Michael McNabb (1952), an alumnus of Stanford's Center for Computer Research in
Music and Acoustics, has composed innovative electronic and computer music
in several settings.
The computer-processed field recording of Dreamsong (1978) is a
a fast-moving collage of galactic drones and ghostly voices, harsh noises and metallic tinkling.
His electronic pieces can be, not so much futuristic, as highly lyrical.
Love in the Asylum (1981) is a three-movement work that evokes
altered state of the mind, a wild timbric and rhythmic excursus
that alternates phases of frantic rapture and of solemn meditation.
Music for Mars in 4-D (1979), inspired by Holst's Planets and
rooted in the sound of the human voice, is cosmic music full of melodrama and pathos.
While they represent, superficially, the musical equivalent of abstract painting,
these pieces embody more than just a free-form expression of inner visions.
They reference a deeper psychological realm, where consciousness battles
reason to frame the human condition in both emotional and rational terms.
He has composed electroacoustic music such as
The Lark Full Cloud (1989) for saxophone, percussion, natural sounds and electronics,
as well as the otherworldly Secrets of the Magdalen Laundries (2000) for four processed female voices.
He has developed his own software to compose live computer music
(in which the music is composed as a reaction to the performer's performance),
Sudden Changes (1991) for solo soprano saxophone and electronics,
The Far and Brilliant Night (1992) and
The Forever Field (1993).
Dreamsong (Wergo, 1993) contains Dreamsong
Music for Mars in 3-D (composed in 1979 and revised in 1984) and
Love in the Asylum
Invisible Cities (Wergo, 1989) contains the six-movement dance piece
Invisible Cities (premiered in december 1985), a virtuoso experiment in quotation
that references a broad spectrum of musical history.
It is scored for piano, saxophone and computer-synthesized sounds.
City of No Resistance opens at a sprightly pace, matched by tribal
drumming of demonic intensity while the saxophone releases a stately hymn-like
melody. City of Wind tiptoes with the grace of a baroque rondo'.
City of Congruence sounds like the fusion of a Tchaikovsky ballet,
Walter Carlos' Clockwork Orange and Terry Riley's
Rainbow In Curved Air.
City of Desire is the melodramatic core, a sequence of dark, violent,
irrational sonic events.
City of Reflection is a multi-layered crescendo of minimalist repetition
that leads to an apparently chaotic apotheosis.
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