Interview with Michael Neil

The lives and times of a truly visionary artist:
an interview with Michael Neil

Date: July 8 2010

Michael, after a few initial tape releases to establish Cleve Littlewood’s cassette label, you put out your first cds “Goodbye to the Greenlands” and “Trust” out in the early ‘90’s, followed by the milestone recording “Cornubia”
Clive (Cleve) Littlewood was solely responsible for bringing my work to an audience in the 1980’s and 90’s. I am forever indebted to him for his support and vision as a friend and through Electronical Dreams, his record label, which sadly no longer exists.

The first two albums were, in many ways, anticipating the 1998 release of “Cornubia”, itself the product of a ten year gestation period. This album, considered by many to be my magnum opus, is the summation of “Goodbye to the Greenlands” and “Trust” (a semi-autobiographical musical journey partly inspired by John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrims Progress”) and the first work to result from the luxury of having a recording studio for the very first time.

The works proceeding “Cornubia” were quite different but, largely, received the same approach in composition method. Concurrent to recording “Cornubia”, work had already started on “Dies Irae”, “Moments of Heaven”, “Towards the Unknown Region” and tracks that would eventually make up “Flip Side”

The music found on “Cornubia” (the Latin name for Cornwall) is the result of a long cherished dream. At the time of conception I was neither musically nor spiritually mature enough to attempt to capture, in the vision that presented itself to me. At the beginning of 1996 I was actually “impressed upon” to start on a musical evocation of John Miller’s incredible painting Cornwall’s spiritual beauty encompassing past, present and future. Because of the conflicting stories, I have not attempted to detail the legends of the places that have inspired the music. For such stuff are myths made of….

To me, the outcome of “Moments of Heaven” is quite similar to “Cornubia”, but it also sounds more orchestral and impressionistic to my ears…
“Moments of Heaven” was based on my poem of the same name, composed a few years previously and extensively amended over time.

Taking the musical material approach of “Cornubia”, I decided to produce an extended composition to reflect the length of the poem. The inspiration for the work overall was the experience of the sunlight reflection on the ocean with patterns and colors and movement one experiences on calm summer days. My musical inspiration behind “Moments of Heaven” was, initially, the impressionist music of Debussy and Ravel.

The remaining tracks were similar but not written concurrently, “The Three Shires Suite” being composed much later. This composition was, and remains, probably the tightest in structure of all my works.

Inspired by the convergence of the English shires of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire located in the Peak District, it boasts awesome rock formations and the peak called the Three Shires view. Strangely, and I am not quite sure why, Benjamin Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes” were uppermost in mind whilst composing this work. Perhaps this was why I felt it should be a part of the album.
The remaining tracks on the album are extensions of the main work in that they reflect other sections of the poem.

Please share a bit of the background of “Dies Irae” album, which contains music in a modern classical and orchestral style..
“Dies Irae” is part of the ceremonial mass for the dead and grew out of an interest in how modern and contemporary composers approach the subject. In particular the Hungarian composer Ligeti or the Polish composer Penderecki. Not to forget the accomplished English composer John Tavener, whose epic work “Apocalypse” had premiered at the BBC Proms in 1996, which was the year I started to compose the work.
Again, as with “Moments of Heaven”, the tracks were composed at varied times, belied by the fourth title “Schnittke 1998”, which was written in response to the composer’s death.

For the title track of the album, I was greatly inspired by the voice setting I had created on my main synthesizer, with its dark foreboding and menacing effect which helped to shape the work.
The unusual title “Charis 5”, the final piece on the recording, is the numerological representation of the root word for charisma, here defined by the act of graciousness, the root of charity.

The track “Ecce Homo” is perhaps the oldest composition from this period – with the exception of “Helman Tor” from “Cornubia”, which was originally composed in 1985 but considerably reworked eleven years later.

Michael, can you tell something about the inspiration that lead to the album “Ikons”?
Well, “Ikons”, like “Moments of Heaven”, is inspired by poetry and literary works themed around the ephemeral, memory and mortality and the subject of infinity, represented by the vastness of the universe.

I had become a bit of a amateur astronomer and would spend the night hours searching out the night sky. I was struck by the sheer immensity of the cosmos and had wondered how we humans, constituting the same elemental makeup of stars, experience such a brief existence.

