Illegal Cycles


Chamber Ensemble

Written for Wild Up (

National composers Intensive
I insist in this obsession of using materials from popular music and folk traditions, someday they will take me somewhere, I am pretty sure. This case is more experimental but also groovier. The beginning of the piece is this kind of illusion I have of listening on one side of the headphones an improvised avant–garde piece (“Globokarish” and “Szymanoskish”type of thing), and on the other one any of my favorite salsa bands. This duality of worlds is a pretty common thing in our time (although not always with salsa music though). We musicians grow up, as anyone else, listening to radio stations to different types of pop music and then we go to our beloved 20th century music class (or however they call it) to get exposed to all the cutting edge creations. Many others, like me, happen to enjoy all of that and to use the same set of ears to get through them.

Well, this piece is my first try of juxtaposing this two worlds. It also has an idea of a saturated writing, but the difference is that here each line is grooving some how to the beat. It becomes a “groovy–noise” or a “noisy–groove”. This piece is part as well of my philosophy of “I trust in the performers and I let them be part of the creation”. Different than other composers, I am not afraid if giving away the control of the piece of – some moments –, I rather look at it as a chance to gain some uncertainty and refresh the piece for each performance.

I had the chance to work this piece with the incredible ensemble Wild Up based in LA as part of the the program “National Composers Intensive”. Click here to know more about it. (I even got a bio on LA Phil’s website! yahoo! check it out here).

thThe title… well simply because I have been worried about my future visa status in the US after school ends, and because of the patterns repeated in the piece. A (potentially) Illegal person going around in circles trying to find a way through life.

This is a live recording of the piece after a couple of reading sessions.

Yet another live version of the piece, performed by UT Austin NME in Fall 2016, conducted by Dan Welcher. Yep, that’s me playing percussion!


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