For solo electric lap-steel guitar

Commissioned by Daryl Buckley/ELISION Ensemble


I have been aware of the commissioning work undertaken by Daryl Buckley for some considerable time now. His close collaborations with internationally acclaimed artists, such as Liza Lim, Timothy O’Dwyer and Richard Barrett have led to the development of substantial and important contributions to the guitar repertoire, documented with an array of highly acclaimed performances and recordings. I thus feel a great sense of personal excitement to hear of Daryl’s intension to develop a new piece for electric lap-steel guitar with myself.

Daryl’s intended exploration of a notion of ‘surface’ is absolutely interlocked with my own current creative research. The longtime preoccupation of my compositional work has focused upon a personalized musical grammar in which transformative musical processes are re-considered in terms of destructive force. Here, material identities are eroded or encrusted in compositional space before emerging into the heard surface of my compositions. Such notions have formed a wider approach to ideas of material identity in my work that I have come to refer to in my work as hybrid speciation. In such work, the emergent identity of the heard surface of a given musical passage is encouraged via the collisional entwining of multiple holistic/textural behaviours in compositional space (i.e. on the composer’s desk, outside of experienced musical time). Such a preoccupation is not concerned with the creation of some kind of composite musical organism – as the word hybrid, through its imperfection, might suggest. Yet such efforts can be better understood as a means of reimagining the compositional act as a conduit, where, appropriating terminologies from Karen Barad, intra-actions of musical agencies are permitted to diffract.[1] Such operations can be further conceptualised as an opening-out of the ends of my compositional makings, directing authorial intension into a space unpremeditated by any constituent input criterion or author, into ‘a zone of indiscernibility that is common to several forms, irreducible to any of them’.[2]

[1] Barad, Karen Michelle. Meeting the Universe Halfway : Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.   [2] Deleuze, Gilles. Francis Bacon : The Logic of Sensation. Translated by Daniel W Smith. New York; London: Continuum, 2003.                 


Approximately 20 minutes


Composer Matthew Sergeant in conversation with Daryl Buckley, guitarist and artistic direction of ELISION Ensemble. Together they explore some of the conceptual ideas that underpin some of Matthew's work, prior to beginning a collaboration on a new composition for electric lap-steel guitar.

Composer Matthew Sergeant in conversation with Daryl Buckley, guitarist and artistic direction of ELISION Ensemble. In this second video, Daryl and Matthew begin the earliest stages of a collaboration for electric lap-steel guitar. Together they explore the potential soundworlds the instrument has to offer and discuss various ways in which some of Matthew's conceptual ideas from the first video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo_n1JXGiMY) could be activated in the new composition.