The five movements that make up this plinky, undulating work for two amplified pianos and percussion, composed by George Crumb (b. 1929), made its debut at Swarthmore College, which commissioned it, in 1974. The percussion required for the piece is extensive, demanding tubular bells, crotales, claves, and much more, as well as slide whistle, a metal thunder sheet, the “jawbone of an ass” and a guiro for the pianists to play. Together, these ingredients comprise an atonal, unpredictable exploration of rhythm.
Avey Tare: I always liked the way that that music occupied a space. And I especially liked it when it became emotional. Makrokosmos III is all this kind of alt-piano kind of percussive stuff but then it gets really, really melodic. That got me into the idea of music that did that kind of thing [like the untitled track on Spirit They’re Gone].