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The Human Sentimentality Project

The End of an Eva

Recital Premise

I generally like it when media that I enjoy comes to an end. This particular instance, however, felt melancholic.

Whether it be the end of a video game, the end of a book or the end of an album, I enjoy experiencing how an artistic product can conclude. In Septmber of 2023 I watched the final movie in the "remake" series of Evangelion. A convoluted production history, the original Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series began in 1995 and the final movie, which both retold and concluded the franchise, released in 2021. I had seen the original series at age 11 (far too young for a preteen to watch) and by the time the final credits rolled on my movie viewing I had been watched this ongoing media series for 21 years of my life.

I grew up feeling deeply connected to the main character, Shinji Ikari. He is a young and anxious teen who feels as if he must bear the weight of the world on his shoulders. He's bad at communicating his feelings, refuses to get close to others and is constantly running from his problems. Despite Evangelion seemingly focusing on giant robots fighting alien creatures, its quickly learned that the series is more focused on how every character deals with depression. Seeing Shinji struggling with the same emotions that I had growing up was cathartic.

I felt empty at the end of the last movie; Evangelion was over. I remember sitting in silence for several minutes afterwards processing my emotions. This franchise that had been with me for over two decades would have no further entries and as the characters and the world that they lived in all had their final conclusions.

I wanted to turn how I felt into a solo recital.

This was going to be my most ambitious recital, yet. I knew the feelings that I wanted to go for and the effects that I wanted to have and throughout its development the recital the shape of the musical program came to be. Since I wanted this recital to be portable, I opted to program only unaccompanied pieces or pieces for tuba + backing track. Using a previous concept from another recital of mine, Songs from the Second Movement (or: How to DJ a Tuba Recital), I wanted nonstop music on stage. Since I cannot play tuba for an hour without breaks I instead interwove the unaccompanied/tuba+backing track pieces with interludes, an intermission and a recessional of non-classical music. I listen to a ton of different kinds of music so while I knew the "vibe" that I wanted for these musical selections., finding the right ones was honestly one of the most challenging portions of the recital. I ended up using music from indie vaporwave artists, experimental pop, video game soundtracks and hip-hop/jazz fusion. The intermission piece was lifted straight from The End of Evangelion, the film that was originally planned to end the series in 1997. These breaks of "pop" songs could be interpreted as Shinji repeatedly going back to his cassette player, to escape from his daily stresses.

The original iteration of the recital was performed at Texas Woman's University in November of 2023. I had requested that the stage lighting make it look like I was floating through space, mimicking a certain element from the story of Evangelion. The deep blue lighting speckled with white lighting was beyond what I had hoped for. So impressed with the atmosphere, I purchased my own portable lights and brought them with me on tour, changing the colors on stage with each piece performed.

While the tuba solos performed were intentionally chosen for their characteristics, they do not necessarily represent specific moments of Evangelion but instead represent the various emotions that Shinji deals with: desire, joy, melancholy, etc. The title of the program, The Human Sentimentality Project, is a pun off of a major plot point in Evangelion: The Human Instrumentality Project. Finding various sentiments and different emotions is a tough task for all of us as we progress through life. The Human Sentimentality Project explores different feelings and audio/visual sensations in a seamless, one-hour-long program.

A Disclaimer Regarding
Jacob TV's Grab It!

Grab It! is a piece in a similar style to American composer Steve Reich’s iconic works Come Out and Different Trains. Using what could be academically referred to as the French compositional  style of “musique concrète”, (now more colloquially called “sampling”), ter Velduis uses the audio of interviews with various life-sentence prison inmates as the foundation for the work. By dissecting these portions of audio he then attaches pitch-centered snippets of sound to a rhythmic grid to create a powerful piece of pre-recorded music for the instrumental soloist to play along to. There is intensity, chaos and anger alongside solitude, calmness and acceptance in Grab It! that is seldom found in other literature heard in recital halls.

 

However, due to the rawness of the work, the samples used from these interviews contain a natural element of the human language: profanity. There are potent emotions in these words that ter Velduis uses to spark the underlying fire within this piece. While some may say that music is the universal language, speech can still say things that music never can,  justifying its usage here. While the words in Grab It! will inevitably come across as harsh, ter Velduis’ overall hope for the piece, as listed in his liner notes, are for the work to be “understood as a memento vivere. Death row as a metaphor for life. Life is worth living. Grab It!.”


I approach this piece with the utmost seriousness as I truly believe that it is one of the most unique and impactful instrumental solos composed in our time. I hope that you enjoy the performance of Grab It! as well as the rest of the recital.

TW: There is a brief mention of self-harm within the audio track of Grab It!

THE HUMAN SENTIMENTALITY PROJECT
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THE HUMAN SENTIMENTALITY PROJECT

Syrinx - Claude Debussy

Interlude 1 : Shinji by death’s dynamic shroud

Grab It! - Jacob ter Veldhuis

Interlude 2: Faith In Nothing Except in Salvation by Yves Tumor

PRISMA - Aliyah Danielle

Interlude 3: Transmission 2 by DJ Shadow

Momentums - Dani Howard

Intermission

Escape to The Beginning by Shiro Sagisu

7 Motors to Power Your Way - William May

I. Candid (Charisma)

II. Song (Heart)

III. Huh (Air)

IV. Pedal to the Metal (Engine)

V. Fast Stuff (Body)

VI. No-Name Melody (Soul)

VII. Triple Crown (Horsepower)

Interlude 4: thats allwekando. by Knxwledge

Un Dia en la Vida - Jose Flores

Interlude 5: Forest by Akira Yamaoka

Floating Dreams - Peter Meechan

Recessional

Obligatory Cadence by Flying Lotus

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