Monday, 7 September 2015
Here's a potted portrait of a modern composer, compared with the moody creature who used to sit down with a quill pen and scratch inky marks on some parchment paper, balanced precariously on the top of a piano or harpsichord (the parchment not the composer). This new being uses a digital audio work station, patches and loops, samples and special effects, ready loaded into his mixing desk. Then, on stage, in front of a shouting, jumping audience, he starts with a bass line and synthesised drums. After that the remixes flow of prerecorded music. This is where the composition factor kicks in, for our composer can now be as creative as he can or wants, mixing in, mixing out. The audience love it and will groove along for hours. The place is jumping and our composer is having a great time, too. Oh, yep, and don't forget the syncronised light show, the laser beams and disco lights, the backdrop film that turns the whole set into a spaceship or a volcano, a journey through mountains or a trip to the bottom of the sea. That's a face of contemporary composition, a skilful scribbling with sound.