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Monday, Sept. 29, 2008

Mark Mantel

Direct to the Public: Some Music of Mark Mantel(DieforArt)

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   On this sampling of a decade's worth of work, Milwaukee interdisciplinary composer Mark Mantel offers a variety of modern classical/art music styles and experiments. Among other approaches, a suite of four works by poets is set to drones and percussive clanks and rumblings, sounding like post-punk industrial music with more tone.

  Elsewhere, he creates a low-key storm reminiscent of free-jazz collisions and a short string quartet. Mantel's most earnest piece, a collage of spoken quotes and manipulated musical bits that explores such subjects as the development of the atomic bomb and American racial inequality, sounds like the aural equivalent of a social-realist installation piece. It's clear that Mantel's interests include a wide range of musical styles and art forms beyond music-hearing and seeing more of his work would doubtless reveal added aesthetic and emotional layers.