Entropic Twilights

Paul Dolden

Entropic Twilights

  • Paul Dolden
  • Year of composition: 1997-2002, 03-04
  • Duration: 49:02
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: ACREQ, NAISA, Réseaux des arts médiatiques, with support from the CCA
  • ISWC: T0727341889

To Mare

Entropic Twilights is inspired by the concept of twilight, a time between states. I use it as a metaphor for our own time, situated between millennia. The constantly changing density, tempos and moods of the first part, Twilight’s Nomadic Desire, suggest a state of impatience or anticipation. Twilight’s Sleep, a medical term used to describe the morphine-induced semi-consciousness experienced by birthing mothers, evokes a slow and dreamlike state of transformation. Opening on a metric modulation to a fast tempo, the final section, Twilight’s Ritual Incantations, surges forward towards the new. The closing ritard brings the piece back to a calm, reflective state.

Although there was great anxiety about the passing of the millennnium, I chose to compose a work which is joyful and optimistic. It is a response the the philosophical perception that the postmodern world is drained of substance, meaning, value and difference. Resembling a state of entropy, everything is flatttened in the postmodern world. (Imagine the typical music listener’s library: a shelf loaded with CDs spanning centuries of music history.) This is the basis for Entropic Twilights: engaging popular and formal writing techniques in an entropic manner — as equal resources.

Entropic Twilights jumbles together commonplace musical sounds (recorded individually in my studio) such as distorted guitars; drum kits; multiple choirs of voices; large orchestras of brass, wind, reed and string instruments; percussion instruments from around the world; Gamelan orchestra instruments; as well as tams, saucepans, cooking pots, metal poles, metal plates, and wheel rims. for this piece I make them sing in sweet, sometimes ironic tonal melodies, dissonant textures, jazz grooves, hard-driving rock beats, world rhythms and complex polyrhyms. Combined through excessive multi-tracking, these materials implode from within and take on new identities beyond their worn out historical meanings.

Entropic Twilights was realized in 1997-98 and produced at the composer’s studio in 1998-99 (Twilight’s Ritual Incantations) and 1999-2000 (Twilight’s Nomadic Desire; Twilight’s Sleep); the work was revised and remixed, and remastered at the composer’s studio in Montréal in 2003-04. Twilight’s Nomadic Desire — in two sections: 12:16 and 9:46 — was commissioned by ACREQ with support from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) and premiered on September 15, 2000 at Usine C in Montréal. Twilight’s Sleep — 8:11 — was commissioned by New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA) with support from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) and premiered on September 2, 2001 during the Sound Travels Festival of Sound Art in Toronto. Twilight’s Ritual Incantations — 18:50 — was commissioned by Réseaux des arts médiatiques with support from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) and premiered on February 19, 1999 during the Rien à voir (5) concert series presented by Réseaux at La Chapelle in Montréal. The production of this work received support from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) in 1999-2000 (including the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award 1999) and from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) in 2001-02. Entropic Twilights, in its 2004 final version, premiered on April 30, 2005 during the Borderline Festival in Malmö (Sweden), where the composer was one of the invited international guest artists.


  • April 30, 2005, Borderline — Festival för ny musik: Concert, Palladium, Malmö (Sweden)