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?
Meatloaf "Bat out of Hell"
5. Who are 3 composers from the past -AND- 3 of your own generation whose music you respect, enjoy, inspires you, etc…
Past: Ludwig van Beethoven, Gustav Mahler, Charles Ives
Present: Mark Wingate, Jim Mobberley, George Crumb
Shape Study: Music for Metamorphoses (2008)
A fixed media piece that original served to open a play, an adaptation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, the piece also is meant to stand on its own. The piece has relatively few sound sources and Mike gets a lot of mileage from them. In his program notes he says that the lines are blurred between the traditional foreground, middleground, and background levels. Each level is in a state of constant movement, grappling for the listeners attention. The active water sounds are sonically rich and keep me listening all the way to the end.
I think the piece works well as a mood-setter. I can imagine the feeling in a theater after hearing this. However, I'm trying to put myself in a concert setting and I don't know what I would think after hearing the piece in that setting. It brings up the question, can occasional or site-specific music work without its occasion or site? I've written about this with Thomas Sturm's music in this series. My own piece that isn't site-specific as much as it is non-concert hall specific, Music Box 9, certain does not work in a conventional concert setting. So are these pieces that are tied to their original settings or purpose just lost? Curious to read thoughts on this.
An Interrupted Memory (2010)
From the program notes:
"An Interrupted Memory was written in 2009-2010 for Lewis University "Art of Memory" Series. All of the sound sources for this work were taken from five recordings, each two-minutes in length. These audio clips were recorded simultaneously at five different locations on the campus of Lewis University in the fall of 2009. An Interrupted Memory attempts to capture and sustain two minutes of the soundscape of Lewis University on that day at that time."
I like the conceptual idea that went into the recording of the sound sources. The sounds are really interesting and I've written before how much I dig soundscape. Mike takes this beyond soundscape and really works with the sounds in a compositional way which is impressive considering how dirty soundscape sounds usually are at least where I have lived - big cities - could be that Lewis is slightly quieter on a daily basis.
From the pieces I've heard of Mike's at EMM and from this, he does not steer clear of rhythm textures in his EA pieces. This is always something I'm a little apprehensive to venture into. I'm not sure why. Because as his music shows us, rhythmic textures can be very effective is they are done well. I think it is more possible and more effective to start with a rhythmic texture and move it into arhythmic moments or sections rather than starting in the opposite manner. The latter is a little too sunshine-and-rainbows: the "real music" was their all along from the general audience member's perspective for me. At any rate, I dig this piece quite a bit. Well done, Mike!
End note: Mike writes way more than EA music and many of his pieces can be found on his website. I chose the pieces I did because they were embedable from Soundcloud. Please go listen to a non-EA piece of his.