Consider: Wyoming ranks tenth among the states in area, and fiftieth in population. About 584,000 people live there: that is roughly the populace of Des Moines, stretched across a hundred thousand square miles. There is a place, near the town of Buffalo, called Crazy Woman Canyon. Locals ascribe the name to the Wind out there, so forceful it begs personification, so relentless, the story goes, that it drove some early settlers insane.
In January 2014, composer/pianist Luke Gullickson found himself in a log cabin in Wyoming, at the Brush Creek Arts Foundation. "It was," he admits, "an exceptionally nice log cabin. Carpeted, insulated, with a Yamaha grand piano. But I’ve written music in countless nice rooms over the years. What counted is what was out on the other side of the walls." Out there was space that had a presence, silence that had a sound, wind that had a name.
Open is Gullickson's musical evocation of that space, an unfolding chamber-folk tapestry of improvisatory joy and granitic wonder. In a process inspired by author Haruki Murakami and Australian piano trio The Necks, Gullickson wrote a small, set amount of music each morning during his Wyoming residency, never returning to edit, finishing the piece on his last day at the ranch. He recorded the music with violist Doyle Armbrust at Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago. The music was later premiered at High Concept Laboratories with original choreography by Andrea Cerniglia of dropshift dance.