Polytope by Daniel Corral is a multimedia microtonal performance for MIDI quartet. Performed entirely in darkness, it’s a mesmerizing dance of silhouettes of fingers over colorful glowing MIDI buttons, captured on live feed video and projected large and bright as a moving, visual score.
Polytope is rhythmically charged in the vein of musical minimalists such as Phillip Glass, Steve Reich, or Arnold Dreyblatt, but harmonically inspired by the microtonal explorations of James Tenney, Erv Wilson, or Harry Partch. The multimedia style of presentation is somewhere between a string quartet, Kraftwerk, James Turrell, and an Indonesian dhalang (master shadow puppeteer).
Onstage, four MIDI controllers sit on a small square table. A single video camera captures the view from above. The controllers are not traditional keyboards; they are glowing grids of 8×8 buttons, rotated 45° to create tonality diamonds. One musician stands before each controller. In the dark, the overhead camera captures the colorful, changing patterns of grid lights and the fast-moving silhouettes of the musician hands. The live feed video is projected in the space, creating a larger than life, colorful multimedia experience inspired by Light and Space art that also acts as an evolving, visual score.
Polytope is performed by Erin Barnes, Cory Beers, Daniel Corral, and Andrew Lessman.
Demo excerpts from Polytope:
- Sequenza 21: “Polytope is an extraordinary piece of musical and visual art… that is both accessible and compelling.”
- The Stranger: “After five minutes of this silvery, undulant tintinnabulation, I was ready to evaporate into another more sparkly and stimulating dimension than the one in which we currently suffer. This piece sounds like gamelan from Pluto—or maybe ’70s Philip Glass as interpreted by Harry Partch on his Cloud-Chamber Bowls.”
- New Classic LA (Interview): “We were lucky that Daniel had a minute to answer some questions about this piece…”
- 24700: “Composer, CalArts faculty and alumnus Daniel Corral (Music MFA 07) presents the live debut of his latest release Polytope to Automata in Los Angeles on Sunday (March 18). The concert is the featured performance of this year’s MicroFest 2018, which named its season after Corral’s work.”
- SF Gate: “A mesmerizing visual and musical spectacle”
- MetalJazz: “Musicians who know the turf”