A killer is an everyday symbol that often goes unnoticed, being accepted as a facet of our western culture without any attention being given to it.
Used by postal authorities, the killer – or obliterator in French is a very familiar, particularly heavy handstamp consisting of thick bars, cork impressions or other crude devices used to cancel postage stamps in the early days of postage. The dramatic choice of name refers to its role as a postage mark. Once applied, its function is to obscure almost the whole of the stamp effectively ending its life so it cannot be re-used.
In modern times, the United States has taken the name for a particular circular date stamp with four thick horizontal bars to the right. Fulfilling the same role, this handstamp effectively cancels the stamp while leaving the place and date information easily visible. The bars are known as killer bars.
This piece takes the heavy bars from the original killer handstamp and represents it musically as a sustained vibraphone motive that frequently appears thus providing the structural basis of the piece.
Instrumentation: Percussion (3 players).
Duration: 5 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Virtuoso technique required
First performance: by line upon line percussion — 8 Sep 18. The Capitol Theatre, Bendigo, VIC
The composer cites the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with the work:
Klangfarbenmelodie, textural music