by Andy Harnsberger
Instrumentation: 3 sets of bongos, 5 cup gongs, 3 opera gongs, 1 tuned gong, 1 small gong
Dark Passenger is an intense, visceral ride through many different musical territories. The setup consists of three sets of bongos placed back to back, while the three performers frame the setup on three sides. This makes it possible to display the piece visually to an audience by means of a mounted camera overhead which relays a top-down view of the action to a projection screen.
The piece traverses a wide area of energies. The driving, anxious feel of the beginning is brought about through an intricate web of layered interactions and split parts. A variety of sticks, rods, brushes, and mallets are rotated through for different timbres, and the pacing of the ideas creates an audio/visual dance resembling a three-way tennis match.
By contrast, the middle section takes us to a place of calm serenity and stillness, which is brought about through cup gongs placed on the bongos and a small selection of different suspended gongs. From here we slowly transition up to the a high-energy conclusion with a frenzy of split parts.
Dark Passenger is highly entertaining to see performed live but would also make a great video interlude during stage changes.
This piece comes with a full, bound score and includes a CD-ROM containing an audio recording and all individual parts for printing.