"Media Control" (Quartet Version)
composed // produced by Pascal Le Boeuf
video by Four/Ten Media (Evan Chapman Kevin Eikenberg)
performed by Hub New Music: Michael Avitabile - Flute // David Dziardziel - Clarinet // Alyssa Wang - Violin // Jesse Christeson - Cello)
recorded by Chris Gilroy at Douglass Recording
mixed // mastered by mixed // mastered by Dave Darlington at Bass Hit Recording
In the age of post-truth politics and alternative facts, it is hard to deny that mass media plays a role in manipulating our collective imagined reality. To quote the New York Times, “How can we still be speaking of “facts” when they no longer provide us with a reality that we all agree on? The problem is that the experts and agencies involved in producing facts have multiplied, and many are now for hire. If you really want to find an expert willing to endorse a fact, and have sufficient money or political clout behind you, you probably can.” In reaction to the 2016 election I found catharsis in watching Noam Chomsky interviews connected to a book he published in 2002 called Media Control. According to the audio liner notes:
“[Media Control] addresses wartime propaganda and opinion control by asserting two models of democracy—one in which the public actively participates, and one in which the public is manipulated and controlled. According to Chomsky, […] the mass media is the primary vehicle for delivering propaganda in the United States. [...] Chomsky further touches on how the modern public relations industry has been influenced by Walter Lippmann’s theory of “spectator democracy,” in which the public is seen as a “bewildered herd” that needs to be directed, not empowered; and how the public relations industry in the United States focuses on “controlling the public mind,” and not on informing it. Media Control is an invaluable primer on the secret workings of disinformation in democratic societies."
Media Control is both a nod to Chomsky’s ideas and a critique of post-truth culture. The musical content was developed through the intuitive expansion of process-oriented approaches to composition, and the structure is derived from the use of themes to represent ideas and politicians in an abstract story.
There are a lot of people I want to thank who were involved in developing this music and bringing it to light. Big thanks to composers Alyssa Weinberg, Steven Mackey, Dan Trueman, Barbara White, and Donnacha Dennehy for their feedback and kind suggestions, and to Robert Honstein for introducing me to the Hubs. Also, thanks to the many performers who helped me revise the music through performances and recordings. The first experimental draft of Media Control was workshopped with the help of Moon Young HA and ensemble mise-en in February 2017. It was then revised and expanded to include piano at the behest of my dear friend, clarinetist Meighan Stoops, who officially premiered the quintet version at Merkin Hall on Sept 18, 2017 with the Da Capo Chamber Players. After being further developed in a production environment (by Kelli Kathman, Vasko Dukovski, Todd Reynolds, and Nick Photinos) the full sextet version was premiered by Eighth Blackbird at Princeton University on February 26, 2018. This video represents the core quartet version which was premiered by Hub New Music in January 2019.
Learn more: http://www.hubnewmusic.org/