Mason Bates (1977 - ) is an American composer known for his incorporation of electronic sounds such as CD playback or midi triggered samples in symphonic and chamber music. The electronic sounds Bates utilizes are far from the Musique concrète sounds of the 20th century. These sounds range from techno influence bass drum hits to the sound or a river.
Stereo is King is a work percussion trio and electronica (otherwise known as CD playback)
Stereo is King is held together with a reoccurring rhythmic patterns with one appearing at around the :55 second mark.
The electronic sounds used in this work are very music in the style of Mason Bates. (such as: the rhythmic use of white noise (1:28), techno bass drum (the beginning, :10 or 1:45 mark), and arpeggiator affected tones.(1:05) )
As a whole, what stands out to place this work into the style of Mason Bates has to be the use of familiar electronic sounds. After listening to a couple of Bates piece (mostly the electrostatics stuff) some familiar sounds will become notable. This sounds how roots in techno, glitch or EDM. (electronic dance music)
ComparisonEditCaroline Shaw (1982 - ) is an American composer, most known for winner the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Partita for Eight voices. For this section I would like to compare a movement from that work (IV Passacaglia) to Stereo is King.
In Partita, Shaw uses many techniques borrowed from other vocal styles such as yodeling, belting, Inuit throat singing and more to showcase the capacity of the human voice. This kind of parallels Bates use of electronic sounds found in different genres other than art music.
In the fourth movement, Passacaglia, Shaw utilizes spoken words (2:228 mark) over top of the vocal ensemble. Also, spoken words are used in the entire ensemble at 3:50, while a solo line begins to make its way in. Throat singing is used throughout the movement, example at 5:40)
Al in all, Shaw blends vocal techniques from across multiple vocal genres.
What I like most about this work, as cliché as it might be, is how seamless the use of electronics and percussion instruments are. I also like that Mason Bates doesn't always feel the need to create brand new unheard sounds when a simple techno bass drum hit will do.
Stereo is King is probably one of my most favorite recent works I have heard in the past year.
"Caroline Shaw Partita for 8 Voices Roomful of Teeth No. 4. Passacaglia" YouTube video, 5:55. Posted by "AMrTriangleman," upload December 18, 2013. video.
"Stereo is King - Mason Bates 立體聲之王" YouTube video, 12:28. Posted by "Andrew Chan," upload September 27, 2012. video.