Geoffrey Wood | Upper Downer

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Upper Downer

by Geoffrey Wood

The goal for this project was to create new pieces for the trumpet that were unlike anything currently available. I asked the composers to incorporate elements from pop, hip-hop, jazz, and electronica into their compositions.
Genre: Electronic: Experimental
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Death of a Star: Small Scale, Large Scale (feat. Drew Morton)
1:35 $0.99
2. Death of a Star: Alien Hair Waves (feat. Drew Morton)
1:34 $0.99
3. Death of a Star: That Was Too Close (feat. Drew Morton)
0:53 $0.99
4. Death of a Star: Light Hole (feat. Drew Morton)
1:55 $0.99
5. Death of a Star: Through the Devil's Canyon (feat. Drew Morton)
1:46 $0.99
6. Death of a Star: S.S. (feat. Drew Morton)
2:50 $0.99
7. Death of a Star: Im-Explosion (feat. Drew Morton)
2:06 $0.99
8. The Leaf Has Turned to Stone (feat. Sam Wells)
10:00 $0.99
9. Cräyons
11:28 $0.99
10. Second Sonata for Trumpet and Piano: I. Adagio Sostenuto (feat. Greg Hankins)
3:01 $0.99
11. Second Sonata for Trumpet and Piano: II. Allegro Scherzando (feat. Greg Hankins)
2:47 $0.99
12. Second Sonata for Trumpet and Piano: III. Adagietto; IV. Adagio, Andante, Allegro Maestoso (feat. Greg Hankins)
8:30 $0.99
13. Draw a Picture of Nobody: I.
2:32 $0.99
14. Draw a Picture of Nobody: II.
3:36 $0.99
15. Draw a Picture of Nobody: III.
3:21 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The goal for this project was to create new pieces for the trumpet that were unlike anything currently available. In order to create such unconventional music, I asked the composers to incorporate elements from pop, hip-hop, jazz, and electronica into their compositions.

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Death of A Star (2016) – Drew Morton and Geoffrey Wood

This piece is for flugelhorn and electric bass. Each movement was composed in a "semi-improvisatory" manner using different pieces of digital artwork as the source of musical inspiration. The digital artwork and more details on the inspiration can be found here:

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the leaf has turned to stone (2016) – Sam Wells

This piece is for two trumpets and electronics. Sam was inspired by the John Updike poem, "Coming Into New York." The poem can be found here:

The work opens with a simple click with the trumpets’ valve slides, a spark that ignites the ensuing progress. Through live digital signal processing this click is convolved with a filtered recording of a coal fire, the energy source that fueled the industrial expansion of our metropolises. Within the convolution two complementary hexachords are presented which outline the harmonic poles of the work (1: [D, D#, E, F#, G#, A#]; 2: [F, G, A, B, C, C#]). The trumpets repeatedly trigger more convolution creating a vibrant, unrestricted sonic world, while individually remaining within the harmony of hexachord 1. The music coalesces through slow, individually measured repetition of each pitch class of hexachord 1. This first section ends on the interval of a perfect fifth, inviting the following fanfare that marks the attainment of an organized state. As order has been achieved, complexity begins to develop and propagate. This is represented in the increasing use of mixed meters, introduction of hexachord 2 to the harmonic palate, and the increasingly muscular nature of the trumpet writing. Two defining motives of the work become clearly apparent in this section: the interval of a major second, and the polyrhythm of five against two. The combined trumpet parts rapidly progress in lock- step through both hexachords in a pseudo-serial fashion, and the parts are combined so that each note can have only one of a few partners. This limitation is used to focus on the intervals major second and major ninth. The five against two polyrhythm chiefly presents in the electronics, and emphasizes the rigid, complex musical order that is evolving. This section reaches its climax and collapses into a rigid groove that emerges out of the held fifth in the trumpets. While less rhythmically active than the preceding material this groove is defined by a clear tactus and metric ambiguity. The trumpets are in 4/4 while the bass line is in a 9/8+4/4 metric pattern. Just as our industrialized cities will dwindle as energy resources are depleted, this groove ultimately depletes its reserves and loses momentum. Emerging out of this collapse is the final section of the leaf has turned to stone. Lyrical and reminiscent, the music represents an attempt to re- build the past order and complexity that fails in the new paradigm.

