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I still recall being a young aspiring musician recording my first ever album with my bandmates. We spent weeks working on perfecting our recordings, getting the takes just right. The engineer helped us along the way with mixing in amazing effects, EQ, and panning to get it sounding just how we wanted. When it was all wrapped up in the studio, we smiled and patted each other on the back and truly believed this was the finished product we had all been waiting for.

A more recent experiment with the same harmonic structure was my 2015 piece Territories, commissioned by What a Neighborhood! and premiered by the viola da gamba quartet Parthenia. The piece undertakes a spiritual journey from “our” world of the everyday, symbolized by conventional piano-like tuning in the first movement, through a murky in-between harmonic world in the second movement, and finally to a place of “otherness” in the third movement, which undertakes three modulations up through one of those wide whole steps to arrive at the interval of a fifth above, rather than the tritone that would occur in conventional tuning.

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“It was, for a generation raised on Time-Life’s canon of Music’s Greatest Masterpieces, a symbol of an unfathomable past filled with difficult musical mountains — each a challenge to be conquered with the guidance of academic Sherpas dispensing ‘music appreciation.’ Mythically, it had found its role. It was the Monad that contained within it the secret formulas for all musical creation to follow, the musical equivalent of Kubrick’s black monolith or of Stonehenge.”

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Lindy Vision is an all-girl electro punk rock band composed of three sisters Dorothy, Carla, and Natasha Cuylear. All three sisters currently reside in Albuquerque, NM. They are devoted to making music that makes you feel something.

If you think through what music your listener was likely exposed to as a child, you can easily figure out how to write to job their nostalgia response. But it’s important to remember that “nostalgia” can also be associated equally with sentiments of sadness and loneliness as it can joy and comfort. As a composer, this is where it becomes important to play with instrumentation, timbre, and tempo, in order to get the right balance.