08 MC MaguireMC Maguire – Transmutation of Things
Lizzie Lyon; Orchestra and CPU; MC Maguire
Neuma 159 (neumarecords.org)

You will probably be overwhelmed the first time you listen to this release of two sonic canvasses by techno-pop-wizard MC Maguire. He layers sounds on sounds, so densely that at first it seems there will never be any relief, nor rest for the ears, the panicky sense a loud environment can cause, when one feels crushed by sound. It’s easier the second time; it requires surrender, faith in the strength of mind needed to survive one’s daily trials and chores. If your energy levels are down, maybe wait till they rally before you hit play.

Play is what Maguire does. He plays with source material he openly steals, in this case two pop songs. He plays with time, as any proper composer should, and he bounces balls of colour off walls of solid masonry. There are rhythmic and tonal games, and one or two listenings won’t suffice to catch them all. Reading his deadpan liner notes, you might wonder if there are word games too. Doubtful. His creative processes are apt, though mystifying; I feel like maybe  I can hear what he says he did. You don’t need to know how it works for it to work, any more than a car you drive or a plane you fly in, or the microwave you use to heat your coffee. 

The two tracks are Predisposition, which removes an Ariana Grande song from its original frame and takes it for a ride round the galaxy; and Apophis, named for the (potentially) Earth-shattering asteroid on course to bring about a reckoning on Friday, April 13, 2029. Katy Perry’s lyrics pop in after the cataclysmic orgasmic moment of truth. Both are amazing and beautiful.

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