I had for many years subscribed to the Christian faith. However, I never accepted the notion of an “afterlife”: this appeared too simplistic and rather daunting. I felt, rather, that just as the body after death rots back into the earth it, therefore, returns to an elemental form. As for cremation? I suppose in a much reduced state (laughs).
The subject of consciousness on the other hand was more difficult for me to comprehend….
br>Side note from the editor: Michael no longer subscribes to the Christian faith -he even dropped that before “Cornubia” was released-, which he thinks is important as it de-religions all his subsequent works.

So “Ikons” was my response at the time and the poetry I chose a means of expressing my thoughts.
The piano compositions, short, light and, dare I say, in places eccentric, struck me as apposite to the subject of the fleetingness of experience. The poetry of Andrew Marvell, W. B. Yeats, and S. T. Coleridge inspired those relevant compositions whilst other pieces were of my own poetic musings.
The one poem that inspired one piece in Ephemera and the entire Inscape set remains my favorite of all the poems: “Nox Nivosa” by the little known English poet Walter Leslie Wilmshurst. This rare mystical gem is one of the most imaginative poems I have ever read, and whilst it may lack the rigorous depth of the work of greater poets, it is, in my opinion, a testament to the phenomenon of reverie.

So several of your albums are philosophically connected?
Along with “Ikons”, the other works “The Look of Memory” and “Goodbye to the Greenlands” indeed have a similar philosophical theme.
This “trilogy” grouping seems to echo throughout my oeuvre. For example: “Towards the Unknown Region”, “The Constellations” and “Syzygy” constitute the Cosmic Trilogy (or Space Music) albums, whilst “Maisema”, “Cornubia” and “Moments of Heaven” could be described as the “landscape” trilogy.
“Dies Irae”, “In Extremis” and “Trust” would probably make up a sort of “sacred music” trilogy. This is just my observation and would unlikely affect the general listeners perception of my work.

Let’s talk about “The Look of Memory”, which came out in 2000. Hearing the previous, this one must also have a special meaning…
Well, “The Look of Memory” is my response to the end of the 20th century and a number of events that marked its closure.
The opening theme “Papa Lazarou’s Magical Music Box” is a contemporary take on the story of Pandora’s Box, but uses the very sinister character created by the British comedy team ‘The League of Gentlemen’. It opens the way for a number of tracks themed around disappearance and memory. It is both a dark and yet hopeful work and whilst it is a lamentation charting events like the BSE epidemic and “ethnic cleansing”, it also looks forward to the coming century with a sense of determined optimism.

I chose to use low-fi field recordings to enhance the music and give it a greater depth of meaning. I have to confess that I didn’t travel to the Central African Republic to record the Ba-Benzélé Pygmies mushroom gathering in the jungle for “Songs of the Last Tribe”. This was taken from an existing anthropological recording from France.
I addition, I would particularly like to mention the track “The Ballad of Daniel Kebble”.
Daniel Kebble was a 21 year old Cornish fisherman who was washed overboard his fishing boat during a storm and was never found. The treated recording of the sea was sourced from the bay in which he disappeared, close to my Cornish home at the time.

This work yet again highlights my increasing preoccupation with the subject of memory as well as anticipating the subject of erasure, which would find its voice more profoundly in “The Breath of Exhaling Ghosts”.
“The Look of Memory” remains one of my favorite albums because it goes deeper than any of my works from that time and helped to pave the way for my work in the following decade.

That same year, also “Towards the Unknown Region” and “In Extremis” saw the light of day….
“Towards the Unknown Region” is a response to my interest in astronomy. However, as the title of the opener and closer of the first disc suggests, it also reflects the preoccupying theme of my other works.

The album “In Extremis” is the last work in a “classical style” which began with “Trust”. For this project I use quotes from Virgil’s “Aeneid” and Pindar’s “Pythagoras”, helping (for me) to distance the work from any particular religious view in that it deals specifically with the subject of mortality.
This album also marked the end of a compositional phase in which my approach was to simply sit at my instruments and work out harmonic and melodic forms and compositional structure in an improvisatory fashion. It would be a few years before I returned to this practice again.

A particular mention is In memoriam written in response to the death of Peter Harrison, creator of the dark ambient and experimental music label Direction Music. A favorite of his was Luciano Berio’s “Requies”, written in memoriam to his former wife Cathy Berberian and a sense of this found its way into my piece for him.

As I say, from this last work I began to develop a new approach to composition. This resulted in “The Constellations”.

…which seems to be a work of art I heard you seem to be very pleased with?
You’re right. “The Constellations” is the one album I regard my best work from the 1990-2001 period. The concept for “The Constellations” emerged from my study of the music of Iannis Xenakis, in particular “The Pleiades” for percussion. A very different result I grant you. The album itself has not been so well received as my other work, and I think the reason why is probably tied up in the composition approach.

