1. If you could be an active composer in any other time period, when and why?
I would be a composer in the 22nd century so that I would have 100 more years of music to draw upon.
2. Dog, cat, or goldfish?
Cat. They nap a lot, they know how to use a litter box, and they're cute.
3. Would you rather…sleep in a room a little too warm or sleep in a room a little too cold?
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?
Possibly Roundabout by Yes... it's pretty difficult to choose but that would take longer to get sick of than most songs I can think of.
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, Hector Berlioz, Karlheinz Stockhausen
Present: Carla Kihlstedt, Ken Ueno, Jonny Greenwood
this bewildering: Puzzle i’m working on for clarinet, cello, and percussion
From what I remember of Nigel’s other pieces I heard at Rice, he has an ability to imbue his work with cuteness and humor more than many other composers I’ve heard that attempt these same attributes. And that is written in the least derogatory way possible. I think it is something that music is lacking at the present moment - narrative and characterization. This piece does quite a bit to bring those elements to the listener’s focus in the beginning. Towards the middle, it kind of loses me. But, it quickly comes back with the fast ending.
Nigel - don’t hate me for saying this. But, it reminds me of music written to accompany cartoons. Again - I write this in the best way possible. Cartoon music had a very specific purpose. It had to narrate the action usually without much dialogue. It had to be the jokester. It had to do everything the characters did, which, in an animated medium, was quite often super-human or non-human entirely. But, if you divorce the music from the visuals you still have a story being told. The music still characterizes action or suspense or humor or whatever. To give music that quality is a special skill. I think Nigel has elements of that skill in his concert music.
Our Simple, Spacious Envelope for Electric Violin and Electronics
I wonder how much of this is written and how much is improvised. Looping is a big thing right now. You see all of your non-musician friends posting videos of people using looping to create repetitive textures on top of which they can play melodies or rip on their instrument or whatever. And your friends say, “Wow! This is so cool! Hey Rob, don’t you do stuff like this???” While Nigel’s piece is not entirely one of those pieces, it is close. Which brings me to the point.
If anyone with the right gear, regardless of training, can make something very similar to this, what are you as a trained composer bringing to “genre” that is special. Steve Reich has been doing this for years. Trent Reznor is probably the best at using repetition to create structure. 1000’s of other Youtuber’s do this as well. And I have to mention Reggie Watts as the person who has cornered the market on this technique.
I don’t know what level of seriousness this has. So I can’t really make much of a judgment. We’ve all done things as composers that are less than serious in intention. But, as a young composer without a website whose only pieces are posted to youtube, it is confusing to the potential viewer/listener what is from the composer and what is up there just for fun.