Reviews for “Beneath a Canopy of Angels…”

The Post Haste Reed Duo‘s debut album, “Beneath a canopy of angels… a River of Stars,” which includes my 2011 work, bioMechanics, has been getting some great press.

Check it out:

Post-Haste Reed Duo: Beneath a Canopy of Angels…a River of Stars

“Would that all new music and its performances were this tight and this serious!”

Sonic Haiku (SEAMUS Electroacoustic Miniatures 2015)

Check out my piece Lübeck Kireji on the new SEAMUS Electro-Acoustic Miniatures CD, “Sonic Haiku”

SEAMUS Miniatures 2015

While haiku are most famous for their brevity and 5-7-5 syllabic pattern, two other elements are necessary for a traditional haiku: an evocation of the season and a juxtaposition of two distinct images. The two images are separated by a “kireji” (a “cutting word”) which indicates a pause, creating a space between the two ideas and inviting the audience themselves to connect these independent thoughts.

Post-Haste Reed Duo CD available

Post-Haste Reed Duo’s debut album (which includes my piece, bioMechanics) is now available.

Thanks again to those of you who donated through the Kickstarter, and, if you didn’t reserve your advance copy, you can now get the album on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify or most other places where you might buy music.

The album already received a great review in the March issue of textura, praising the duo’s performance and describing bioMechanics as a “bold opener” where “sheets of metallic noise as well as beat patterns interact with the duo’s acoustic sonorities, making for something of a showstopper, even if it’s just seven minutes long.”

It’s a great CD all around, and a great addition to the collection of serious fans of new music or unique chamber wind repertoire.

Shin no Shin, for iPad and electronics

Here’s another contemplative work that I premiered at the Future Music Oregon Concert on November 17th, using iPad and the Kyma system.

It contrasted nicely with the Post Haste Duo’s performance of my chop-buster bioMechanics that was also on the concert (video of that performance coming soon).

Simon Hutchinson – Shin no Shin from Simon Hutchinson on Vimeo.

In his essay on Japanese Aesthetics, Donald Richie explains a three-part formula for classifying the arts, shin-gyou-sou:

“The first term, shin, indicates things formal, slow, symmetrical, imposing. The third is sou and is applied to things informal, fast asymmetrical, relaxed, the second is gyou and it describes everything in between the extremes of the two.”

These three divisions, though, can also all be subdivided in threes, such as shin no sou (the more sou end of shin), shin no gyou (medium-shin), and shin no shin (the highest level of shin).

Requiem, for Shamisen and Live Electronics

For some time now, I’ve been revising my 2010 composition, “Requiem,” and I finally had a chance last month to get into the studio to make a video recording of the new version.

Enjoy it on a system with bassy speakers:

Simon Hutchinson – Requiem from Simon Hutchinson on Vimeo.

This piece, for shamisen and live electronics, is dedicated to my friend, Kawamura Shinyu. Shinyu was the first person I met when I arrived in Japan, and it was through him that I came to study the shamisen. Sadly, Shinyu also grappled with bipolar disorder, and took his own life during one of his depressive episodes. Through this piece, I hope to celebrate his life and express my gratitude for his endless kindness, hospitality, and generosity to me.

Aaron Pergram performing “Doppelgänger” live

While we’re still working on the studio cut of this piece, here’s a video of Aaron Pergram’s live performance of “Doppelgänger” from the Future Music Oregon concert, November 19th, 2011.

Doppelganger (2011) from Simon Hutchinson on Vimeo.

When composing for soloist and electronics, I often approach pieces as concerti, with the live performer conversing with an electronic “ensemble.” Traditionally, this genre has given composers the opportunity to explore the relationship between an individual and society as well as provide discourse on the importance of both individual and social expression and contentment. The introduction of the soloist’s doppelgänger, a supernatural duplicate, turns this piece into a kind of double concerto, with the soloist faced not only with society but with the implications of the spectral double, supporting or undermining the efforts of the individual to find a place in the social world.