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‘Aanka’ is the Arabic word for phoenix and is the name of the brightest star in the Phoenix constellation. Taking influence from the rebirth of a phoenix, Aanka explores the process of rebuilding a small motivic idea from fragments. This piece came as a result of reflection on the ideas of rebuilding and rebirth, in particular trying to return to a point of normality after a single impactful event.

Drawing influence from the tanpura found in North Indian classical music, the electronics for Aanka is based around a drone which slowly crescendos throughout the piece to a climax in the final moments. This drone (as with all the sounds in the electronics) is built from a recording of an open E and A string on a classical guitar. The guitar meanwhile introduces harmonics based on the first sixteen partials of the drone notes. These harmonics give hints of the motivic idea that is being rebuilt throughout the piece, and are later taken over by the tape as the guitar moves into material more clearly based on the motif. The motif does not appear in its ‘pure’ form until the end of the climactic end of the piece, where the electronics quickly falls away, leaving the guitar to play the drone notes and allow them to ring out to silence.

This piece would not have been possible without my collaborator Liam Hedrick and is dedicated to him. The tape part is built from a recording of his guitar so that he will be in every performance.

Aanka by Jake Adams

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