Other Minds Records is pleased to announce Time’s Arrow, a new collection of works by Bay Area environmental composer Christopher Luna-Mega. The album collects five previously unavailable pieces that explore the variety of methods that the composer has developed to create music from environmental sound and information.
In the liner notes of Time’s Arrow, writer Diego Villaseñor describes Luna-Mega’s process of “environmental sonic translation” as a slow process of deep listening to environmental sound, whether recorded or live, and devising “specific strategies to parametrize and notate…the most hidden and interesting aspects” of those environments. Within Luna-Mega’s practice, nature is a guide both in a structural, formal sense, and in a spiritual sense. Through the various methods that Luna-Mega uses to translate the auditory aspects of the natural world, it’s apparent that the composer’s work embodies the notion of only speaking to improve “silence.” Luna-Mega’s augmentations always serve to enhance and draw attention to the details of natural sound, not overwhelm them.
The album ranges from the delicate flute solo "La Torre de Chitor" to the dense quartet piece "The Arrow of Time," here brilliantly performed by Yarn/Wire. "Wood, Wind, and Wire" finds Luna-Mega and Diego Villaseñor improvising in the field, interacting with the sound of the natural environment, while the composer’s two "Water Studies" more rigorously engage with a similar approach, the ensemble playing detailed transcriptions of field recordings. Luna-Mega’s compositional voice is strikingly consistent, especially considering the variety of methods and approaches that the composer employs. The thick textures generate complex harmonies that stretch the limits of consonance without ever becoming grating.
Christopher Luna-Mega has carved out a unique niche in contemporary composition, sculpting music that reveals and sonifies hidden corners of the natural world. Time’s Arrow points towards the multiplicity of approaches necessary to not only understand our world but to appreciate and learn to live in harmony with it.