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1. If you could be an active composer in any other time period, when and why?
Late 17th Century [France]. Being a part of the twisted, bizarre life of Louis XIV's court would be a dream come true: costumes, dance, scandal, "simple" music...not to mention more lute's and theorbos than I could know what to do with. The Sun King kept it coming on so many levels.
2. Dog, cat, or goldfish?
Goldfish (the snack)
3. Would you rather…eat a live gerbil or remove your own appendix with nothing but a shoe horn?
Appendix. Gerbils are cute and, besides, I'm a scab picker so it's basically the same thing.
Vacation by The Go Go's
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: Morton Feldman, Johannes Ockeghem, Denis/Ennemond Gaultier
Present: Lawton Hall, Keiji Haino, Rutger Zuydervelt (aka Machine Fabriek)
...the birds that stay...(2011) for clarinet, alto saxophone, violin, viola, cello
Since I know Mark's more recent electronic output better than his acoustic output, I wanted to check out the latter. It is not surprising to me that this piece reminds me of what I know of his. That is not to say he is recycling at all. Actually, I really appreciate composers that I think have a DNA in their music. Some quality that transcends style, time, instrumentation, medium, etc. I think most composers can locate their own DNA in their pieces. But, for outsiders it can certainly be more of a challenge.
The sonorities are gorgeous. Mark has a really good command of timbre and blending with this ensemble. I actually think the move to get faster towards the middle of the piece is very un-Mark. What I know of his later pieces is that this urge would have ben quelled and the piece would be, more or less, a single idea and unified.
On a Walk Across the Ocean (2012) for electric guitar and electronics
This is one of the first pieces of Mark's that I heard him perform. We set up a concert of live electronic music at Houston's Avant Garden - one of the coolest bars/performance venues in the city. The audience was completely mesmerized. He had them. It don't hurt that Mark is a good looking guy playing dreamy music with a guitar in a bar full of buzzed women. But, I think the music had much more to do with it. You lose yourself in this piece. This is one of the types of soundworlds that have transferred to Mark's more recent work with film and installation. I highly suggest that you watch his collaboration with Lydia Hance in a video/dance piece called Quiver.
I can't say enough good things about Mark. He has a true artistic sensibility when he works with sound. He is an awesome person and has a killer beard. I really am in awe of the pieces he puts out into the world and am always looking forward to his next project, no matter medium it involves.