Composer and electric guitarist Mark Dancigers is both a member and Artistic Director of the New York-based NOW Ensemble, for which he's written extensively. His music has has been featured at Carnegie Hall, the Bang on a Can Marathon and in performances by the Alabama and Minnesota Symphony Orchestras.
Mark Dancigers writes the following of his Mixtape:
I'm fascinated by the way music moves, or creates its own sense of motion. I think that the ways we think about musical rhythm can tend to paper over this larger sense of a composition creating its own time. In fact, I have a theory that pieces of music are unique "time bubbles" that float around the universe, and our own "time bubbles" happen to intersect with them at various points and in different ways throughout our lives. So, what follows is a partial account of how I hear some of these pieces moving, and how I came to bump into them.
I first heard the top two pieces on this list during composition seminars at Yale, and each somehow raised the bar for my own sense of what a stunning composition could be. Scott Lindroth's Duo for Violins invokes musical traditions, past ways of moving, in a truly profound and almost unnerving way. The violins, moving against and with each other, draw poignant lines in the air. Paul Lansky, with whom I later had the chance to study, creates a sublime flow of drones and samples in Pattern's Patterns.
I love the way the harmonies in Kate Moore's Debris and Alchemy I slowly descend by step one voice at a time. David Lang's How to Pray creates a type of time where the addition of one new melodic note or harmonic change takes on vast emotional significance. Judd Greenstein, whose music I've played quite a bit, has a way of unfolding his tunes in layers, pulse by pulse.
I also had the great privilege of studying with Steven Mackey, whose music bounds through time like some fearless explorer. I get the sense from this music that the world is bracing, and one should be alive to its realities or surreality. I also get the sense that I should have included the full Micro-Concerto, instead of only the first movement. Blasted constraints. Martin Suckling is a composer from the UK and a great friend. To See the Dark Between explores spectral bursts of harmony that struggle to contain the energy of their shimmering spectra, and fail.
Jan Garbarek is an incredible musician, but, isn't it just a little unfair that he gets to take a long, beautiful, emotive solo over this exquisite Byzantine chant? If anyone wants to hire me for such a gig, I promise them the nice guy rate. I'd probably do it for free.
Scott Lindroth - Duo for Violins (Veronica Macchia-Kadlubkiewicz, violin; Curtis Macomber, violin)
Paul Lansky - Pattern's Pattern (Hannah Mackay, vocals; Paul Lansky, vocals, electronics)
Kate Moore - Debris & Alchemy: I. (Ensemble Klang)
David Lang - How to Pray (David Cossin, percussion; Felix Fan, cello; Andrew Russo, piano)
Judd Greenstein - Sing Along (NOW Ensemble)
Steven Mackey -Micro-Concerto: I. Chords and Fangled Drumset (Daniel Druckman, percussion; Zizi Mueller, flute; Michael Lowenstern, clarinet; Shem Guibbory, violin; Michael Finckel, cello; Emma Tahmizian, piano)
Martin Suckling - To See the Dark Between (The Aronowitz Ensemble)
Jan Garbarek - Svjete Tihij (The Hilliard Ensemble; Jan Garbarek, saxophone)