Michael Lytle and George Cartwright

Various Earlier Pieces

This is the earliest stuff. We are not sure where they were recorded. Probably the original concert tape was lost, and these were found on one of our early demonstration tapes for concert promoters.

“First Time” we do know was our very first concert performance. It was at a CMS concert on the first day of December 1977. I think you can see what excited us about the communication from the get go. It’s uncanny how we seem sometimes to know where the other person is going. This is a trait you will see getting better and better as we go on. - Wonderful experience, that.

George brought to the table right away three songs that were very solid: “I Die We Die You Die Doo Da Day” in which Michael dies at the end (a great crowd pleaser), a rather devastating “Blues for the Girl with the Long Red Hair” also about the death of someone George knew (these boys didn’t run from the big topics), and “Dead Heat” which he dedicated to Tim Buckley.

We were into sound. - The raw material. Michael’s experience with electronic music lead him to lots of experiments with the clarinets. Being a stopped pipe (like a church organ) and a “cylindrical bore”, the clarinet has a different overtone system than most wind instruments, they being based on the “conical bore”, oddly, even the flute. So an interesting overtone system (the first overtone is an octave and a 5th) is at play as well as a large pitch range. As far as we know, Michael is the first player to explore the clarinet in this way. Both of them use the singing and playing technique, which produces a cord effect like an electronic ring modulator. And in “Dead Heat”, we explored “sum and difference” tones. That’s an amazing acoustical event that happens when you play two very high notes that are not the same. A third note will appear that is the difference of the two, i.e. a very low note. This note will often actually flutter in your ear as if it’s coming from inside! Spooked a lot of folks out you can imagine. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t come across on tape as well as in the concert space, but you might be able to get the idea.) We were interested in pitch too, but in general, that was a bit of a sideline.

“Good Duet” was one of the several free duets we did every concert. No strings attached, no plans made, off we go.

To (4) Te (0)” was a piece we wrote together, based on one of Lytle’s 12 tone rows. You will be able to see, as we go along an interesting evolution of this piece.