During 1999 and 2000 I spent a large part of the time scoring the work using a Star Chart of the Northern Hemispheric Constellations. The re-creation of the stellar configurations onto staves was quite painstaking and detailed. Once the graphic representation was notated I would then go into my studio and record the music from the written score.

The end result on “The Constellations” is very spacey, and the album as such is a companion piece to my double album “Towards the Unknown Region”. What one hears is exactly how the constellations with their stars, nebular and other objects appear in the sky. A real audio/visual experience. Also the music emerging from this practice was quite unlike any I had composed up to that time.
This fact would lead to my decision to study composition at the experimental college for performing arts at Dartington, a campus of Plymouth University.

If “The Constellations” was showcased in planetarium it would perhaps make more impact. Who knows, but I suspect it will emerge strengthened in time…

So what new musical ideas and new ways of composing followed after that?
Well, another growing interest at this time was in microtonal music and alternative tuning systems. I had long been interested in the works Ligeti, Morton Feldman (introduced to me by Peter) and of the Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi. He had “discovered“, while convalescing in a mental hospital, the monotone and the enharmonic and oscillations of a single pitch. Recognizing in his work an antecedence in drone music – a feature of some of my own work – I also recognized the value of creating, within a scale, many sub notes or meta notes as a means of coloring pitch.

My first experiment was in quarter tones which resulted in the opening track of “Syzygy”. Of course this is not based on a single pitch but it allowed me to experiment with the free tuning system available on my synthesizer.
I began to develop a tuning system based on extraneous data sourced from sites and locations that have come to represent the spaces of my childhood memory.

Rather than simply create a scale by altering pitches randomly, I searched for data that would “dictate” the pitch for me. I guess this was my version of Xenakis’ stochastic music in which, using among others probability theory, he would create mathematical models in order to form a composition.

My first attempt was inspired by a location on the south Devon coast near Dartmouth. I was drawn to a mariner’s day mark at the mouth of the Dart and spent time there filming and researching the topographical data and the day mark itself. From this data I created a scale, the result of which can be heard on my film The Brownstone Trilogy.

However, I felt this particular piece inadequately articulated this approach, but it was useful non the less – a prototype as it were. I used this scale again in two works that became part of “Syzygy”“Second Phase” & “Third Phase”.
My next project to use the system was “The Breath of Exhaling Ghosts”…..

I read this work was inspired by Dartmoor and the stone circles…
The history behind “The Breath of Exhaling Ghosts” is, of all my works, quite complex. For this work I again adopted a scale derived from ordinance survey map data of stone circles on Dartmoor, an outstanding area of natural beauty and awe inspiring landscape.

I was living on the edge of Dartmoor throughout my time at Dartington and would often spend hours roaming around familiarizing myself with the landscape and objects of interest. I could not shake off the sense that some large part of me was somehow linked to this place, despite having no recollection of any past relationship to it. I have often noted how a landscape or a site or location will instill a certain psychological response. This response has manifested itself in my need to artistically express this experience through music and, increasingly, sound.

Dartmoor is particularly resonant in this respect because, I believe, its history is a canvas depicting a constant process of erasure in both geological and social terms. This idea was to become very significant because it represented my sense of personal loss when my father died in 2005.

It also became a further elaboration on my film “The Brownstone Trilogy”, which itself was a response to my Father’s illness. This event was the catalyst for childhood memories – real or imagined.
Dartmoor became a symbol of fading memories, the gradual erasure of the past, the disappearances that leave faint traces of themselves. For me, the remnants of the mysterious stone circles provided the armature on which I could flesh out both my psychological response to the place and my feeling of loss.

Certain places may become impregnated by some subtle physical emanation, the thoughts and emotions of those living and dying within them.
Robin Rimbaud

I picked out 12 stone circles and mapped their co-ordinates and converted the numbers into pitches. The result led to the creation of two scales one scale for latitude and one for longitude. The latter scale is relatively monotone and the solution to its performance came when the guitarist Suhail Merchant asked me to write something for him. He specializes in fretless electric guitar played with an e bow. This instrument was ideal for playing the longitude scale.

