Randall Smith


  • Randall Smith
  • Year of composition: 1999
  • Duration: 14:23
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISWC: T0727934226

InsideOut explores a new direction in my tape works. It is a piece where all the sounds were derived from four instruments of the orchestra: alto flute (C4), violin (pizz G-sharp4), E-flat clarinet (D-sharp4), and double bass (pizz B-flat2; bowed A2). The objective in this piece with the five sounds was to explore the many avenues of sonic manipulation that the technology at my disposal would permit but at the same time a trace of the sounds original signature would still be perceptible. The processing was a way of reinventing the original sounds instead of deconstructing them. What I was able to refine from the laborious task of processing from so few sounds was textured sustaining material to contrapuntal percussive types sounds. A large variety of material was produced. The next stage was to develop musical ideas from traditional forms of composition like counterpoint, rhythm and harmony into a piece that was intended purely for tape. InsideOut is the combination of the highly abstract process of the creation of sound objects and their metamorphosis into dispersed fields of polyphonic tonal languages.

InsideOut describes a journey, though it is no ordinary passage. This is a trip made under duress, the kind undertaken by the terminally ill, the desperate, or all those for whom the everyday has become part of the impossible. Its psycho-horror opening, reminiscent of Jaws or the Oedipal stringwork of Bernard Hermann, tells us instantly that all is not well in the universe. Someone is racing, though their destination is unclear, and their path never a matter of proceeding directly towards their need. The horror of this travel is that the road is being discovered as it is traversed, new obstacles, new temptations arise to lure the traveler astray. Sharp percussion breaks collide with sliding figures, old broken down melodies are hacked away at and made to dance again, unwillingly, music hall jamborees attempted and discarded. This is music designed to accompany mental gymnastics, or leaps of faith. The music begins again, this time in a smaller register, trying to shrink the world, not to pass directly from the walls of personality, but to probe a small part of it. The problem? How to pass into dance. The easy swing of life where every lifting of a water glass or stroll to the corner store is a perfect, fluid becoming. Like Homer’s Odyssey, InsideOut is a digression through small worlds, islands of experience, each demarking a facet of the whole. Its closing chords attempt resolution but occasion instead a delirious de-crescendo, an anti-climax. The traveler wakes to find they’re still on the same spot. Unmoved. Everything is the same, and in its sameness, utterly transformed.



InsideOut was realized at the composer’s studio in 1998-99 with support from the Ontario Arts Council. It premiered on April 29, 1999 at the 6th Festival Internacional de Música Contemporánea de Bogotá (Columbia).


  • April 29, 1999, Concert, Bogotá (Colombia)