Composer Judith Shatin has been making engaging electro-acoustic music for years from her home base of Charlottesville, Virginia, where she serves as a professor and director of the Virginia Center for Computer Music at UVA. In her recent Innova release, Tower of the Eight Winds, she teams up with the Borup-Ernst Duo (Hasse Borup on violin and Mary Kathleen Ernst on piano) to present a vivid set of compositions, rendered in well-recorded, vigorous performances.
Last week here at the Box we received a communication from a reader pointing out the tendency for the language of new music to employ terms that suggest violence or aggression. For instance, it was pointed out that it’s common to read press materials containing phrases like “aggressive,” “no holds barred,” “pedal to the metal,” “face-melting,” and the like.
It seems that one of the greatest challenges for a creative person is to steer clear of being taken prisoner by the random workings of the mind, and focus on the real work at hand. There are so many reasons we can think of to not write music—it’s incredible the things we can concoct to avoid giving ourselves the quiet and the space to do the work that is really most important.
Sometimes “soundtrack” CDs can invite a degree of skepticism, in that often the music composed for film or video does not stand alone as effectively as when paired with its accompanying medium. However, the second release from Austin, Texas-based composer and sound artist Mike Vernusky is an example of such a format that does not suffer from being presented as audio alone. This is a collection of music composed both for film and “electro-theatre,” defined as music for live actors with electronic sound, which creates a vivid radio play-like journey through sculptural forests of sound.