Practical Mechanics is an ode to technological optimism, and playfully explores the belief that science can solve all human problems. The titles and text excerpts are taken from the tattered pages of vintage issues of Practical Mechanics Magazine, a home science and technology magazine published between 1933 and 1963.
The collision of hard scientific law with domestic human life, is reflected by the juxtaposition of mathematical and rule-based compositional approaches and the ineffably chaotic nature of human musical intuition. Practical Mechanics employs various rational and rule-based pattern-making techniques, including Schillingerian methods, list structures, additive and constructive techniques and others devised by the composer. This machine-like nature is especially prominent within the rhythm of the piece, and imbues the work with a complex yet controlled sense of mechanical determinacy. The harmony on the other hand is immediate and expressive, referring more to popular and folk music and reflecting the human needs central to the development and use of technology.