San Francisco Symphony 2008-2009: Bates, Ligeti, Gubaidulina

The San Francisco Symphony’s 2008-2009 season seems lighter on contemporary fare than was the previous year. Five events stand out, chief among them the world premiere of the SFS-commissioned The B-Sides by Mason Bates (May 20, 22 and 23, 2009). Bates performs electronic music under the name Masonic; more info on him at (Bates is also contributing new work to a series of performances by the Bay Area vocal group Chanticleer, March 20 – 22, 2009, at the SF Conservatory of Music; on that bill, as well, are pieces by young composers Shawn Crouch, who has done some work for computer, and Tarik O’Regan, whose “Scattered Rhymes” and “Virelai: Douce dame jolie” appeared on an album earlier this year alongside material by Gavin Bryars.)

There are Symphony programs of György Ligeti (Requiem, famed for its deployment by Stanley Kubrick in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, on March 5 – 7, 2009, and the attenuated wonder that is Lontano on September 4, the season’s opening night, plus 6 and 7, 2008 — the latter, unfortunately, scheduled against one night of the annual San Francisco Electronic Music Festival) and two works by Sofia Gubaidulina (the world premiere of an SFS-commissioned work that apparently didn’t have a name at the time of the publication of the season schedule, on February 18, 20 and 21, 2009, and her Violin Concerto No. 2, in tempus präsens, having its U.S. premiere on February 27 and 28, 2009). If I’m missing anything else that I shouldn’t be, please let me know.

Here’s the writeup on last year’s season:

Five Broadcast-Based MP3s from Thomas (Mystified) Park

There’s no didgeridoo on the five-track album Altered Signals by Mystified (aka Thomas Park), but there may as well be. Much of the music heard here has the slow, otherworldly onomatopoeia of that aboriginal device. The collection opens with the title cut: the crackle of data, the ping of noises echoing in a long, narrow chamber (MP3). Then comes “Bell Cloud,” which is all industrial chatter (MP3). In “Vocal Tremors” you can hear the deeply submerged speaking amid the crumpled metal (MP3). “Octavepus” is a heavenly drone, a kind of android Tuvan singing (MP3). And “Science of Change” is like some unimaginably large prayer bowl, its resonance echoing at an extravagantly sedate pace into the distance (MP3). According to the set’s release notes, much of the source material originated in some form of broadcast, suggesting there was already some aural decay at work before Park got his hands on the elements from which Altered Signals was built. More info at the website of the releasing netlabel,, and at Mystified/Park’s

Our Lives in the Bush MP3s / Over 20,000 Served

The remix project Our Lives in the Bush of Disquiet has been downloaded over 20,000 times, as of today. I uploaded the set in early September 2006. It is an homage to the then 25-year-old (and now 27-) album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Brian Eno and David Byrne. Bush of Disquiet consists of a dozen remixes I solicited of two tracks off that album.

The songs are all available for free download in various formats (192Kbps MP3, 64 Kbps MP3, Ogg Vorbis, VBR MP3) at:
Here’s the lineup, with links to the 192Kbps MP3s and to the websites of the contributing musicians:
  1. (MP3) “Help Me Help Me” — AllThatFall
  2. (MP3) “If You Make Your Bed in Heaven” — Roddy Schrock
  3. (MP3) “Leftover Secrets to Tell” — Pocka
  4. (MP3) “Secret Life Remix” — Stephane Leonard
  5. (MP3) “The Black Isle (Byrne/Eno Remix)” — (dj) morsanek
  6. (MP3) “Hit Me Somebody (Help Me Somebody Remix)” — MrBiggs
  7. (MP3) “Being and Nothingness (A Secret Life Remixed)” — john kannenberg
  8. (MP3) “Somebody Help Us” — My Fun
  9. (MP3) “Hey” — Mark Rushton
  10. (MP3) “My Bush in the Secret Life of Ghosts” — Prehab
  11. (MP3) “Not Enough Africa” — Ego Response Technician
  12. (MP3) “Helping (Help Me Somebody Remix)” — doogie
More info at Thanks to all the contributors, including Brian Scott (of, who produced the beautiful “cover” (shown above) and “back cover” for the collection. The project would not have been possible without the instigation of Eno and Byrne, who posted the raw materials of the original songs at

On Bush of Disquiet‘s one-year anniversary, September 4, 2007, it had been downloaded almost 6,000 times (see, which means that the rate of downloads has increased.

Quote of the Week: Terra Firma

From wall text at an exhibit currently on view at the Architectural Heritage Center in Portland, Oregon:

there is not much good that is not in some way based on something old that is good

The sentiment serves sample-based composers and remixers.

The full context of the quote is: “All my training has been in offices doing classical things, with a strong leaning toward the Greek…and I believe…there is not much good that is not in some way based on something old that is good.” The attribution is architect A.E. Doyle (1877 – 1928). The exhibit is “Terra Cotta Portland,” which opened on March 29, 2008. More information at