XI Records is pleased to announce the debut full-length release from Michael Vincent Waller, The South Shore, featuring chamber works from 2011 through 2014, with album art photography by Phill Niblock. Waller has collaborated with numerous musicians and ensembles to bring this album to life. This kind of listening is for the brain to relax and enjoy, for the soul and emotions together as art for the universal. Reveling in subtext and subtlety, a symbiotic exploration of the history and future of musical life. "Blue" Gene Tyranny, in his liner notes to The South Shore, writes, "The music of Michael Vincent Waller offers a welcome and rare alternative to the tempo and noise of modern life. These touching miniatures employ the pure modal scales first described by ancient Greek philosophers and sustained through millennia in the folk song of many lands, in religious chant, and in the modern era by the works of composers such as Erik Satie (especially his monodrama Socrate) andTerry Riley (especially A Rainbow in Curved Air). Waller's music convinces us by its honest emotion, which avoids any artifice that would dramatically pull us toward some effect. Although it is the first time we have heard these works, we seem to immediately understand the intimate feeling they refer to." Experimental Intermedia Foundation, founded in 1968 by Elaine Summers, has been presenting performances since 1973, produced and curated by composer Phill Niblock. As an offshoot of Experimental Intermedia, XI Records was formed in 1990, with the main purpose of presenting a series of compact discs highlighting the music of contemporary artist-composers whose works are original and galvanizing. The intent of XI is to extend the experience of these engaging and pioneering works beyond the performance space into the home. XI's catalog includes Phill Niblock, Éliane Radigue, Tom Johnson, David Behrman, David First, David Watson, Lois V. Vierk, Ellen Fullman, Philip Corner,Malcolm Goldstein, Annea Lockwood, and many more.
Review in All Music by Blair Sanderson
"quiet, lyrical expressions and subdued meditation. Waller's unhurried and gentle music is well-suited to introspection"
"Waller belongs to the generation of postminimalist composers who have absorbed the techniques and procedures of the avant-garde, yet he has moved on to find fresh resources in the use of Greek modes, traditional counterpoint, and the influences of impressionism, gamelan, and pandiatonicism."
Review in Examiner by Stephen Smoliar
"exquisitely crafted" ... "striking"
"introducing a rhetoric of stillness (not to be confused with John Cage’s attention to silence), a rhetoric that Eno would continue to explore beyond the life of [his Obscure] label. In the selections chosen for The South Shore, Waller seems to be taking up the torch of that particular rhetorical stance, applying it to a wide diversity of sonorities by combining different assortments of instruments in chamber music settings. One might also consider Valentin Silvestrov’s “aesthetic of quietude” as a “bridge” between Eno and Waller”
Review in PopMatters 8/10 by John Garratt
"debut full length recording The South Shore is a bold surprise"
The South Shore is the sound of the entire world stopping and taking the time to have a good cry.
"Waller’s melodies are stretching out but remain concise enough to stay with you long after the point of contact. Labeling the music as “romantic” threatens to do what all labeling does—pigeonhole. But by side-stepping the flowery sentiments of yesterday and the atonal abrasions of today, Michael Vincent Waller has made a strong case for modern classicism. Don’t bother looking that genre up; just go visit The South Shore."
Review in Textura (March 2015 Issue No. 121)
"Waller positions himself as somewhat of a lone wolf... "
"... there's also no denying the appeal of Waller's music, which, rich in counterpoint and elegant in flow, speaks to the listener with an undeniable immediacy, and one comes away from the recording impressed by its genuine character."
"From the seductively pensive cello-and-piano duet “Anthems” with which the recording lullingly begins to the dramatic bass clarinet-and-gong duo “Arbitrage” with which it ends, The South Shore—by turns impressionistic, autumnal, introspective—entrances the listener with one supple chamber-styled setting after another."
Review in Other Music by Niels Van Tomme
"a unique, courageous proposition of postminimal music"
"... stillness, a sense of all-encompassing quietude and immobility. An antidote to today's hyper-connected, fluid world, the record, quite surprisingly, articulates immediacy. This confident approach is richly illustrated across the double-disc's 21 miniature compositions, which explore a unique territory in between romantic reverie, folk miniatures, and repeating (but not repetitive) patterns... The South Shore is the convincing debut of a promising composer."