Clarice Jensen is a composer and cellist based in Brooklyn, NYC who graduated with an MA from the Juilliard School. In her role as the artistic director of ACME (the American Contemporary Music Ensemble), she has helped bring to life some of the most revered works of modern classical music, including pieces by Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Gavin Bryars, and more.
As a solo artist, Clarice has developed a distinctive compositional approach, improvising and layering her cello through shifting loops and a chain of electronic effects to open out and explore a series of rich, drone-based sound fields. Pulsing, visceral and full of color, her work is deeply immersive, marked by a wonderful sense of restraint and an almost hallucinatory clarity. Meditative yet with a sculptural sharpness and rigour that sets it apart from the swathe of New Age/DIY droners, she has forged a very elegant and precise vision.
Her music has been described by Self-Titled as “heavily processed, incredibly powerful neo-classical pieces that seem to come straight from another astral plane”; by Boomkat as “languorously void-touching ideas, scaling and sustaining a sublime tension”; whilst Bandcamp remarked upon “a kaleidoscope of pulsing movement rich in acoustic beating and charged with other psychoacoustic effects, constantly shifting in density and viscous timbre”.
After reading about architect Anne Tyng and her work, I became interested in the platonic solids, the five polyhedra for which each face is the same regular polygon, and the same number of polygons meet at each corner. Plato wrote about these and assigned each with an element: earth, air, fire, water and ether (quintessence). I’ve begun using these shapes to create graphic scores, and for this piece, I placed them in the following order: Icosahedron (water); Dodecahedron (quintessence); Icosahedron + Dodecahedron; Cube (earth); Octahedron (air); Cube + Octahedron; Tetrahedron (fire).
I sought to portray sound that evokes stasis and movement at the same time, and very generally, to explore the perception of sound through dimensional space and time.
I’m fascinated by what happens to my perception of time when I’m listening to music, particularly work that is minimal and long, whether it be rhythmically active or still and duration-based. My regular and deeply embedded sense of rhythm and time is replaced by complete absence, and when I’m brought back to regular rhythm (when the piece is finished), it feels like both (or neither) an eternity and a brief moment have passed. As well, when listening this way, through repetition or duration, the details of sounds become very large, changes in sound are monumental; I find myself getting lost in galaxies inside the minutiae of something my ear has attached to. What begins as a passive and placid listening experience becomes a quite dramatic and multifaceted journey. Listening to the same piece again yields a different experience.