Shrinking world​/​expanding ⏤ Josh Levine

by Sean Dowgray



Shrinking world/expanding
for crotales, almglocken, metal pipes, wood planks, stone slabs, and gong

Shrinking world/expanding is a title characteristic of many of Levine’s works. While it offers significant latitude in the underlying meaning, the work itself - the technical complexity, temporal intricacy, and extremes in energy - suggests a need for more immediate explication. For Levine, the root of Sw,e (or “swee” as we so often call it) lies in the experience of time as his parents grew older, “some things seemed to close on them but time somehow opened up.” I can say Josh and I found ourselves absorbed by this somewhat simultaneously though in our own worlds: my father passed just after breaking ground for this collaboration while his father passed shortly after the first performance.

Sw,e materializes in two distinct parts: the first which comprises almglocken, crotales, wooden planks, stone slabs, and tuned pipes. The almglocken are initially featured while single attacks in the crotales mark the core temporal structure. The tuned pipes, wooden planks, and stone slabs are introduced gradually. Their materials augment while the materials of the almglocken contract. The subsequent section revisits the materials of the first section, however translated entirely onto a single gong. Modes of attack (scraping, rubbing, striking) as well as various implements (brushes, metal mallets, cord mallets, thimbles, super balls, finger pads/nails) replace the instrumental diversity of the initial section. Two sonically disparate worlds are threaded by a core temporal structure.

Shrinking world/expanding was premiered in April 2019 at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Learning as part of Josh Levine’s fellowship presentation, Again Not the Same River.

UC San Diego | "The Grand Tour" | 10.10.19


released October 17, 2019


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