2. Dog, cat, or goldfish?
Dog, no contest!
3. Would you rather…Have a massive head compared to your body or always have a bowl cut?
Hmm... I don't think I could rock the bowl cut well or for my whole life, so I guess I'd rather have a gigantic head.
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 pop song you will listen to for the rest of your life?
This question is a doosey! For a song that would have existed while the cassette format was still widespread, I would probably have to go with 'Here Comes the Sun' by the Beatles. It's such an optimistic song, that I imagine it would be the one cassette I would save before being stranded somewhere indefinitely.
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, and J.S. Bach
Present: Dan Visconti, Jennifer Jolley, Clint Needham
Urge (2014) for two violins was premiered at the festival and was written as part of the speed writing/choreography collaboration of which I was also a part. Of all the pieces that were written in one week, I thought Justin's truly stood out above all the rest. It is a timbral exploration between the two violins in which energy is always surging forward, barely contained. The background you hear in the recording are the dancers moving. It is kind of nice hearing the breathing/moving. With the energy of the piece, it is almost fitting. Like a fixed media track behind the violins. The dance created for this piece was also particularly stunning. Very nice to hear/see true collaboration happening!
Dangerous New Avenues (2013) for soprano and percussion. I was drawn by the title and the instrumentation. A soprano and percussion piece may be in my future...more on that later. I have to talk about two of my pet peeves as a composer. The opening of this piece is one of them, albeit the percussion equivalent. The hairpin opening. A single note coming from nothing and then returning to nothing. And then the piece starts. What does it accomplish? It has nothing to do with what comes after it. So why use it? Why not just start with the vibraphone.
Second, bowing a cymbal by itself. Justin does it at the beginning and before the coda-like section. I'm not sure what it accomplishes either. If it is intended to have the same effect as a grand pause then it certainly accomplishes that. It stops all motion and flow. And it is used as a sound effect rather than as a musical device. It is kind of like a multiphonic in a clarinet piece all of a sudden and for no reason. Using bowed cymbals or multiphonics or other effects need to be more carefully considered. They are perfectly acceptable sounds and I love them. But, for me, they need to be a more integral part of the composition as a whole. Using a bowed cymbal in concert with a soprano line would be cool. It would function orchestrationally and timbrally to highlight the voice.
All that being said, what follows is very nice. Excellent use of the ratchet! I've never heard that instrument used in a duo setting. Usually only for orchestral or percussion ensemble use. But, I think it really works here. The vocal writing is beautiful and the atmosphere created by the vibraphone calming with an aspect of uncertainty.