single night with Laine Rettmer, Mujeres de Juárez took a single process (recording in and looping snippets of music (something I began exploring in Anger, Room, Two Sides and Doleo Æternus - it is one of my favorite processes)) and overlaid it with several layers of wordless singing.
After a few weeks of rehearsal, the actual recording unfolded very quickly. A fairly straightforward improvisatory process: I would sing a line, Laine would repeat it back and I would grab it on the computer and loop it. Through a random, but delightful, circumstance, one of us accidentally hit a lower note than planned and created a whole new, much more minor, harmony than we had been working with. A happy accident led to a much more interesting piece of music. After the initial recording, we overlaid three more lines to fill out the piece. Mujeres de Juárez is one of those pieces that I still listen to regularly and it represents my first true foray into raga-based work. The melodic line that opens the composition was taken from my studies in Rāga Bilaval, which I had begun learning a few months prior from La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. The entire composition is deeply indebted to the experience of singing raga and the method in which it is learned.