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.