We See Things That Are Not There

Program note by Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti

“We always see things that are not there. That is profoundly sad, but it’s also profoundly hopeful too, because it could mean ‘are not there yet.’ . . . It’s hard to be in that place of uncertainty, so fear is the armor we wear,” says Wollschleger.

As with many of Wollschleger’s duos, We See Things That Are Not There is about how two people are never able to fully see each other. The piece begins with the pianist and percussionist playing the same line in unison. After this first phrase, they try to connect through their shared memory. However, the more they try to communicate, the more things drift apart. They begin to stutter, unable to recall what they were originally trying to say. Wollschleger continues, “The memory of the opening line decoheres, and the process of trying to remember becomes more important than the thing they were trying to remember in the first place.”

Matt Evans (percussion) comments on Wollschleger’s music:

To him, everything is kind of a memory, and everything is imperfect, but also potentially more beautiful. He’s fascinated by the erosion of facts and thoughts, and the weird little holes that get poked in things as they move through time.

Is it a love song? A mis-remembered nostalgic anthem? A quiet, hopeful fanfare? A frightened obsessive meandering? In allowing ourselves to be truly vulnerable we can connect with each other, even if only for a moment. Or perhaps we see things that are not there.

We See Things That Are Not There is dedicated to Kevin Sim. Karl Larson and Matt Evans gave the work’s premiere November 13, 2017 at Cornelia Street Cafe, New York City.We See Things That Are Not There is the concluding track to album, American Dreamfeaturing Karl Larson on piano and Matt Evans on percussion.