Throughout the day, Nimbus plays selections of the following pieces, composed by Rand Steiger specifically for the installation’s 32-channel Meyer Sound speaker system.
Alighting began as a solo recording by LA Phil Associate Principal Oboe Marion Arthur Kuszyk and was then transformed through digital signal processing and spatialization.
Ascension is a horn solo recorded by LA Phil Principal Horn Andrew Bain that deploys the speakers to make the music sound as if echoing through a canyon.
In Fallen Rising sopranos Kirsten Ashley Wiest and Ashley Cutright sing a setting of the Tenth Elegy of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies, translated by Yuval Sharon. Kirsten and Ashley sing in just intonation, accompanied by echoes of their own voices.
Nimbus Clarinet Canon
Recorded by LA Phil Principal Clarinet Boris Allakhverdyan, this piece has been transformed into multi-voice canon, with sometimes as many as 32 voices.
Nimbus Lament is built from a cello solo recorded by LA Phil Principal Cello Robert DeMaine
Nimbus Trumpet Canon
Everything the LA Phil Principal Trumpet Thomas Hooten plays in Nimbus Trumpet Canon is repeated with short delays across all 32 speakers, creating a spatialized canon.
Nimbus Violin Canon
Nimbus Violin Canon was recorded by LA Phil Principal Concertmaster Martin Chalifour, using a similar process to that used for the trumpet piece.
A stormy sound made from recordings of key clicks and air being blown through horn, trumpet, clarinet, and oboe, recorded by the LA Phil soloists featured in the solo pieces listed above.
This piece is based on the sound of the Walt Disney Concert Hall escalators, processed with resonant filters. First the sound of the escalators in the speakers turns the room upside down; then the noise is mostly filtered out, creating a just-tuned harmonic progression with tones extracted from the escalator noise.
The most whimsical piece of the set, Nimbus Dulcimer is made with recorded samples of dulcimer notes in just intonation, which bounce around the speakers in a kind of imaginary folk music.
Various recordings of the sound of water and wind, which swirls around the speakers.
A “rainstorm” made from thousands of just-tuned xylophone samples that echo in the speakers, creating a sense for the listener of being surrounded by rain.
Layers of just-tuned crotale, harp, celeste, carillon, cloud bowl, temple bell and gong samples that gradually build up, and then slow down again.
In Nimbus Piano individual just-tuned piano samples hocket among the speakers to make listeners feel as if they are in the middle of a piano sounding board. The music gradually speeds up until the notes begin to oscillate.
For Cloud Invention, 32 people were recorded reading Goethe’s poem “Howard’s Ehrengedächtnis” in the original German and in an English translation. Goethe wrote the poem as an homage to Luke Howard, the British amateur meteorologist who invented the naming schema that we still use today for describing clouds.
Cloud Whisperer is based on recordings of the same people, who also read the poem in whispering voices.
HarpCeleste is based on just-tuned samples of harp harmonics and celeste notes.
Resonant Clouds consists of ethereal sounds made by an aluminum tube played with a bass bow.
Singing Clouds is made from 15 tracks of three sopranos—Kirsten Ashley Wiest, Ashley Cutright and Hillary Young—who sing long tones in just intonation, with the sound distributed among the speakers.
Five longer pieces will accompany the 24 singers as they move about the installation, singing and ringing hand bells on select performance days. In addition, short sounds extracted from the pieces listed above are triggered by the presence of individuals as they enter and exit the escalators.
— Rand Steiger