Category Archives: Electroacoustic

The Doorway (2015) for Ignition Duo

The Doorway” composed by Nick Vasallo.
Performed by IGNITION DUO:
Ramon Fermin and David Gonzales, guitars

Recorded August 7th-8th and September 10th, 2015 at
the Atomic Garden, East Palo Alto, CA
Engineered by Jack Shirley
Produced by Ignition Duo

Director: Prabakaran
Cinematographer: Sadha Sivam
Editing: Gopikrishnan
Sound Design: Arunkumar

Composed in 2013 and 2015. “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” ― Aldous Huxley

Pages from The Doorway 1

The Doorway (2015)
for two electric guitars
Full Score (Digital)

The Moment Before Death Stretches on Forever, Like an Ocean of Time… (2015) for Wild Rumpus

The Moment Before Death Stretches on Forever, Like an Ocean of Time… (2015) 8 min. 15 seconds
for Wild Rumpus

Performed by Wild Rumpus
Bethanne Walker – flute, Sophie Huet – bass clarinet, David Waugh – bari saxophone, Weston Olencki – trombone, Mckenzie Camp – percussion, Margaret Halbig – piano, Dan VanHassel – electric guitar, Vanessa Langer – soprano, Mia Nardi-Huffman – violin, Joanne de Mars – cello, Eugene Theriault – contrabass

Video recording by Taylor Joshua Rankin
Audio recording by Zach Miley
Recorded at Montclair Presbyterian Church in Oakland, CA on May 8, 2015


Composed from February 22nd-March 18th 2015 using an Excel spreadsheet. There are no measures, downbeats, or barlines. The structure isn’t delegated by melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic elements. Just absolute time. I am constantly searching for different ways of saying what I want to say.

the title for thiS piece is taken and modified from a line in a movie.
I wanted to write something that sounded pulsating with energY;
eterNal and evolving.
the universE doesn’t draw in straight lines.
I am beginning to not feel the organicism in neatly oRganized
teleoloGical music.
I want to communicate with our primal side psychoacousticallY.

Pages from Nick Vasallo - the moment before death stretches on forever, like an ocean of time... (FULL SCORE) 1

The Moment Before Death Stretches on Forever, Like an Ocean of Time… (2015)
for flute, bass clarinet, bari saxophone, trombone, percussion, piano, electric guitar, soprano, violin, cello, contrabass
Full Score w/ Parts(Digital)

Lost & Hidden (Sound Art for Cal Poly’s Department of Theatre and New Dance)

Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Theatre and New Dance in collaboration with the Department of Music preform “Lost & Hidden”

Choreography by Jeremy Hahn in collaboration with the artists

Performers: Crystal Carter, Gabriela Garza-Vazquez, Amber Hauss, Cylinda Joy Haynes, Lina Pham and Brenda Reyes

Video produced by MediaVision including Trevor Henderson, Preston Haerr and Derek Lim

Music by Nick Vasallo

Inches Away from Freedom (2015) for The Living Earth Show, John McCowen, Gleb Kanesevich, Ore

Performed by:

The Living Earth Show: Travis Andrews – guitar, Andrew Meyerson – drums

Gleb Kanesevich – bass clarinet

John McCowen – contrabass clarinet

ORE: Sam Underwood – tuba

All of the performers recorded themselves
*with the exception of drums recorded by Dino Alikadich (
Audio mixed by Nick Vasallo. Video edited by Nick Vasallo.

Imagine five separate forces from different origins converging at the same time. It is a balance between synergy and anarchy. Each performer has a specific set of written instructions. They aren’t playing music in reaction to each other, but performing individual interpretations of a narrative I have laid out.

More info here:

The Arecibo Message (2015) for strings and electronics

The Arecibo Message (2015) for strings and electronics
I. three hundred thousand stars
II. going back to the source

Performed by
Philip Santos – violins
Julia Adams – violas
Joseph Hébert – cellos
Aaron Shaul – basses

Recorded and produced by Nick Vasallo

I. There is something frighteningly beautiful about being surrounded by a huge globular cluster of stars. The signal we sent in 1974 was to the M13 globular.

II. Imagine tracing back the Arecibo Message 25,000 light years back to the source (Earth). It’s like seeing generations upon generations of photocopies rewinding to the original. This movement starts with the 10th generation of a 32-second musical section. Each generation has undergone the same effects of being recorded and played back in a concert hall setting. It slowly evolves from resonant harmonies and tones into the actual source unaltered. This is essentially the reverse process of Lucier’s work.

Universa (2014) for SATB

Performed by
Amy Haghighi – soprano
Elizabeth Calame – alto
Sean Cooper – tenor
Alex Kadarauch, Nick Vasallo – bass

Recorded and mixed by Nick Vasallo.

Universa in Latin means “all.” I am becoming increasingly focused on concentrated sounds. To live inside a sonority and explore its depth. Melody, memorable motifs, [a]tonal systems, and rhythmic cycles are unimportant in this realm. The sound is the form, and the form is the sound.

Thalassophobia (2007, 2009) for MIDI Ensemble

I. Emergence of the Kraken (2007)
II. Sea of Anger (2009)

Performed by members of the Cal Poly Pomona MIDI Ensemble
Alexandria Fusriboon
Anthony Crespo
Nina Zhang
Monica Estrella

Conducted by Nick Vasallo

Video shot and edited by Gabriel Zuniga
Audio recorded by HongJin Kim

Program Notes:
I. Emergence of the Kraken – My biggest fear is the deep, dark, open water. This is a tone poem based on Alfred Tennyson’s “The Kraken”: a study in color, spatial modulation, and counterpoint.

II. Sea of Anger – One word to describe this piece: struggle. This is also a tone poem but of Jodi Clark’s “Sea of Anger” and exhibits amplified techniques I used in “Emergence of the Kraken.” The poem itself is about the struggle of a crew as their ship is engulfed by the violent ocean and they are forced to jump into the unknown dark open water. Ironically, while composing this piece I was also struggling with issues in my personal life which prevented me from finishing it. I picked up this piece one year later and finally completed it. The theme within the music is still very clear and encompasses the struggles in both Jodi Clark’s poem and my personal life during 2008.

Oblivion (2012) for choir and metal ensemble

Oblivion (2012) 8 min.
for choir and metal ensemble

Performed by the Ariose Singers and Oblivion

If there is one thing that I want to contribute to art music – it is the acknowledgement of Heavy Metal as a viable and meaningful art form. A substantial amount of my work within and outside academia encompasses the sound of a distorted electric guitar. There are several different worlds and ideas that come together in this piece. The most obvious being Choral music set against Metal music. A more subtle interplay is the rhythmic dissonance which occurs between the two worlds and within themselves. I created a long range harmonic polyrhythm that cycles every sixty bars within the metal ensemble and an independent polyphonic structure with the choir. The unifying feature between the two worlds is the scale – an ancient Byzantine mode (Tone 4 chromatic), each world uses the same scale a perfect fifth apart. To me, this creates a hypnotic and mesmerizing soundscape. It sounds endless. Limitless. Oblivion is also the name of the band I am in, for whom I intended this piece. Oblivion is a word most people misuse – it means “the condition or state of being forgotten or unknown.”