This week the website of my company Green Beet Productions was relaunched. We recently produced the music for two new Cadillac TV spots that are currently running on national television. Green Beet was founded in 2000 around the time I began creating music and other content for Volkswagen through Lance Jensen and Arnold Worldwide. Green Beet has remained active as a multi-faceted creative enterprise. Over the years Green Beet has produced music for many leading brands including Volkswagen, Hummer, Philips, Citizens Bank, and Travel Channel. The creative team of Green Beet is a talented group of composers and producers in New York City and the Hudson Valley region. All of the writers have careers as independent artists in a variety of musical genres in addition to their work as designers.
At Green Beet the philosophy is that innovative original music can work with branding and advertising to create unique emotional experiences. In 2002 my Automotive CD broke new ground by being the first full length album of music originally produced for a series of Volkswagen TV and internet commercials. The recording demonstrated a new model of partnership between an artist, brand, ad agency and record label and was awarded the American Association of Independent Music Best Electronica album in 2003. According to Timothy Taylor in his book The Sounds of Capitalism, since the Automotive project the relationship between popular music and brands has become ever closer. Green Beet Productions is dedicated to developing new ways that music and branding can work together and enhance each other through creative partnerships.more
One of the most satisfying feelings for any artist is having their work contextualized with other creators that they respect. I am very excited to see my 2009 album Night Science included in this list along with many of my favorite artists of the past decade.
David Rothenberg’s recent book Bug Music is a compelling mix of scientific rigor, musical analysis and philosophical inquiry written in an accessible, personal style. One in a series of Rothenberg’s books devoted to investigating the relationship between nature and music, Bug Music is the most compelling of the group for me. While his explorations of bird song and whale song both were fascinating, the sounds and rhythms of insects have had a strong impact on me from early childhood and therefore this book resonates more strongly with my experience. Sounds like these recordings of Tibicen winnemanna cicadas (not the 17 year ones) intrigued me for as long as I can remember while growing up in North Carolina. In particular the rhythmic organization of insect choruses has inspired me in my work with interactive computer music composition and performance. The phenomenon of repetition of regular rhythmic patterns in loose rhythmic canon or counterpoint is thoroughly analyzed by Rothenberg through a wealth of research that he presents, stretching back for hundreds of years. It turns out that insects listen to each other and try to match each other’s rhythmic patterns, creating the wonderfully unpredictable polyphony that we hear in crickets, cicadas and katydids and see in fireflies.
Rothenberg then goes on to make strong connections with musical structures in African drumming, emergent musical orders where complex structure emerges from layers of repetition, and electronic dance music. The book also includes many examples of poetry from disparate cultures that describes the phenomena of cicadas and other insect singers. The 17 year cicada’s periodic reappearance is investigated in great detail and Rothenberg’s musings on its mysterious emergence from darkness to sing and have sex are amazingly insightful. I am extremely happy to be performing with David in my current musical project.
Audible Horizon is a new set by composer/performer Ben Neill for his self-designed mutantrumpet with live interactive digital music and video. The imagery is taken from paintings by Los Angeles based artist Andy Moses, whose work is a futuristic hybrid of abstraction and landscape that suggests the theme of a horizon through the use of smooth horizontal lines. Moses’ work is painted on concave and convex surfaces which evoke a sense of movement in time and space, recalling the vistas of Pacific Ocean sunrises and sunsets; these qualities of his paintings inform the repurposed images that make up the dynamic visual component of Audible Horizon.
In Audible Horizon, the sounds and controllers of Neill’s hybrid electro-acoustic instrument animate the still images, creating a synthesis of audio and visual media that is made possible through multiple software applications. Over the course of the work the sound impacts the visual elements in gradually more radical ways. The music in the piece relies primarily on the live sampling of Neill’s instrument; the tones, timbres and modulations are all mapped across the audio and visual parameters. Minimal electronic beats and sub bass lines are introduced periodically to support Neill’s sonic and visual explorations. The work has an overall shape but the details of each performance are improvised, and therefore unique.
Both Moses and Neill use high-tech materials and techniques in their works to mimic patterns in nature. This approach is reflected in the fluid, open-ended character of Audible Horizon, which is created to be an immersive ambient experience. Neill has been making interactive music and video works for the past 15 years and in this piece chose to work with still images in order to challenge the idea of cinematic sound which functions as an accompaniment to the moving image. Audible Horizon can be described as an example of Visual Music that utilizes Audio-Visual Objects. These techniques along with the use of video as a light source give the work its futuristic yet natural quality.more
Tomorrow at Ramapo College we’ll be presenting Music In Nature, an all day symposium and concert focused on music and ecology. The event is the Independent Study project of one of my students, Adam Lazor, a guitarist who is majoring in Music Production with minors in Environmental Studies and Anthropology. Some of my favorite artists and people will be speaking and performing including musician/writer/philosopher David Rothenberg, Composer/Producer/DJ King Britt, and my wife Amy Lipton who will be leading a panel on ecological issues and visual art.
This short video of me playing Hudsonic from Night Science was taken at the Guthman Musical Instrument competition at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta, GA last year. I didn’t win a prize but they are using the video to promote the competition. Kind of weird.
Meanwhile the piece, which was originally created for David Rothenberg‘s Whale Music Remixed CD, was recently licensed for use on the Canadian comedy show Seed. It’s a show about a sperm bank donor. You never know where the music is going next…more
The setup for writing and recording The Demo with Mikel Rouse at the Studio Theater in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois
Innovative composer and performer Mikel Rouse has been named the first ever Visiting Research Artist for the eDream (Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media) Institute. Mikel and innovative composer and trumpeter Ben Neill will be in residence Jan 13-27 at both NCSA and the Studio Theater at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
From Melissa Merli’s Art Beat:
I received a news release in October from the eDream Institute. It said eDream had named composer-performer Mikel Rouse its first visiting research artist.
The somewhat unusual “research artist” title was chosen to reflect eDream’s interest in discovering new ways to harness digital technologies to push the boundaries of creative practice and performance.
“Mikel experiments with technology that is highly relevant to the University of Illinois,” eDream director Donna Cox said in the release. “We know he will synergize and really innovate with this opportunity.”
During this academic year, Rouse, eDream (Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media) and Krannert) will work together on “The Demo,” a work inspired by a 90-minute demonstration of computing technology performed by Stanford researcher Douglas C. Engelbart on Dec. 9, 1968.
The demo was the first public appearance of the computer mouse, as well as hypertext, dynamic file linking and shared-screen collaboration.
“These demos are the precursors to things that change the world,” Cox said in the release. She recalled a 1989 demo in which she and colleagues at the UI’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications demonstrated high-speed communication networks that connected scientists with one another and with geographically distant resources like supercomputers.
eDream first worked with Rouse on his opera, “The End of Cinematics,” which debuted at Krannert in 2005, and then on his song cycle “Gravity Radio,” performed there in 2010.more