Still of The Brownstone Trilogy pt 1

I made field recordings throughout my time on Dartmoor. These comprised of elemental sounds; wind, water etc. I discovered an old rusting farm gate in a valley that interacts with the wind when it blows in certain directions.
This was to provide me with the basis of the whole work. This sound has a symbolic power for me and represents my psychological response to sites and spaces.
More particular, this sound has become, for me, a symbol of those themes that informed my earlier work: making a connection with memory, the ephemeral, and disappearance.
The first piece to use this effect is “Another World” from the album “Syzygy”, and features my first collaboration with guitarist and CGI expert Andrew Curry, who was to later collaborate with me on the music film “Liquid Stability”.

I also heard Ashley Franklin has supported you for a long time as well…
That’s correct Ashley Franklin did much to widen the net in his days with the BBC at Radio Derby in the 90’s and his ongoing work through his internet radio station.
But more than that, he lent his weight behind a number of projects, the most notable being the commission to compose the incidental music for the Derby Shakespeare production of “The Tempest” in 2002 to mark the 70th anniversary of Cornwall’s Minack Theatre.
In addition, there’s Graham Getty, who’s an invaluable support both as a discerning listener and talented technician. He recently moved almost my entire catalogue over to the site often redesigning the artwork for these releases. It is thanks to Graham that there has been an upsurge of interest in my work this year.
You see even here there is a trilogy.. (laughs)

Michael, you also spent some time at Dartington College of Performing Arts during the 2000’s…
Yes. Thanks to the time spent at Dartington College of Performing Arts, a former sector of Plymouth University, I spent more time critically analyzing my practice.

The postmodern deconstructionist theoretical ethos of this institute challenged me to delve deeper into my practice and hone my skills as a composer and, strangely, performer. Until then I had never performed my work before an audience and, I have to say, the experience, whilst enjoyable, didn’t exactly lead to a career on the road. Instead it gave me the opportunity to consider the nature of performance and the notion of what constitutes “live” music.

One of the biggest disappointments of my earlier life was attending a Tangerine Dream concert and being bored out of my mind. I couldn’t help thinking at the time that I would rather have stayed at home and listened to their albums than watch three ageing Germans twiddle their knobs before an adoring public. To this day the rock concert with attendant arm swaying mindlessness (not to mention cigarette lighter waving contraventions of Health and Safety regulations) strikes me as banal and even worse puerile. Even classical concerts make me twinge with embarrassment with all that endless clapping and flower offering….Rant!

The TD experience lent much to my decision not to play concerts. This was confirmed when Jean Michel Jarre started covering up for his lack of musical ideas by staging increasingly spectacular shows. However, to everlasting joy John Dyson beautifully sent this up in his hilarious performance at the KLEM Dag in 1991. This single event, for me, was the pinnacle of live synth music performance.

It was also around this time that I began to feel adrift in the EM scene. I personally never enjoyed most of the music and never really felt much a part of the scene. My ideas and approach were increasingly out of step with my “peers”.
I was listening to 20th century post war avant-garde, minimalist and Electro Acoustic music and by the mid 90’s I was able to set about composing my own music in earnest when I began to build my own studio ‘The Sphere Suite’.
The idea of moving my gear from one gig to another filled me with dread. So I resolved to be a recording “artist”. This was also a period of self imposed solitude, which led to a substantial output between 1996 and 2001.

Dartington, however, challenged me regarding performance. Despite performing as part of my degree, I was still unconvinced as to its viability in terms of my work and even before my studies I was trying to find new ways of bringing electronic music to an audience that would excite and stimulate without resorting to cliché.

Coincidentally, I was approached by a former Dartington student as far back as 1995, who used my work for her experimental film entry into the Celtic Film Festival. We discussed the possibility of creating a sound/film and exhibition installation involving film projection on a cloud base.
Another project involved a sculpture artist friend and the same film maker, with sound installation at the Minack Theatre. The fact that none of these materialized is irrelevant: what it shows is that I was already thinking along the lines of performance definition.

So did anything else materialize from that period?
One project that did emerge from this time was “Abstract in Aspic” – a soundtrack to a 30-minute time lapse film of deteriorating block sculptures. The film never happened but the music is available on my site.

The solution finally came when I performed a pre-recorded electro-acoustic piece as part of my undergraduate degree. The performance of this genre of music is called “sound diffusion” and it was this practice that provided me with the solution to performing my own work.
The resulting piece, “Conception”, is available on the recording “Electronic Works Volume 1” from my download platform on MusicZeit.

I heard you also visited the COMA festival in Doncaster in 2006..
Yes, I spent a week in Doncaster at the COMA festival for amateur contemporary music, studying with French Canadian electro-acoustic composer Christian Calon and BBC Radio 3 presenter Rob Worby.
I had encountered Calon’s work at Dartington as an undergraduate when I chose to write a critical analysis of his composition “La Disparition”. So inspired was I by this work that when the opportunity arose to meet and work with him I snapped at the chance.

