Mikel Rouse Releases Double CD: Boost|False Doors Today, 5/1
Composer, filmmaker, director and solo performer Mikel Rouse releases today, May 1, his first double album, Boost|False Doors (Exit Music 1015-1016), through iTunes and all major retailers. Boost|False Doors will be available via iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, CD Baby, CD Connection and CD Universe and on disc through All Major Retail Stores and through Exit Music Recordings today.
“False Doors has been described as my Buddhist record, probably because of an impression of acceptance that pervades the recording,” explains Rouse. “And Boost was about the anticipation of a loss of love through the metaphor of hedge funds and banking. The recordings are a year apart, but somehow, they seemed to become bookends, so I thought I’d release them together.”
Rouse’s musical and theatrical repertoire has its roots in the high art-meets-popular culture, mix-and-match aesthetic of the early ‘80s downtown Manhattan music and art scene from which he emerged. As the Toronto Globe and Mail puts it, Rouse’s music has brought “comparisons to Laurie Anderson, Steve Reich and occasionally Talking Heads, though Rouse's love of complex rhythmic patterns far exceeds them all.” And Rouse has been credited with anticipating the orchestrated pop music of Postclassical 30 years before the term was coined. As the New York Times noted in 2010: “If Mr. Rouse had built his career in a different era, he might be playing these songs to indie-rock fans alongside bands like Dirty Projectors or an earlier Sufjan Stevens.” But music is just a part of what he does: His pieces also build a hypnotic effect through their non-narrative approach and the use of surreal film images. The Los Angeles Times notes, “Indeed, what makes Rouse's music so fascinating is that it completely merges speech and song into a rich overlay of textures. The songs have a lush pop music texture (some have noticed a seeming Rouse influence on Beck). The melodies are immediate but complexly structured like poetry; his beautiful lyrics are highly musical in tone and rhythm.” And after the premiere of Rouse’s multimedia opera, The End of Cinematics, The New York Times reported, “Sometimes built on heavy, repetitive beats, and sometimes couched in Beatle-esque psychedelia, the songs are vivid, pleasingly visceral and often engagingly harmonized, with amusingly off-kilter lyrics.”
Rouse is perhaps best known for his modern media trilogy: Failing Kansas, Dennis Cleveland and The End Of Cinematics, presented for the first time in repertory in 2008 at the Luminato Festival in Toronto. Praising part one, the Washington Post wrote “There is no standard vocabulary adequate to describe Failing Kansas…for full appreciation, it should be seen more than once.” Of part two, Dennis Cleveland, Daily Variety wrote “highly sophisticated, using imaginative harmonies, contrapuntal techniques (even fugue!), complex overlays of rhythm and Minimalist phasing, rap and hip-hop. It is a musical language substantial enough to make statements, direct enough to make theater.” Dennis Cleveland began its life with a sold-out run at tiny New York City avant-garde venue the Kitchen, where theatre-goers had to turn to scalpers to nab hard-to-come-by tickets, and returned to Manhattan years later in a more full-blown form, for a critically-acclaimed engagement at Lincoln Center. Village Voice critic Kyle Gann called it “the most exciting and innovative opera since Einstein on the Beach.”
And the Toronto Star said of The End Of Cinematics: “If the job of an artist is to upset expectations, stimulate the viewers’ imaginations, critique the corporate driven culture and expand the possibilities of any given genre, then Mikel Rouse is at the top of his league.” The End of Cinematics was inspired by two essays –“The Decay of Cinema” and “A Century of Cinema” – written by Susan Sontag. It explores the domination of film by corporations and commercial interests, and was premiered at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana and subsequently performed in Chapel Hill, New York, Miami, and Liverpool.