Tod Machover is a young American composer with far-from-the-mainstream credentials, including a five-year stint as Director of Musical Research at Pierre Boulez’s IRCAM institute in Paris. But Machover’s music is not the by-the-numbers machine-speak one might guess from the résumé. Rather, he is a composer who happens to use tape and mixed media as his message. The techniques behind a work like Flora, in which a soprano’s unaccompanied voice is subjected to various electronic deconstructionist urges, have been around since the 1950s. But what distinguishes Machover’s work is his fresh aural imagination, his willingness to make a big cross-cultural gesture (the title track was inspired by a collaboration, conducted mostly by fax, with the Japanese computer graphics artist Yoichiro Kawaguchi), and his command of the tools of the thoroughly modern composer’s trade, the synthesizer and the Synclavier. Try it: you might like it. B+

  • Music