Decay, by Claudia Molitor, is a musical project that reflects back life by existing as a constant work-in-progress. Unfinished, each performance connects with the last to provide a meditation on the slow-releasing transformations that exist in all cases of life. While Decay was conceived by Molitor, and she invited Tullis Rennie to collaborate for every concert, each performance also involved a different guest artist who, in their way, become an “author” of the piece, altering its course and leaving a mark on its timeline.
Molitor describes this process as “generative”, inviting different artistic voices to “change and challenge any sense of authoritative iteration”. It is not only the mechanics of the piece that change – along with instrumentation and musical structure, the philosophy of Decay is in flux, Molitor inviting artists to respond, in their own way, to the process her piece describes. Molitor notes the ubiquitous nature of her theme – because decay is a fact of existence, it is something we “are troubled by and drawn to in equal measures”. As such, the piece draws on individual experiences, to the personal existentialism of each artist contributing to it.
Molitor’s hope for the work to “embrace the melancholy of loss, and rejoice in the promise of change” is reflected in the process of composition itself, the idea that all elements of the piece gradually shift, and disappear entirely. It is rare that music pieces retain their name while becoming entirely different, but it is also in this way that Decay becomes reflective of life itself – of the ways that a person becomes as different as they are the same. Molitor notes that art is constantly “capturing a moment, freezing it in time, preventing it from changing”, but Decay is the opposite: it is a living thing, that will eventually transform into non-existence.
Decay was touring from 2018 to 2019, performed at hcmf//, IKLECTIK, sound, Transit (Belgium), Austin (US), November Music (Netherlands), Sound of Stockholm (Sweden). This recording brings together all the performers involved in the tour. It was produced by hcmf// and supported by PRS Foundation’s The Composers’ Fund.
1 Claudia Molitor - Decay Mix One
1 Claudia Molitor - Decay Mix Two
Artists: Alison Blunt violin | John Butcher saxophone | Kelly Jayne Jones electronics | George Kentros violin | line upon line percussion | Claudia Molitor piano, cello, electronics, voice | Sanne Rambags voice | Tullis Rennie trombone | Pete Stolley electronics | Gerrit Valckenaers electronics
Cat # m.m04