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Michael James Olson
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1. If you could be an active composer in any other time period, when and why?
The early 20th Century. I love the artistic chaos that having so many different compositional aesthetics inspires: Stravinsky, Debussy, Bartok, Schoenberg.
2. Dog, cat, or goldfish?
3. Would you rather…Yell a swear word between every word or get punched in the face after every swear?
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?
with or without you by U2. It is one of the best pop songs ever written: that looping bass line and beat, the ethereal guitars, and the off balance verse/chorus structure make it really repeatable.
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: György Ligeti, John Luther Adams, Brian Eno
Present: Chris Biggs, Jason Bolte, Dan Van Hassel
Surrounding Departures (2011): BANG! Great opening. This piece is for flute, video, and fixed media. I appreciate how it is unapologetically pretty. It isn't necessarily my cup of tea but, I've become far less militant in my tastes as I've gotten older. There is a very subtle interaction between fixed media and video. I have to question though, what is the role of the flute? As a listener/viewer I almost ignored it in favor of the fixed media and video. I suppose those were the elements that were the most interesting to me. I'd be curious on others thoughts on this.
What I like about Emergence (2014) is the overall correlation between visual and audio. Michael's visuals are as stunning as his sounds are lush and enveloping. There is a juxtaposition of frenetic energy with a feeling of weightlessness that really works for me. Definitely listen with headphones. The stereo panning really gives the piece that much more energy. Great sense of depth in the mixing. And a great ending.