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Roger Doyle (b.1949): Time Machine - music composed, performed and produced by Roger Doyle with telephone answering machine messages 1987-1989

Album Summary

>Doyle, Roger : Chalant, memento mori for piano & electronics
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Called "The Godfather of Irish Electronica", and renowned for his interweaving of classical, piano-driven structures, contemporary electronic music, sound art and post rock, Roger Doyle is one of Europe's most exciting and original composers. Time Machine, his most personal record to date, centers around a series of answering machine messages of Doyle's family, close friends, colleagues and lovers, all of them recorded in and preserved from the late 1980's. This haunting spectral and deeply emotional meditation on the passing and creating of life is both nostalgic and powerfully of the moment. Faithful companions and family members have tragically died, children have grown to adults and new life has been born. Time Machine intermingles sadness, melancholy, joy and triumph in a manner that makes this one of the most poignant releases of 2015.

American Record Guide, March/April 2016
What happens when you put answering machine messages from the late 1980s together with computerized instruments and sounds? You get Time Machine by Roger Doyle. It's often difficult to make out the messages, and the electronics range from sweeping strings in `Voices of Parents' to a strange mid-2000s club scene in `It's Very Serious'. Harmonically the release is mostly tonal and bright as in `Salome at the Gate' and the saccharine `Back From Hospital'. Piano and other keyboard instruments are the main voices, and most movements have a nostalgic tone.

Notes & Reviews:

Little about the graphics on this release of music by Irish electronic composer Roger Doyle tells you what you're getting or suggests how pleasing the whole thing is. Time Machine is a collection of answering machine messages received by the composer in the late 1980s with music added; the music involves a keyboard, electronic sounds, and manipulation of the messages themselves. Younger readers may require an explanation: an answering machine in the days prior to cellular telephony would record messages, often by means of a microcassette; presumably, those were what Doyle rediscovered here. Some of the messages are mundane (congratulations from parents and friends, messages from the composer's young son); some are less so (expressions of support after the composer's hospitalization with asthma, a disturbing crank call, a sort of improvised poem from a friend). The text is slightly broken up electronically: it is generally intelligible, but the instrumental sounds are not "background music," they are polyphonically woven into the text. Doyle is adept in varying the mood to match the words, and in general it would be hard to find electronic compositions more approachable and varied than these. There are three non-texted compositions, and at the end, the technology is brought up to date with a setting of a modern voicemail, telling the composer that he had become a grandfather. Time Machine will certainly make you reflect on the impermanence of voicemail, and it's a great introduction to the composer known as the godfather of Irish electronic music. ~ James Manheim


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Works Details

>Doyle, Roger : Chalant, memento mori for piano & electronics
  • Performer: Roger Doyle
  • Running Time: 70 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2011