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Ryan Manchester » 2009 » March


Archive for March, 2009

News and Updates!

March 24th, 2009

The results are in and I have been selected to participate as an auditor in this year’s June in Buffalo! What this means is that I will be able to attend the festival and meet performers, other emerging composers, and hang out with the faculty composers. Although I won’t get to participate in masterclasses or have music performed, the fact that I made it in at all is viewed as quite an accomplishment and a huge step in a professional career. As mentioned in my January post about the festival, it is from June 1-7 this year and I will be going to performances, rehearsals, lectures, and sitting it on other peoples’ masterclasses, so I hope to learn a lot.
I will be posting everyday of the festival on the different events, so check back often for those posts! Thanks for everyone’s support out there!

Sequenza V-Luciano Berio

March 18th, 2009

I could say a lot about how great this piece is and how Berio is easily one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, but Flavio Gabriel’s performance of Sequenza V says it all.

Bromst-Dan Deacon

March 5th, 2009

An absurdist with incredible electronic chops, Dan Deacon has been on the radar since 2003 in Baltimore’s art scene and eventually exploding in 2007 nation-wide. His first full-length album, Spiderman of the Rings(2007,Carpark) took some time to release, but the wait was worth it. The result was an epic electronic pop album that captured the attention of the underground music scene as well as national acclaim as one of the best albums of 2007.

Dan is not one of the usual artists. He is an innovator and he is changing pop music forever. A graduate from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory, Dan has both a Bachelor’s and Masters’ degree in music composition and the control he maintains over these epic sounds make his education speak for itself. He has developed a unique voice through knowledge of major electronic composers such as Edgard Varese, Iannis Xenakis, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, among others. His use of poly-rhythms and chromatic modulations are at once a breath of fresh air in popular music today as well as accessible to non-musicians.

This type of artistic accessibility has found a great home in his new album Bromst (2009, Carpark). Dan’s sound is even larger than Spiderman of the Rings, which makes since because it involves a collective-style collaboration with other Carpark artists as well as Brooklyn-based percussion wizards, So Percussion. Dan’s touring roster is as large as 15 musicians, whereas in the past, it was only Dan and his electronics. Build Voice, the first track on Bromst, is a great summary of Dan’s two full length albums in that it contains the poly-rhythms, his Deacon-signature chromatic modulations, and a massive, emotionally charged melody. If Spiderman of the Rings was one of the best albums of 2007, then it would be fair to say Bromst is and should be listed as the best album of 2009. There will not be another album as musically diverse and well put together released this year.  It is due out on March 24, and it has even caught the attention of NPR, who is streaming the full album on their website until the album’s release.

With all of this success and touring, Dan has not lost touch with his fan base. In fact, he always tries to involve fans as much as possible. For example, prior to his tour, he needed notated music to give the musicians that would be touring with him, so he hired fans for $15 an hour to copy the music. Who else does this kind of thing? He remains approachable and will still be available after shows to interact with fans. He once even published his iChat screen name as a myspace bulletin, so fans can talk to him whenever he is online.

Dan Deacon is one of those few artists that is wildly imaginative, yet remains humble and he deserves every bit of the success he has today.  Hopefully, he will continue to grow and make further, much needed impacts on today’s pop scene.

Economic Downturn

March 4th, 2009

As the market keeps falling and people are losing more and more of their retirement funds, etc., one cannot help but think about these implications on the music world. As some larger, more traditional musical institutions may not be up to the challenge, many of the smaller, less conservative programmers will see their musical horizons expanding.
The best artists in any field thrive in such uncertain conditions because there is so much to respond to creatively. Many of the best composers had money troubles their entire lives and only enjoyed a glimpse of financial success to lose it all. Yet, the music did not falter. They remained true to their musical identity and often expanded the boundaries of their musical time. Sounds like history may be repeating itself with the exception that today composers have grant agencies such as Meet the Composer and the American Music Center to offset financial problems. Today more than ever, all artists need to see that their art is their business and they need to become savvy in building relationships and sales.
Sales? That’s right. How can an artist make money if no one is purchasing the work? These days art is a business and now more than ever, artists need to start building relationships themselves since most cannot afford an agent. But this should be good news because having more than one role in your art can provide variety in life and help creators fall in love with the creative process all over again. Careful consideration must be taken in order to not allow the business side affect the creative side, i.e. creating to maximize sales. When art is created with passion and conviction, not everyone will understand or enjoy it, but someone will, and it is that someone with which artists need to build a lasting relationship. Gone are the days of the misunderstood, brooding artist that creates and never sees the light of day. How rewarding is that? It is in these times that creators of all sorts can get to know their inner salesperson in order to create their own way, rather than relying so heavily on the ever depleting government grant funds.