Electronic music should not, as a genre, automatically instill fear in the average listener. Some of the pioneers of electronic and computer music, including Otto Luening and Mario Davidowsky, wrote works of considerable delicacy and beauty. For such composers, the new sounds are tools, means to an end. That is not the guiding aesthetic of this collection. These nine composers, who come from a broad range of backgrounds, share a sense of reveling in the sound worlds they can create at their computer keyboards. Two of the composers introduce traditional instruments: Nikolet Burzynska includes flute and Mei-Fang Lin employs a marimba. In the case of the John Nichols work, sampled voices are added to the purely electronic mix. In each of these examples, those non-electronic components soften the profile of the music by adding a human quality. The other six composers work purely in electonic media, often with giddy delight. We get gobs of sound, layers of micro-tones, and a dynamic and harmonic range that seems to test the perceptive abilities of the human ear. When a composer’s credits include “sound design” (Juan Carlos Vasquez), or is said to be inspired by psychoanalytical theories (Nicola Monopoli), you should have a sense of what to expect here. None of the composers claims to be inspired by Haydn sonatas. But if sheer aural atmospherics and experiementation appeals to you, this might light your fire.
—Peter Burwasser