An Atlas of Borderlands

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An Atlas of Borderlands is a planned ten-movement work based on Brian Eno’s album Ambient 4: On Land (1982).  On Land is comprised of musical environments inspired by places and times that Eno either directly experienced or imagined experiencing. Five of the movements in An Atlas of Borderlands: First Abraxis (Movement II), Cupid’s Cay (Movement IV), The Volo Bog (Movement VI), Second Abraxis (Movement VIII), and Duluth (Movement X), are to be musical environments inspired by remembered, misremembered, and imaginary or as yet un-experienced places and times in my life. The other five movements (Movements I, III, IV, VII, and IX) are to be interpolative “journeys” between each musical environment, scored for a “concertante string quartet” made up of the first chairs of the violins, violas and ‘celli. Below is a score of Movements II-VI, and recordings of Movements II (First Abraxis), and VI, (The Volo Bog), with more detailed descriptions of each.

II. First Abraxis
Imagine you are in Southern California near the coast, on a hillside. It is a rocky hillside, but you have found the perfect spot to lie down. The wind is blowing gently in the trees, and the sun is streaming through. The air is warm. You feel the subtle, slow, energy of the rocks, trees, and sun enveloping your body. The perfectness of this moment is almost frightening. Is everything in this moment perfectly simple or unfathomably complex?

III. [Travel.2]
This movement represents the journey from First Abraxis to The Volo Bog, scored for the concertante string quartet.

IV. Cupid’s Cay
Cupid’s Cay is a place on the coast of the island of Eleuthera, The Bahamas. When I was young, my family took a vacation there. I remember being left on a small boat as the rest of my family snorkeled nearby. The men on the boat invited me to play backgammon with them. I was concerned that my family might not come back.

V. [Travel.3]
This movement represents the journey from Cupid’s Cay to The Volo Bog, scored for the concertante string quartet.

VI. The Volo Bog
The Volo Bog is a place that actually exists in Ingleside, Illinois. I’ve never been there, but my parents have, and I’ve always heard them talk about it. This movement represents how I imagine it.

The recordings are a little rough around the edges due to a lack of rehearsal time, but they’ll give you an idea…