Here's a military item for Memorial Day weekend. Seth Colter Walls, a journalist who covers the Mideast, sent me links to a personal site and a blog run by Lt. Daniel Todd Currie, who's presently serving as an engineer with the Air Force in Baghdad, helping to equip Iraqi security forces. He's also a composer. He studied with Tristan Murail at Columbia and regularly attended concerts at Miller Theatre while he was a student; his tastes run from Xenakis and Scelsi to Adams and Pärt and on to Trent Reznor and Radiohead. He's obviously had little time for composition since he's been posted in Baghdad, but he's written some ringtones that are available as MIDI files on his site — rather more dissonant and contrapuntal than the norm. He's also using GarageBand to compose some short pieces that he plans to assemble into a suite titled Green Zone Diversions. Waiting to be performed is a new piece for saxophone quartet, Study in Conductivity, which the composer calls "the wildest sax quartet ever written." I've seen the score and it is indeed pretty wild — there's one passage where pulses of 12, 13, 14, and 16 to the bar are layered in rapid streams. Please bear in mind, if you're visiting Dan's blog, that many soldiers' blogs have been shut down for a variety of reasons, so it might be helpful to avoid getting into obvious controversies if you're moved to comment. In other words, don't mention Boulez. Let's hope that he and as many others as possible over there stay safe.
Previously: John Cage in Iran.