MUSIC

I compose a fair amount of the music used in Radiolab. When I have a chance, I also write music for other people. Here are a few examples..

"Untitled"

This noisy piece came about when I was asked by the fabulous Redshift Ensemble to compose music for them based on Kathy Turcot’s natural recordings of Alaskan Wildlife.

I'm not sure what I was going for here, maybe just a simple tension between "pretty nature" and "violent nature." I prefer to think of the animals buried in the fuzz of this piece as angry, fierce and decidedly not for our enjoyment. All sounds are derived from the arctic natural recordings and from the Redshift humans beating on their instruments (and occasionally playing them).

"Counting in C"

Counting in C came about when Bill Ryan at Grand Valley University State contacted me (along with a bunch of other great musicians) about remixing Terry Riley’s seminal 1964 piece "In C". It’s a piece I studied in school.

First time I heard "In C"> I was a freshman in college, majoring in music composition and completely lost in a wilderness of scary music. During one of my more despairing moments, I went to the music library, and on recommendation from a friend, checked out In C on vinyl. And when I dropped the needle on the record, I can’t describe the relief. Here was "serious music" that was actually... fun.

The inspiration was pretty simple: There’s something about "In C", and pieces like it, that make you want to move, and march, and do rhythmic things like counting, like there's a pedometer buried deep in your body that comes alive with the thump thump thump of the marimba. I did this remix two months after the birth of our first child, so rhythmic, repetitive exercises like counting were very much on my mind.

The baby sounds at the beginning come from my little guy, Amil. And the little girl towards middle is Meena Aroncyzk, daughter of Amanda Aronczyk. She's 2 years old.

"Un Dia Morning Light Remix"

When I first heard Juana Molina's “Un Dia” I was stunned. I played it over and over literally twenty-five times. I had the pleasure to interview Juana Molina and I confessed my deep obsession. She was nice enough to translate a few of the lyrics words for me.

“One day I will sing the songs with no lyrics and everyone can imagine for themselves if it’s about love, disappointment, banalities or about Plato.”

I immediately imagined Juana Molina yelling those words from some high place at sunrise. This unofficial remix is inspired by that image.

All words and sounds are from Juana Molina and Stuart Dempster’s “Morning Light,” arranged by me.

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