What happens when you get too close to the sun? How much do you really like freefall?
These questions are among the most important ways I think about LETTING GO (Icarus). It’s rare for me to write music for myself, though that’s a pattern I’m hoping to change; still, this piece represents the first time in months that I’ve gotten to sit down in front of a staff, jot some notes down, and not wonder how somebody else is going to play it. The questions, at least as they print, are metaphorical; I’ve imbued into them these ideas of friendship and love in all its forms, of the cost of getting to know someone, of the joy in finding yourself careening down a path that’s unexpected and maybe a little scary.
Truly, the title was born out of my willingness to listen to the same song over and over again. I’ve had Icarus by the Australian pop-rock outfit Gunning for Allie on repeat for weeks. In their song, they recast Icarus as an astronaut intent on reaching the furthest expanses of the solar system who reflects on his journey and the sacrifices he’s made—most important among them, the girl of his dreams. It’s one of those songs I can bop along to on a good day and cry with on a bad one. So that pseudo-love story made its way into LETTING GO, but I’m not trying to recreate it.
As with all my LETTING GO installments, (Icarus) centers on performer choice and independence, with a side dish of improvisation. I’ve created a number of musical components, some listed as “flying” and some listed as “falling” (after the two questions earlier on). The performer has the option of either a) drawing the name of one of their friends out of a hat and using the idea of that person to shape their decisions in the piece or b) drawing either “flying” or “falling” out of the hat (I’d recommend putting multiples of each in) and using that to structure the work. Pedals and electronic components are optional but always encouraged.