Stereo is King
Stereo is King
- Peggy's 90? She made The B-Sides happen @SFSymphony! Hey Peggy, happy b-day from mr b-sides! Likely not on Twitter tho @sfgate @leahgarchik
- .@FifthHouse Ensemble's 'Excelsior' is now available for preorder from Cedille! t.co/1PK7aIJ7Xk t.co/Zwtb2Hg5ej
- Deep thoughts in rehearsal w/ @anneakikomeyers before her recent recital @aspenmusic. The girl played TWO premieres t.co/5LDIS2oTOq
- i just wanna say it really sucks when your kids are screaming and you cannot find amazon or netflix history with one easy fucking click
- @chriscerrone @Thomas_ades would be a tough one to rip off. like trying counterfeit a @charliekaufman movie or a dinner at @Alinea
Crossing boundaries is nothing new for composer and electronica artist Mason Bates. As comfortable with staff paper as he is DJing (under the name Masonic), Bates has already garnered acclaim for works commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony (where he serves as composer-in-residence) and others. Here on Stereo Is King -- his first release since his 2009 debut, Digital Loom -- he takes his listeners on a wild ride through chamber music, choral music, and electronica, featuring performances by Tania Stavreva, Claremont Trio, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) New Music Ensemble, Chanticleer and musicians from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
From the title track’s combination of electronics and an array of percussion to the angular syncopation of “White Lies for Lomax” -- an homage to the early, anonymous blues musicians recorded by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax -- Stereo Is King explores the possibilities of a broad range of sonorities, refusing to exclude any genre by fiat and instead embracing whole the wide world of music. “Observer in the Magellanic Cloud,” performed by Chanticleer, drifts high above in a place where distant future meets ancient past. “Difficult Bamboo” begins minimally and grows wildly out of control. Bill Ryan and the GVSU New Music Ensemble deftly navigate “Terrycloth Troposhere,” an ode to Terry Riley that repurposes motifs from his seminal “In C,” while “String Band” is grounded in bluegrass and old-time string band music.
Throughout, Bates’ voice comes clear from within the diversity of approaches, ensembles and styles. It is his balance as a writer and envisioner of modern music that envelops the past while moving confidently into the future that ties Stereo Is King together into a comprehensive statement by a talented young composer.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"Listeners waiting eagerly for the music of Bay Area composer Mason Bates ... will find sustenance in this magnificent new compilation. ... [F]rom jaunty rhythmic studies to Space Age choral music to exquisite evocations of vernacular Americana ... all of it thrives on Bates' trademark blend of inventiveness, expressive tenderness and cheeky, ebullient wit." [FULL ARTICLE]
CLASSICAL-MODERN MUSIC REVIEW
"Mason makes a music of our time that has his particular original voice stamped onto it. ... Mason Bates has a fertile musical mind that comes through here in ways that reward the listener with something complex enough, substantial enough to keep interest level high and yet quite accessible even for those who may eschew a brasher modernism. Well done! Bravo!" [FULL ARTICLE]
“This new and fascinating collection of some of [Bates’] smaller scale works illustrates his eclectic approach quite well. [‘Observer in the Magellanic Cloud’] reminded me of some of Berio’s vocal works … a truly attractive work. … With its pitch bends and repeated cells, [‘String Band’] leads us on a ride that suggests bluegrass and eventually sounds almost familiar. … [Bates] is still a young man but one who has an amazing grasp on the music of various disparate cultures from many points on the globe. He also clearly believes in the capacity of music to unite or to create commonality.” [FULL ARTICLE]
“[A]n inspired recording blending traditional classical instrumentation with ambient electronica textures … Cutting edge yet remarkably accessible has Stereo Is King a definite winner for those in search of slightly more advanced new music. A sonic feast for the senses!” [FULL ARTICLE]
“‘Stereo Is King’ … explodes that tired contention [classical new music that's actually enjoyable to listen to cannot, ipso facto, be any good] with subversive glee. [It] shows the composer's sly penchant for infusing classical compositional procedures with playful vernacular elements that energize and finally transform the classical elements. … [B]rilliantly played.” [FULL ARTICLE]
—John von Rhein