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Lights in the Dark

Evan Fowler



Ableton Live Suite 10
Skill Level:
1 In/ 2 Out
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Video Tutorial


Taking place my senior year of high school, this portrait is much clearer in my mind. There is a fixed media track to accompany the flugelhorn, as the background image is entirely filled in.


The grief that surrounds the death of my grandmother, when I was seventeen is messy, fast, and complicated just like this movement. On the day she died she went to the doctor in the morning to have a cast removed, eight hours after that she had been diagnosed with Leukemia, and eight hours later she was dead. 


            In the aftermath of my dad’s passing, grandma had been my mom’s rock, and by extension a central part of the lives of my brother and I. The news that she was ill, and that it would be the second time our family would need to cope with cancer was devastating. This vignette begins with learning of her diagnosis, and ends with the news of her death as we traveled to the hospital.



The chords that make up the fixed media come from a modified grand piano sample tank. The chords move in a long circular motion that is invokes a feeling of stasis. Time is moving in the background, but we remain in the same place. 


The effects applied to those chords create an ethereal background that mirrors the first vignette and places the listeners and performers back in that mood. The flugelhorn has three effects. An echo delay, a frozen build reverb effect, and a combination of the two. These effects and the lines that they are employed over are meant to invoke an internal conversation in a sense bargaining. Visually this appears as two lines of music, performed by a single musician.


The combo effect creates a cacophony of sound that is deafening, this is the weight of my internal dialogue eating me up and fighting to come to the surface. Sometimes the question and answer of the early part of the movement turns into a question being answered with another question and at other times the questions go out into the music and are answered only by echoes.

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