From a motivational speech recorded onto an _objet trouvé_ dictation device is the material sampled as the foundation of “Tempus Agit” extracted. From the within the natural flow of this passage is a haiku of 17 syllables isolated for sustained consideration:
Where are you going
when you leave here? Neither chance
nor luck will decide.
The musical structure of “Tempus Agit” is governed by numerical principles developed from the formal constraint of this haiku, repeated 17 times throughout the work, fragmentarily in all statements but the last. haiku. The first half of the poem (encompassing seven beats and nine syllables) is sampled at 136 BPM; the second half (encompassing five beats and eight syllables) at 102 BPM (136 – 102 = 34 = 17 x 2). Additionally, alongside the poem runs a cantus firmus comprised of 17 beats and made up of the percussive sound of the dictation device being activated. Finally, from the fundamental pitch of the electrical hum cumulatively accrued during the multiple stages of transduction involved in the construction of “Tempus Agit” is a harmonic series derived. Encompassing the five intervals that would be produced by the first six divisions into equal parts of a hypothetical monochord tuned to said hum, this collection of pitches is instantiated by an overdriven electric guitar sounding each one sequentially and in successively shorter rhythmic durations corresponding to the pitch in question (i.e. fundamental in whole notes, octave in half notes, fifth in half-triplets, etc.). Spanning 51 (17 x 3) and 1/4 measures at 120 BPM, the sum total metrical duration of the resultant drone thus equals that of the haiku loops (17 x 7 = 119; 17 x 5 = 85; 119/136 + 85/102 = 205/120).