On December 16, I announced my plan to listen and briefly record my responses to the music of the composers who follow me on Twitter. This post is the twenty-fourth installment of what I call, “Mapping My Musical Twitterverse”, and features composers Mohammad W. Alsaad, Garrett Gillingham, Ian Dorsch, Matt Schoendorff, and Jess Hendricks.
Mohammad W. Alsaad:
Mohammad W. Alsaad is a composer based in Amman, Jordan. From Mohammad’s SoundCloud page, I listened to the tracks A Way To Conquer, Shine, and The Peach Town, all of which were produced with software instruments.
Mohammad describes much of his music as, “cinematic”, and an epic, grand sensibility is certainly palpable in A Way To Conquer and The Peach Town. All three pieces have a very strong melodic focus and clear forms, but differ in their color palettes. Shine is subdued directly features synthesizers while the other two works effectively simulate the sound of an orchestra.
Garrett Gillingham is a composer and member of the group Willo Collective, based in East Lansing, Michigan. From Garrett’s SoundCloud page, I listened to the first movement of Vesper Images, for two saxophones, double bass and piano, Variations for Abbey, for marimba, and Right to Work, for orchestra.
These pieces only share abstract connections: for example, they all contain – and, in different ways, display – an underlying virtuosic energy. However, each work’s soundworld is very distinct from the others, ranging from pulsing, melodic pandiatonicism to highly detailed, capricious abstraction. To Garrett’s credit, all three exhibitions compel and excite.
Ian Dorsch is a composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Aberdeen, WA. From Ian’s SoundCloud page, I listened to the Halfway Home and Piño’s Ride, both produced with software instruments, and the instrumental heavy metal track Undefeated.
From what I can gather, Ian licenses much of his music for films and video games, and, thusly, each of these pieces is associated with a different media project. What impresses me is this music’s – and, by extension, Ian’s – versatility. Piño’s Ride has the romantic personality of a classic film score, while Undefeated satisfies all the criteria for good metal.
Matt Schoendorff is a composer who teaches at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. From Matt’s website, I listened to Heist and Fugue State, for young band, as well as In Search Of…The Wild Saxamuphones, for saxophone quartet.
Counterpoint plays a big role in these works, though it is most important to Fugue State and The Wild Saxamuphones. These pieces resemble each other insofar as both present a series of contrapuntal episodes instead of bearing a more unified structure. Heist, a rhythmic and energetic work, is a little more self contained and less focused on line.
Jess Hendricks is a composer and electric bassist located in Northampton, MA. From Jess’ SoundCloud page, I listened to In Vino Veritas, for fixed media, Expansive Unity, op. 64, for bass and live electronics, as well as Concertino for Bassoon and Electronic Playback, op. 58.
These last two works represent a classic facet of the electroacoustic genre: they reference the traditions of the concerto in the way Jess casts the acoustic and electronic sounds against each other. This dialogic characteristic is most evident and playful, as one would expect, in the Concertino, but also seemed present Expansive Unity.