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Ingram Marshall



Early in his career, Ingram Marshall studied with a veritable who's who of electronic musicians, including Vladimir Ussachevsky, Davisowsky, Ilhan Mimaroglu, and Morton Subotnick. While teaching at Cal Arts, Marshall fell in love with Indonesian music, studying Javanese and Balinese gamelan with master Jogjakartan musician KRT Wasitodipura. Marked by its melodic repetition and dreamily altered sense of time, his early work, including Gradual Requiem, is greatly influenced by Indonesian music.

Gradual Requiem deals with questions of loss and lament, grief and resolution. Each of the piece's five sections explores a slow, gradual evolution of basic melodic, harmonic, and textural elements. In the featured section (Part Two), layers of piano and mandolin gradually swell together, repeating and elaborating on simple structures. While the acoustic instruments are electronically processed, Marshall uses electronics only as a means toward an expressive end. In this piece, he uses two four-track recorders to bounce the sounds back and forth, creating an "infinite delay" effect that is both disorienting and hypnotic. At the end of the piece, the mournful cry of the Balinese gambuh flute joins the shimmering ripples of piano and mandolin, producing a soothing cacophony of dark yet comforting sounds that recall the work of Harold Budd with Zeitgeist, Brian Eno, and The Azusa Plane.

In 2001 Marshall returned with Dark Waters, another album of beautiful ambient work. Written for English horn and tape, the title track features oboist Libby Van Cleve. Marshall writes, "The English horn is amplified and processed through several digital delay devices and mixed live with the tape part. The tape part was created using raw material garnered from sampling fragments of an old 78 rpm recording from the twenties of 'The Swan of Tuonela' by Sibelius. The 'low fi' sound and even the surface noise of the old acetate record, clearly heard at the very beginning of the piece, are essential to the dark qualities I tried to produce in this music."