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William Mason

WILL MASON is a composer, drummer, and music scholar from Maine, now living in New York City.

His main performance project is the Will Mason Ensemble, a chamber ensemble of voice, oboe, alto sax, two guitars, bass, and drums. The ensemble’s debut album, Beams of the Huge Night, was released on New Amsterdam Records in August 2015. Mason wrote most of the music for the album in a cabin in the woods of northern Maine, away from electricity, the internet, running water, and phone service. He is fascinated by how it feels to be isolated in nature — how everything feels simultaneously beautiful and threatening, and how the elemental and oppressive hugeness of nature can inspire awe or unease. “Beams of the Huge night” is an attempt at capturing those sensations musically.

In addition to writing new music for the ensemble, Mason’s other main project is “Happy Place,” a noise-metal band of two guitars and two drummers inspired by ethnomusicological work on the physical extremes that induce trancing. He also is working on a suite of electroacoustic works for a new improvising quartet, and he works as a sideman with a number of musicians in New York City and elsewhere.

Mason is currently pursuing a PhD in music theory at Columbia University, where his research focuses on contemporary music and music cognition. His dissertation explores affective experience in the electroacoustic music of the French spectral school, suggesting a deeper engagement with corporeal experience than has previously been ascribed to later-20th century modernist music.

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”Beauty and dread walk hand in hand, and the mood can turn on a dime, which is exactly the feeling you get on “Finn”, an extraordinary free-form 16-and-a-half-minute composition that forms the heart of the new album Beams of the Huge Night.” — PopMatters

“This is the most impressive debut I've heard in years...A dazzling and demanding effort, in a class of its own.” — Bruce Gallanter

“How interesting, then, to find “Door 6” waiting for me. The aggressive rush of strings that is meant to seem haphazard and yet is carried out with hungry intent. The slow and haunting vocals that float just beyond the eye of the storm

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Discography

Beams of the Huge Night

Beams of the Huge...

New Amsterdam Records
2015

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