Stream: Daniel Potter – ‘2°C’

Posted by on June 11, 2015


London-based composer Daniel Potter returns with a new modern classical musing, this time a highly political meditation on climate change. Potter’s conceptual basis is rooted in the work of economist William Bordhaus, who in 1977 proposed that a 2-degree rise in the global temperature would “take the climate outside of the ranges of observations which has been made over the last several hundred years.” Potter’s piece acts in a similar way, as its icy electronic atmosphere mixes with the warmth of a grand concert hall till it’s almost as if the textures have assimilated into the everyday air. The environment calls to mind works by Edgard Varèse and Ianis Xenakis but unlike those composers, Potter doesn’t hold his notes quite as long, opting for quick “bursts or flurries of short notes separated by longer sustained tones” that were based on the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Graph of Annual Mean Temperatures.

Plotted points on the graph by Potter allowed the temperature to dictate the duration of the bursts while the y-axis dictated the intensity, dynamics, and dissonance of the notes. What’s even more impressive is Potter’s live set-up, which includes 8 channel surround sound, the audience positioned in the center, and each of the 8 brass players positioned between two speakers, revealing that the electronic elements in the piece are actually achieved from processing only the live brass players.

2°C comes out June 15th via Noremixes and stream it here.