Denis Smalley is a New Zealand born composer of electro-acoustic music. From 1976 to 1994 he lectured at my alma mater the University Of East Anglia (although he wisely left as I arrived) and he is now Professor of Music at University College London. Smalley describes his compositional approach as ‘spectromorphological’, a term which he coined and has defined in great detail but, for the sake of brevity, is ‘the perceived sonic footprint of a sound spectrum as it manifests in time’. Now you know as much as I do.
‘Pulses in Time’ was released on the UEA’s own record label in 1981, and collects music Smalley composed between 1974 and 1979. It’s a fairly easy record to listen to, although very abstract, and the way that the compositions expand and become more complex as they progress is extremely interesting and very, um, spectomorphological indeed.
Here’s short extracts from, respectively, ‘The Pulses of Time’ and ‘Chanson De Geste’. They are both long tracks, and the clips probably don’t do them justice, but I hope they at least give a feel of what Smalley is about.