hover between something and something else

String Quartet & Electronics
Written for the Mivos Quartet
in residence at the CUNY Graduate Center, Spring 2018

program note: In a scene towards the end of the film Through a Glass Darkly, an ambulance helicopter descends and a door in a house opens. Inside, Karin sees the door opened by god, while the rest of her family sees the door opened by vibrations and wind. In this piece, a recording of a helicopter, or white noise filtered to imitate the recording of a helicopter, act as a sound blanket, covering the acoustic string quartet. While some acoustic sounds emerge, most are hidden from ear. Amplification is used to generate an additional voice, distant and artificial, rather than to reinforce the acoustic sound. These voices may be heard as singular, inseparable, from a common source – or, detached, from different worlds, and irreconcilable – or, possibly, some uncanny place between.


  • acoustic string quartet (mostly covered, sometimes emerging)
  • amplified close-mic’d string quartet, randomized & fragmented (in counterpoint with the emerging acoustic sounds)
  • foot pedal clicking (triggering electronic sounds & amplification changes)
  • helicopter recording, from in my backyard in Brooklyn on June 21, 2017
  • birds recording, revealed after the helicopter flys away
  • white noise filtered (with iZotope RX4) to imitate the helicopter recording

helicopter in my backyard in Brooklyn, June 21, 2017