frank stemper

PANIC 2000 (2000)
for live multi-percussionist and computer generated sounds - 13 mins.

in four continous movements
     2. DIGI-BOP


PANIC 2000 is an assault. First of all, it is very loud – not as loud as a rock concert, but similar in its intent to fill the hall with sound. Secondly, it is written as a duet between computer generated sounds and live, non-pitched percussion. At least for me, non-pitched percussion in shorter doses easily builds energy and emotion, but with the absence of familiar pitches, longer percussion pieces usually fail to relay an extended message. In PANIC 2000, nearly 13 minutes of drums, cymbals, gongs and other instruments, counterbalanced by, at times, very complex digital polyphony, create a density that will most likely be very demanding and challenging for your two little ears.

The music is divided into four continuous sections of approximately three minutes each.
DIGI- SIREN: announcing the soloist’s primitive métier;
DIGI-BOP: a common ground between 1940’s Bebop Jazz and 1960’s Frequency Modulated (FM Synthesis) sequences, including some asymmetrical exchanges that are strangely reminiscent to trading 8’s;
GLI-DIGI-SANDO: some softer, cool lines, affected blue notes, with the soloist trying to swing;
ELECTRO- BEAT: a finale, creating a fairly dense marriage between various genres of the 1960’s pop world.

 In addition to all the obvious and subliminal influences that lead to this piece, the work of Elvin Jones and Ginger Baker deserve mention.

The piece was premiered at the 2001 Vladmir Ussachevsky Computer Music Festival in Los Angeles.  The soloist was Kevin Lucas, a dynamic professional percussionist, who is also a pop star.  CHECK HIM OUT  His group, The Kevin Lucas Orchestra (formerly The Dead Musicians Society) has been scurrying up the charts for the past 20 years.  He also included PANIC 2000 on a couple of his Indy CDs. 

There have been many subsequent performance of this piece, despite its difficulty — for a percussionist it takes a grand chunk of time to put it all together and coordinate the live part with the computer.  For example, after all the percussion equipment is set up, and there is a lot of it, it takes a while for the percussionist to get “inside” the ménage – and then back out again. 
Other notable performance include the 2005 Mexican premiere by Fidel Gallegos, who performed PANIC 2000 at an outdoor Music Festival in Chihuahua.  CHECK IT OUT  Fidel is a terrific performer and a hot jazz drummer.
Also, Tom Zirkle, a professor at St. Louis Community College – Forest Park, who performed the piece at the Outside the Box new music festival.

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