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Cräyons (2015) – Patrick Geren

This piece is scored for Trumpet/Flugelhorn and String Quartet. The goal was to create a piece with unusual instrumentation that incorporated elements of popular music and jazz. The cello voice has been replaced by double bass.

Cräyons is an exploration of sound colors and fusion of genres in two continuous movements. The umlaut on the “ä” is a reference to Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, the main influence for the first movement. It uses many aspects of his Tintinnabuli technique as the foundation and uses many common-practice techniques for structure and form. Anticipation is a constant as this movement uses long, sustained melodic lines in the style of Pärt. One chord keeps this movement intact (F minor) and the motion in-out of consonance-dissonance is the driving force harmonically-melodically throughout.

The second movement was heavily influenced by Snarky Puppy’s album Sylva, Forq’s album Batch, Lee Ritenour’s album Rhythm Sessions and some Stanley Clarke. I used the tune Flight off Sylva as a model for form and structure. The transition into this movement and through the initial statement of the head is still in the harmonic style of Pärt. It isn’t until the transition into the first solo section that the rules change and I shift to a combination of harmonic parameters.

The initial progression is a contrafact from the solo section in Esbjörn Svensson Trio’s tune 800 Streets by Feet. I became enamored with Lee Ritenour’s recording and that lead me to the original by E.S.T. Once the solos finish, the head returns but everything underneath has been changed. The bass line is more active and the violins serve as the “piano” filling out the chords with sustains reminiscent of the first movement. After this statement of the head, there is a second solo section for the trumpet soloist. While that person starts the second movement on trumpet, that person switches back to flugelhorn for this section. This transitions into a fade-out or outro that finishes the piece.

The fade-out is a couple different layers working together in the context of a groove. The melody is a long, sustained line reminiscent of the first movement but mixed with romantic era harmonic qualities. This is doubled in the flugelhorn and double bass. The first violin part is influenced by the end of Snarky Puppy’s tune Atchafalaya and uses a polymeter grouped in fives. The second violin and viola fill out the chords and filter through a hemiola. All of this gives it a minimalistic and romantic feel with a groove attached.

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Second Sonata for Trumpet and Piano (2015) – John Hennecken

This piece was composed by John Hennecken. Piano performed by Greg Hankins.

In the year 1786, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart shocked his listeners with the mysterious, tension- filled introduction of the String Quartet in C Major, K. 465. Nicknamed the “dissonance quartet,” the opening of the quartet resulted in some scathing commentary. The cause of the controversy was the first four distinct pitches, in ascending order from cello to first violin: C––A-flat––E-flat––A–natural. The unorthodox cross relation between A-flat and A-natural created a stringent sound that was “way out of bounds” for the Classical common-practice. Although the composer quickly moves away from this harmony into more familiar Mozartean sounds, I have chosen to explore it further in my Second Sonata for Trumpet and Piano. The opening trumpet theme begins with the aforementioned notes, C––A-flat––E-flat––A, and then takes the idea of dissonance a step further, introducing the work’s first quartertone, E-3/4 flat. From this point, quartertones permeate the work in both surface and structure. The sonata travels an abstract narrative, the first half of which includes a mysterious slow-paced first movement and a vigorous second movement. E-flat major sonorities lighten the mood to start the lyrical third movement, before the dramatic fourth movement propels the music forward into the distant quartertone “key” of E-3/4 flat. The work features a virtuosic trumpet part that requires great stamina, lyricism, brilliant upper register, and ability to play quartertones. The piano part demands great technical facility, power, and precise staccato.

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Draw A Picture of Nobody (2015) – Brian Lewis Smith

This piece is for trumpet and tape. Brian created the backing track by using a combination of digitally created sounds and altered live recordings.

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