Helwalker: Nature, Decay and Renewal in a Contemporary Opera
The opera Helwalker was recorded October 22-24, 2021 at the UCSD Recording Studio, and edited to create an audio drama as the culmination of a major composition work by the author. New musical techniques such as increased rhythmic complexity, use of polyrhythms and harmonies inspired by a Charles Mingus study combined with previous musical influences of Appalachian folk, Balinese and Javanese gamelan, Norwegian metal, and eastern European musical traditions to create the underlying musical landscape. Narrative and conceptual elements devised by the author focused on nature, decay and renewal, with reference to climate change and issues of mental health. A visual component is included: forest creature origami creations by Alex Taylor for the final song, Decomposition, and following this, photographs of the places in West Virginia which inspired the opera. All of these research and creative processes were integral in weaving together the final recorded performance.