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recursive retent [Edition Wandelweiser]

by aaron foster breilyn & luke martin

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9:27:37 15:00
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'recursive retent' was released in June 2021 on Edition Wandelweiser as a CD, with aaron foster breilyn. I have a limited number of CDs available for shipping as well as the digital for download. You're welcome to purchase here (see Wandelweiser price for reference if you'd like), or on the E.Wandelweiser site: www.wandelweiser.de/_e-w-records/_ewr-catalogue/ewr2102.html


recursive retent (score, 2016; AFB & LM)

for two pianists, with one piano, for a long time

dedicated to michael pisaro
(because he watched—and liked—star wars)

retent: something that is retained especially in the mind
recursive: a possibly infinite procedure that is determined according to a rule or formula

block >> phrase >> note
a block consists of a phrase from each of the players; phrases are of any number of notes.

players should position themselves in opposite registers of the piano (one high, one low). the dynamic is soft overall, allowing each note to decay fully before the next (the pedal can be held down by something for the duration). each phrase consists of intervals of a 2nd (m/M) or 3rd (m/M) and is followed by a silence approximately equal to its full duration.

around 2 minutes of silence follows each block. blocks begin with a phrase from player 1 in their register, followed by its repetition by player 2 in their register. these roles should reverse at least once during the performance (for instance, after a break or during a silence).

if player 2 deviates from player 1’s phrase, player 1 must begin the phrase again immediately. player 2 should still try to complete their repetition of the first phrase before re-initiating their corrected repetition of the original phrase. if they make another error, player 1 again repeats the correct version of the phrase, and so on.

should player 1 also fail to replicate their first phrase, they should stop immediately. player 2 then may begin a new phrase (with the roles reversed).


“the project involves the impossible establishment of a group whose Telos would be to perpetually destroy itself as a group, that is to say, in Nietzschean terms: to enable the group (the Living-Together) to leap beyond ressentiment”
- Roland Barthes, from the zine ‘Friendship as a Way of Life’

this recording consists of excerpts from an eight-hour performance of this piece. when playing the version on this recording we encountered a moment in which the score’s instructions proved inadequate to an unforeseen situation. it is hard to pinpoint exactly when or why this happened. nonetheless, we had to decide (to invent) how in that moment to at once remain abstractly faithful to the score, concretely diverge from it, and also take care of one another in the process. without speaking, this was done. in this moment we were incorporated into the actualization of a score and a music that was inseparable from our relationship to one another.


released June 18, 2021

aaron foster breilyn & luke martin, piano & composers
recorded August 2018 in Seattle, WA, US at the Yellowfish Festival
mastered by luke damrosch


all rights reserved


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