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1. If you could be an active composer in any other time period, when and why?
The Renaissance, because Gesualdo!
2. Dog, cat, or goldfish?
Cat... and I'd probably eat the goldfish.
3. Would you rather…live in total isolation or face your biggest fear once a month?
Isolation since I do that anyway sometimes.
4. You’re trapped on an island. There is one electrical outlet connected to a boombox from 1992. When you were stranded here you only had time to save one cassette out of collection of singles. What is the one
Weird Al Yankovic: Smells Like Nirvana
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: J.S. Bach, György Ligeti, Pierre Schaeffer
Present: Devin Farney, Hunter Ewen, Chuck Johnson
Aether (2012) for String Quartet and computer
It is difficult to talk about the aesthetics of a work like this because it does not engage the listener using any traditional methods. It requires much more participation on the part of the listener. Therefore, it is natural that the listener is as much responsible for the piece as are the composer or performers. I hope readers go into listening to this piece with the proper mindset; you will have to think.
I love sound. Incredibly simple statement but, it is the reason I am a composer and not a performer or theorist or historian or whatever. I LOVE SOUND. The majority of sounds do not last very long. They are fleeting. You cannot live inside them and explore them. Your curiosity about them is usually relegated to speculation. When you do have any opportunity to “live” in sounds and truly let your mind and ears go nuts in relishing the complexity of sounds, your experience is much different from other listenings.
This piece allows for that level of curiosity to be satiated. The electronic differences tones are rich in texture. It is running your fingers through sand for your ears. The wailing of the live string instruments in just intonation keeps the piece alive and moving. It also gives a very human quality to a very scientific sound phenomenon. As if the inner beings of the cries are expressed through electronics. That may be more me reading into the piece or assigning a program. But, as I said, the listener must be more engaged. Otherwise, you end up thinking…ok. So?
Of course, you either buy it or you don’t. You either accept it and engage with it or dismiss it and lose 13 minutes of your life, pissed that the composer didn’t write a melody. It isn’t for everyone. But, it is definitely for me.
Gravity Drones (2012) for Moog Guitar, Roland VG-99, Roland FC-300, and SuperCollider
One thing that I really dig about Cole’s pieces is the amount of texture that they have. It is like they are actively engaging the receptors in your brain that are responsible for the sense of touch. Many of the above statements apply to this work. What is impressive about this (are as many of Cole’s other works that are done through live coding) is that it is live. All real-time. I think he has developed a very effective performance methodology as an electronic musician. Well done.