Michael J. Schumacher

Michael J. Schumacher: Room Pieces

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Room Pieces presents two discs of recent realizations (all but one were created in 2002) based on works and ideas Michael J. Schumacher has been perfecting since the early '90s. He performed the first "Room Piece" in 1994. Eight years later listeners are treated to its 11th realization. It consists of a number of piano and vocal samples whose transformations, occurrences, volume, and diffusion are determined by a set of inter-influencing algorithms run by the computer. The piece is usually presented through a multi-channel system, in a comfortable listening room. This stereo realization is probably less dynamic, but you get the gist of it and an intriguing listening experience to boot. Schumacher toys with the notion of silence and expectation. At first the sound events are "placed" far away from each other. The pace seems to pick up in the course of the 76 minutes it lasts, but then again it may just be that the listener gets accustomed to the sparseness. After a while you either drift off, passively admiring the sonic display, or you begin to try to anticipate the next moves. "Room Piece XI" fills up all of disc one. Disc two presents four shorter pieces, all close to the 20-minute mark. They all play tricks on the notions of time and density, but are generally busier. "Piece in 3 Parts" uses samples of violinist Jane Henry and percussionist Tim Barnes treated through the software Max/MSP. The two "Still" pieces aim at producing the illusion of stillness amidst a flurry of activity. But the standout track is "Untitled," a gorgeous work that roars out of the speakers, a loud drone of sine tones that will catch you off-guard at first. Another classy sound art production from XI.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
feat: Jane Henry
blue highlight denotes track pick