from a motivational speech recorded to an _objet trouvé_ magnetic tape dictation device is the source material of “tempus agit” extracted. from its natural flow is isolated a haiku of 17 syllables for sustained consideration:
where are you going
when you leave here? neither chance
nor luck will decide
the 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. 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). alongside this poem runs a cantus firmus of 17 beats made up of the percussive sounds of the dictation device being activated. finally, from the fundamental pitch of the electrical hum cumulatively accrued during the multiple stages of transduction, a harmonic series is derived. encompassing the five intervals that would be produced by the first six divisions into equal parts of a monochord tuned to said hum, the pitches are actualized by an electric guitar sounding each one sequentially and in successively shorter rhythmic durations correlative to the pitch in question (i.e. the 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 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).