TOLL (2003) was commissioned to accompany the showing of the AIDS quilt at Bennington College. Compositionally, my thoughts turned to the tolling of bells. Tolling as eulogy initally, but many ceremonial and social aspects of tolling bells began to appear: New England steeples calling the congregation; the huge bells I'd heard at Buddhist monasteries in Korea; bells as musical instruments; bells on children's bicycles; bells of alarm and emergency. This piece then became a fantasia on tolling bells.
The piece is constructed of four individual audio channels, each sounding a different pitch stream. Each pitch stream is a musical transcription of one of the four words that make up the acronym AIDS. The sole sound source is one strike of a singing bowl. This recording is pitch-shifted and placed in a timeline to construct the respective pitch streams. These are then looped and processed to achieve an evolving timbral variation.