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CalArts Alumnus John Somers creates five LP set with Liz Meredith that runs 181 minutes

March 20, 2013
City Paper

Sunny Disposition

Liz Meredith and John Somers go epic on five-LP box set

By Bret McCabe

Composer/guitarist John Somers finds ideas for sound pieces in everyday places. Take, for instance, the path encircling Lake Montebello off East 33rd Street. A social worker by day, Somers had a client, “this really neat old woman,” that he used to take for walks around the lake. “We would have these really nice walks and talk about life—not in a deep way,” he says during a weeknight interview. “She would ask, ‘Have you found a girl yet?’ Stuff like that. So I had her in mind when I was thinking of the image I started with, and it evolved from there.”

He’s talking about “Montebello Lake,” a single composition that is split over two sides on a single LP. A collaboration with local violist and composer Liz Meredith, over its 39 minutes “Montebello Lake” parts I and II suggest late-afternoon sunlight slowly drifting into dusk. Meredith’s viola lines trace long drones that capture that levitating twilight when the sun sets yet the sky remains bathed in light. Somers’ guitar textures get smeared into long shadows, and the piece concludes in a ringing tone of night’s arrival, that reminder that dark has imperceptibly swallowed the sky and it’s time to head home.

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