Tuesday, December 18, 2007

MC Maguire – Meta-Conspiracy

Using the computer as a compositional tool is not exactly groundbreaking, but using it to achieve the level of musical density present on Meta-Conspiracy stretches the boundaries of its applications. The two long suites by Canadian composer MC Maguire both began as commissions for orchestras and/or dance accompaniment but have since grown in proportion and purpose. “A Short History of Lounge” is a duo piece for CPU and piano (played here by David Swan). Described by Maguire as “a quasi-rondo sonata… a kind of Boulezian pandiatonic Rumba,” it begins as an accelerating, percussion-happy absorption of musical themes, both naturalistic and digitized, heroically accompanied by Swan’s piano. The piece slows to regroup in several spots over its duration before swelling again into massed but always musical layers not unlike a thick sandwich of Zappa’s mid-80s Synclavier experiments in contemporary classical themes. “Got That Crazy, Latin/Metal Feelin’” is also explained with notes pointing to “a harmonic 49-chord progression (forward then backwards through all the major/minor keys),” but in the listening it can be taken as a half-hour collage of overlapping themes. Accompanied by John Gzowski’s guitar and vocals by Maguire with Sam Sinanan and Barnyard Drama’s Christine Duncan, it somewhat resembles a more frenetic, serial version of label boss John Zorn’s Naked City band pieces. That is to say good fun for those who like music that resembles rollercoasters.


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