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Mason Bates: Digital Loom

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 12, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

The music of MASON BATES fuses innovative orchestral writing, the rhythms of electronica and techno, and imaginative narrative forms brought to life by cutting edge sound design. A composer of symphonic music who often includes live electronica in his orchestral music, he has become known as an artist who moves fluidly between those two worlds performing on electronic drum-pad and laptop, for example, with the National Symphony Orchesta in his Liquid Interface at Carnegie Hall; or, creating an evening of concert music and electronica with members of the Berlin Philharmonic at the Volksbühne in the former East Side. Recent commissions have explored everything from the marriage of orchestral sonorities and earthquake recordings (Music From Underground Spaces, commissioned by the California Symphony) to the fusion of techno beats and the ancient sounds of a pipe organ in Digital Loom. Repeat performances of his works have occurred throughout the United States, from the Oakland Symphony to the New York Philharmonic, and he is a frequent guest at summer music festivals such as Tanglewood, Cabrillo, and Aspen. Current events bring the premieres of The-BSides for orchestra & electronica, which will be premiered by the San Francisco Symphony in May, and Sirens for the renowned male chorus, Chanticleer. He currently serves as composer-in-residence with the California Symphony. Active as a performer, he has played his Concerto for Synthesizer with the Atlanta and Phoenix Symphonies, and he also stays busy as a DJ of trip-hop and electronica in San Francisco s many clubs, lounges and art spaces. With Maestro Benjamin Schwartz of the San Francisco Symphony and set designer Anne Patterson, he recently launched Mercury Soul: An Electro-Acoustic Evening, which brought over a thousand people to the San Francisco club Mezzanine to hear contemporary classical music interspersed with DJs and live electronica. Studying English literature and music composition in the Columbia-Juilliard program, he worked primarily with John Corigliano, and has also studied with David Del Tredici and Samuel Adler. Now living in the San Francisco Bay Area where he worked with Edmund Campion at UC Berkeley, he is currently a Guggenheim Fellow and the composer in residence for the California Symphony.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Mason Bates: Intro Blues7
  2. Mason Bates: Digital Loom, Dusk On A Static Empire
  3. Mason Bates: Digital Loom, Fanfare With Breaks
  4. Mason Bates: Digital Loom, Through The Atmosphere
  5. Mason Bates: Digital Loom, Geraldine s Parlour
  6. Mason Bates: Digital Loom, Deliver Us From Evil
  7. Mason Bates: Interlude: Siren Music
  8. Mason Bates: From Amber Frozen
  9. Mason Bates: Interlude: Amber
  10. Mason Bates: Red River - The Continental Divide
  11. Mason Bates: Red River - Interstate 70
  12. Mason Bates: Red River - Zuni Visions From The Canyon Walls
  13. Mason Bates: Red River - Hoover Slates Vegas
  14. Mason Bates: Red River - Running Dry On The Sonoran Floor
  15. Mason Bates: Outro: Rhombus

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 12, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: MSR Classics
  • ASIN: B0029MYGIO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,450 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By D. S. HARDEN VINE VOICE on April 21, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I heard his "Liquid Interface" on National Public Radio (KUAT - University of Arizona - those Wildcats) playing his brand of Electronica with an Orchestra (Pacific Symphony?) no less. It was an excellent presentation of his work! Though not "Liquid Interface," Digital Loom stands up well, as Mr. Bates brings "real" composing skills to bear in this collection. I recommend it!

I rate "Digital Loom" 3.5 stars...

P.S., I look forward to "Liquid Interface" showing up someday, I'll snatch that up in two seconds flat!
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Mason Bates is quickly gaining a reputation as the young lion of avant-garde classical music and, indeed, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony had a mini-festival of his works and are planning an album of live concerts for next year, including Liquid Interface and the B-Sides. Bates is noted for his use of electronic drum kit and computer programming as part of an orchestra or chamber ensemble, but as found here in this collection of smaller works, even choruses are game. For me, the poetic suite of Red River, with its Americana and jazz suggestions, is the highlight of the album. The mixed ensemble Antares is joined by electronica. It includes the machinery and rushing of water of Hoover Dam and closes with music fading into a quiet wind. The anthology begins after a throat-clearing Blues7 with the title suite Digital Loom for organ and electronica. It is somewhat a series of atmospheres, with the organ, as early synthesizer, a match for the true electronics. I find it more an exploration of sounds with rhythmic overlays than a coherent statement; it closes with a deep chordal cathedral-like organ flare. Chanticleer provides a brief interlude, Siren Music, and the title is apt for their enticing voices. From Amber Frozen / Amber holds the past that needs to teased out, and so the Biava Quartet slowly emotionally emerges and soon develops a melody that eventually disintegrates into echoes. The final work is Rhombus, which is an angular, rhythmic, noisy piece fused with rock and jazz. Bates is truly inventive. I look forward to the MTT album and other works of this composer.
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