A Wilderness of Sea is a piece for choir and electronics written by Emily Shisko and me.
Wilderness was commissioned by San Francisco’s Resound Ensemble. Emily and I conceived of the piece together, Emily wrote the choir parts, and I provided the immersive electronic accompaniment. In the performance listenable above, I am performing the electronics live over a 6-channel circular loudspeaker array. The commission was to set a passage of Shakespeare, as 2016 was the 400th anniversary of his death. Neither Emily nor I had done this before, so we decided to settle on a theme (the roiling ocean) and then find a passage in a keyword-searchable database. We chose this one from Titus Andronicus:
For now I stand as one upon a rock
Environed with a wilderness of sea,
Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave,
Expecting ever when some envious surge
Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.
Turns out the passage is unimaginably brutal, so… we went dark.