Personnel: Trevor Tureski (vibraphone).
Recording information: Q Studios, Toronto, ON (11/2008).
Director: Philip Blackburn.
On the account of this CD, MC Maguire is basically a sampler artist who, somehow, managed to infiltrate the ranks of academic composers. Trash of Civilization features two long-form works for real instruments and computer. However, unlike what experimental electronica artists would come up with in such a set-up, Maguire churns out actual contemporary music, despite the fact that it is mostly made of urban, nature, and media-borne sounds, layers upon layers of bits of noise. It's an exciting feat. Both half-hour-plus pieces are double concertos for two acoustic instruments and computer, the latter assuming the role (but not the sound palette) of a symphony orchestra. And both pieces actually work as concertos, displaying the kind of dialogue between solo voices and massed playing that you would expect. When the computer gets the spotlight, you tend to process its maximalist output as sound art or collage art, but when the instruments are present, both their parts and the computer's have a distinct "contemporary classical" quality. "The Spawn of Abe" features Max Christie on Bb clarinet and Mark Rogers on oboe, in an epic clash between the three main monotheist religions, replete with traditional music quotes in the instrumental parts, war-mongering samples, and large-scale confrontation. It is an exhilarating piece, reminiscent in part of the duo Furt's sample battles, framed in a "New Complexity" context. "Narcissus auf Bali" (with Trevor Tureski on vibraphone and Ryan Scott on marimba) sets the myth of Narcissus and Echo in the jungle of Bali, mixing in gamelan samples with the mallet percussion, with a new sonic escalation at every turn. This one feels a bit less focused than "The Spawn of Abe," but it may be the listener's own focus slipping away from exhaustion after over 60 minutes of very dense, hyperactive, demanding music. ~ François Couture