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Suite from “I Am Nikola Tesla”

March 22, 2013

The Suite from I Am Nikola Tesla is now online at youtube. It contains most of the music from Theatreworks (Colorado Springs)’ 2010 production of the original play by Murray Ross and cast members Michael Cobb (Tesla), Sammie Joe Kinnett (Luke), Ludmila Bokievsky (Andjela), Bob Nash (Rex), and Margaret Kasahara (Izzy).

The play centers around Luke, a talented and troubled young man who is perhaps visited by the spirit of the great inventor. Since Tesla’s most far-reaching legacy is alternating current, I made the music mostly out of one of alternating current’s most common and irritating by-products: 60-cycle hum, which here is processed and transposed in many ways. The exceptions are a pair of imitation Balkan folk songs and three brief sound effects: Flapping wings, a thunderclap, and some Tesla-coil crackle.

I didn’t get around to doing this earlier because I was intimidated by the challenge of reducing the original four tracks to two. This turned out to be not as difficult as I feared – and the stereo mix sounds fine as long as you’re one of the six-billion-or-so people who never heard the multi-channel version. The suite includes a lot of music that didn’t make it into the play, and I’m very happy with the overall shape.

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