A word from composer Oscar van Dillen:

Electronic sound projection should immerse the audience ideally, so should come not from the front, not from the stage, but from the sides or back to create a sound surrounding the audience, to which as a counterpoint the performers, facing the audience, from their own place mix into the music.

The four lines representing the timing of the main electronic layers each represent sounds in registers varying from low (bottom line) to high (top line). This notation is provided to facilitate correct timing by ear; no click track will be provided and this music must be performed by skilled hearing.

To still further facilitate this, rough character indications are given at the start of the electronic sounds at their respective score places. There is however far more happening in the electronic music than its score here suggests; the performers must take great care to learn to listen to its ongoing heartbeat tempo of 54, because despite wobbles and fluctuations, and there being more than one simultaneously present tempo, it can be precisely heard and followed by ear; its audio conducting the performance, in a deeply and primordially musical way.

Composed for Ellyne Wieringa and Kardelen Buruk in 2024 for their Badings project, the backbone of the harmony of this 12 minute work contains a cryptic reference to the 11 letters of that composer’s name, as if a hidden geological musical layer. To find them, one should start looking for the tone letters.

The title Ichnofossils refers to trace fossils, which are fossils of life’s activities without fossilized bodily remains. Some of these, called Helmintoidea Labyrinthica from the Late Cretacious, remind of the more linear compostions of van Dillen’s own visual art, and have been an inspiration for this work.

Not only in the geological record but also in our life we are surrounded by fossils of activites of the deceased that once we knew, a fact which especially came to mind when a small find of my deceased father’s papers and sculptural models came down to me not long ago. The traces of his pen on paper are like Ichnofossils of his life to me now, allowing me to identify (handwriting) and analyze (content) in some depth parts of the living person I once knew.

In this sense, the title refers to more fossils than those set in stone, I am sure everyone cherishes some.

Duration: 12’21”

Oscar van Dillen
21 april 2024

Van Dillen’s Ichnofossils for viola and piano is published at @2024 Donemus