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Time crystals

Prepared piano & percussion. 48:00.


In February of 2012, Nobel-winning physicist Frank Wilczek posted an article proposing the existence of “time crystals,” perpetually moving structures that repeat periodically in the fourth dimension. In 2016, two teams of physicists at University of Maryland and Harvard University actually created them.  Intrigued and inspired by these discoveries, Brisbane duo Clocked Out embarked on their own musical exploration of perpetual motion, pattern, and crystalline structures, forming a suite of 13 musical miniatures. Using an intricately designed constellation of percussion, prepared piano, and toy piano, Time Crystals is a kaleidoscope of shifting tone colours.


"We're taking the idea of crystal shapes, angles and lattice structures that we can visualise and transferring that to sound design," Griswold says. "What's important to me is not duplicating the mathematical structure but trying to capture the idea of the time crystals in sound."

Premiered by Clocked Out at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) in 2012, Time Crystals has toured throughout Australia and in the U.S.  The album was released by Innova in 2015.  It was featured in the World Science Festival 2017. 



“Listeners to this delightful collection of miniatures will sense the unfurling of patterns with no reference to scientific manuals. This is tonal, listener-friendly and almost foot-tapping music. It smiles, cajoles and teases, revealing the Californian origins of the duo. It’s part Henry Cowell, part John Adams minimalism, part Dave Brubeck jazz and part Beach Boys lyrical harmony. … It’s the sort of music you might find yourself playing on long road trips. Every kid in the car will have fun picking up and singing the patterns.”
—Vincent Plush


“Griswold on prepared-unprepared piano and Vanessa Tomlinson on all manner of mallets and other pitched and unpitched percussion explore rhythmic and sonic possibilities that can be ornate but deep-down have an immediacy, a homespun elemental quality. … It is music serious but whimsical, folk-some and sometimes a bit ritualistic. … This is music that is easy to like. If you want something refreshing, you can surely find it here.” [FULL ARTICLE]
—Greg Edwards



A collaborative effort by Tomlinson and Griswold, it's a dramatic but surprisingly grounded view, redolent with echoes of rhythm and blues, minimalism, and of course John Cage whose early works for prepared piano and percussion some 70 years ago blazed the trail...Time Crystals is visually engaging high class ear-candy performed with considerable aplomb by its creators. - Rodney Smith [FULL ARTICLE]



"Time Crystals was a timeless integration of minimalist ideas with contemporary classical performance style, serving to remind us all that, despite any elitist preconceptions, music of a more esoteric nature can be engaging and fun." - Sam Gillies [FULL ARTICLE]


"X-Ray Diffraction" was the highlight for me. It sounded like John Cage’s idea of an arena-rock anthem, with semi-regular beats and loud dynamics, and a give-and-take that reminded me of Keith Jarrett and Paul Motian for a minute...Very creative stuff." - Robert Bush [FULL ARTICLE]

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