Mark Takeshi McGregor – Starts and Stops

Mark Takeshi McGregor – Starts and Stops
Music for flute & electronics

Mark Takeshi McGregor, flute, alto flute, piccolo
With Liam Hockley, clarinet*

1. Hōrai – Keiko Devaux (18:20)
2. Duo Augmented* – Yota Kobayashi (17:48)
3 – 5. If This Is A Man – Farshid Samandari  (12:22)
6. fantasiae – Annette Brosin (20:30)
7. The Starts and Stops – Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi (6:07)

Total Time: 75:05

Starts and Stops is available for from:

Producer / réalisateur: Mark Takeshi McGregor

Recording date / date d’enregistrement: 2021
Recording location / lieu d’enregistrement: Pyatt Hall, VSO School of Music
Recording engineer, editing / preneur de son, montage numérique: Piotr Wieczorek
Electronics mixing / mixage électronique: Keiko Devaux

Duo Augmented
Recording date / date d’enregistrement: 2016
Recording location / lieu d’enregistrement: ICICS, University of BC
Recording, mixing, editing / preneur de son, mixage, montage numérique: Yota Kobayashi

If This Is A Man
Recording date / date d’enregistrement: 2020
Recording location / lieu d’enregistrement: Mark’s bedroom
Recording engineer / preneur de son: Mark McGregor
Electronics mixing, editing / mixage électronique, montage numérique: Farshid Samandari

Recording date / date d’enregistrement: 2017
Recording location / lieu d’enregistrement: VSO School of Music
Recording, mixing, editing / preneur de son, mixage, montage numérique: Annette Brosin

The Starts and Stops
Recording date / date d’enregistrement: 2021
Recording location / lieu d’enregistrement: Pyatt Hall, VSO School of Music
Recording engineer, editing / Preneur de son, montage numérique: Piotr Wieczorek
Electronics mixing / mixage électronique: Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi

Overall album mastering / gravure général d’album: Piotr Wieczorek

Cover artwork / œuvre de couverture: Pender Street Mushroom by/par Preston Buffalo

Graphic design / conception graphique: Benjamin Siegl

Special thanks / remerciement:
Giovanni Aniello, Annette Brosin, Preston Buffalo, Jennifer Butler, Canadian Music Centre BC Region, Keiko Devaux, Mark Haney, Dory Hayley, Liam Hockley, Rachel Iwaasa, Yota Kobayashi, Sean McGregor, Jocelyn Morlock & John Korsrud, Jordan Nobles & Redshift Music Society, David Pay and Music on Main, Walter Quan, Farshid Samandari, Alfredo Santa Ana, Ben Siegl, Adrian Verdejo, Piotr Wieczorek.

Starts and Stops is dedicated to Shizu Hayashi and Ronald Hunt.

TK521 © 2023 Redshift Music


Flute and electronics is a particularly rich pairing, perhaps because it connects one of the oldest sounds (the flute has existed, in some form, in nearly every world culture for thousands of years) with some of the newest. These five works explore this combination in different ways: sometimes to highlight the disparity between human and machine, sometimes to transform the familiar into the alien, and sometimes to fuse the two worlds into something entirely new.

Keiko Devaux is a Montreal (Tiohtiá:ke) based composer with a particular interest in electroacoustic sounds. A common technique of hers is to distort “acoustic sound with digital tools and then transcribe or re-translate these back into musical notation and the acoustic realm.” With Hōrai, however, the electronics aren’t a means to an end; they are very much present, alongside the flute, throughout the finished work. Hōrai takes its name from a mythical place in Japanese mythology where there is no air in the traditional sense. Instead, the atmosphere is comprised of “quintillions and quintillions” of souls; breathing in this “air” allows one to acquire the memories and wisdom of these souls. In Devaux’s piece, the flute presents a hushed soundscape that is periodically visited by a series of “Phantoms” (in the form of electronics). While these visitations are unsettling, they are not malevolent; Devaux’s phantoms caress, soothe, and reassure the listener.

Duo Augmented was composed by Yota Kobayashi in 2015/16 for Mark Takeshi McGregor and clarinetist Liam Hockley. This large-scale work plays with the idea of two independent (and occasionally confrontational) voices forming a unified whole through the use of electronics. As the title suggests, the computer processes the sounds of the flute and clarinet — stretching, augmenting, distorting — until it is often difficult to tell one from the other. Kobayashi states “the unification towards a whole is always in process” — to this end, Duo Augmented ends as it began, with the long, intertwined tones of the two acoustic instruments gradually disengaging from one another, each in search of the next chance encounter.

Farshid Samandari is an Iranian-Canadian composer, based in Vancouver (Coast Salish territory: Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh First Nations). His work for flute and electronics, If this is a man, was inspired by the words of Primo Levi, specifically an invocation that prefaced Levi’s memoirs as an Auschwitz concentration camp survivor. Samandari frames the author’s words in three musical movements: first, Levi invokes his safe and well-fed audience (I. You who live safe). Then he recounts forms of degradation and abuse visited upon humanity throughout history (II. Consider if…). Finally, he stresses the importance of remembering these atrocities so they do not occur again (III. Meditate that…). The electronics, consisting of heavy percussion and drones, create an almost concerto-like platform for the flute, while the last movement multiplies the flute’s melody into a 12-part “reflection canon”.

Annette Brosin had originally conceived fantasiae as a live performance with electronic processing and a 16-speaker sound system, and later as a 16-channel installation. This stereo version, while different, still captures the spatiality, temporality and physicality of these earlier versions. The musical materials of fantasiae are unique: with pencil and score paper, the performer transcribes the first movement of Telemann’s Fantasia for Flute in A-minor, with the resulting scraping and squeaking sounds triggering and shaping the playback of a previously recorded performance of the Telemann fantasia. As these sounds loop, the flutist performs fragments of the Telemann, on alto flute, distorted by percussive actions and spoken text inspired by another landmark work for flute, Takemitsu’s Voice(1971).

While the title The Starts and Stops might sound like a summary of pandemic times — cautiously creeping towards some semblance of normalcy, only to have that progress grind to a halt — Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi composed this work for piccolo and electronics well before Covid-19 entered public awareness. Koochakzadeh-Yazdi says of this work: “We are humans capable of constructing our own mindsets and thoughts. In our everyday lives we face concepts that we do not necessarily resonate with; it is in times like that, that we can take those ideas and shape them in a way that would fit our own psyche. The starts and stops deforms the foreseen sonic world of the piccolo and creates one of its own.”