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Fog Tropes (1981)
for brass sextet and tape 10’

Fog Tropes was composed in San Francisco in 1981 at the behest of John Adams, who was then organizing a concert series for the San Francisco Symphony called “New and Unusual Music.” A few years earlier I had put together a tape piece called simply “Fog” which used ambient sounds from around the San Francisco Bay. That ten-minute piece became the underlying “bed” for the live instrumental parts (six brass instruments, amplified and slightly reverberated).

The tape part not only uses maritime sounds for its constructive materials but vocal keenings and the unique sound of the Balinese gambuh, a long bamboo flute. Although the brass parts and tape sounds are distinct from one another there is an attempt to blend them so as to create a harmonious whole.

Many people are reminded of the San Francisco Bay when they hear this music but for me it is a piece about memory and the feeling of being lost.

– Ingram Marshall