By now I was studying a Masters Degree and I was well into a new music work as part of my MA thesis. This was to become “The Breath of Exhaling Ghosts” and COMA gave me an opportunity to premier the work before a large audience. The music was projected through 12 speakers via a 16 channel mixing console with each channel assigned its own independent function – volume, EQ, etc.
Due to the static nature of the music I diffused the sound very sparingly in order to envelop the audience and bathe it in sound. The effect was amazing and the piece was very well received.

However, the music itself ran contrary to the practice of electro-acoustic music, which relies on dynamic gestures and moments of minutiae detail within the musical material. This variance led me to define my performance as “Static Sound Spatialization”.
I subsequently took the project to Helsinki and performed it twice to great interest albeit limited audience numbers.

I don’t regard this practice as performance as much as it is a performative aspect of my work and I prefer to use the term “presentation“.
“The Breath of Exhaling Ghosts” remains unreleased due to its performative nature. A simple stereo or even quadraphonic projection does not do it justice. But time will tell…

A propos. In one concert, I presented a number of tracks from previous albums in this way, and was overwhelmed by how different they sound compared to a stereo experience.
I cannot rule out the possibility of older works being presented within the context of a broader experience i.e. in collaboration with other disciplines in the arts.

You recently moved to Berlin. How come?
Berlin took on a special significance for me when I visited it three years ago. I had planned to move to Helsinki where I had produced a couple of interesting gigs and had managed to ingratiate myself in the Finnish arts community. But, inspired by my postgraduate thesis on haunted memory and the psychological relationship to site and space, Berlin was the ideal location for me to pursue my ideas.

I also felt in Berlin, rightly or wrongly, I would find more of an outlet for my work. However, I needed to work for a living in order to achieve this. A period of time presented itself that allowed me to work on new material for my download platform, which I initiated with MusicZeit in 2007.

The artist forum group The International Necronautical Society had designated Berlin as the world capital of erasure in 2005 and this really put the hook in me. The notion that empty spaces created by the Berlin Wall, the area known as the “death strip”, appealed to a sonic/music recreation of the space.
However, there has been much already produced on the subject so I am currently looking into ways of generating new spatial works by way of a contribution. No mean feat!

On a more practical level I am interested in producing music for film and Berlin is fertile ground for this: two of my best friends here are film makers, so the direction seems to be pointing that way.

I suspect you also had some material from your academic period you anxiously wanted to release….
By the autumn of 2007, I was already experimenting with feedback through an 8 channel mixer and effects processor. I recorded open improvisation sessions and then edited these sessions into several complete pieces.
From this came “Pan & Echo” and “The Tangible Whispers of Ghosts on the Threshold of Noise and Silence”.
Along with “Conception”, I compiled these works for the recording “Electronic Works Volume One”.

Concurrent to this, I had been working on material for my soundtrack to F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror”. This classic 1922 horror film is an outstanding example of German expressionist cinema but the versions I had seen had pretty awful soundtracks.
I decided to do my own along the lines of a live presentation in the spirit of a silent cinema music accompaniment.
The recording I released in 2008 is a not strictly a scene by scene accompaniment but more a “symphonic” version of the score.

Michael, you already mentioned you lived a short while in Finland. What effect did that have on you personally and the music your produced then?
Towards the end of 2008 I had started work on the material that would eventually become “Maisema” (the Finnish word for landscape). I had, for a long time, wanted to do a project conveying my experience of living in Finland.

I had been enormously affected by my time there of almost a year, altogether. I found the ambience of Helsinki stimulating and a great place to do slow gestating music in an ambient style. I also felt that using shortwave radio signals of broadcasts from the north reconnected me to the Nordic region.
I have always been inspired by radio signals in that they represent a contact with the unseen but known world: and this notion was to later inform my latest release “Silent Light”.
During this period, I had also been working on a number of pieces with the intention of offering music to soundtrack music producers in film and television. I sent the works out to a number of companies but they did not show any interest. Slightly dejected I decided to release the music as “Atmospheric Moods”.

Can you tell a bit more on the background of “Silent Light”?
Well, “Silent Light” began life as part of an ongoing series of works around the theme of Memory, Migration, and Mortality, which began with my film “The Brownstone Trilogy” and the installation “The Breath of Exhaling Ghosts.”
The particular inspiration for this album is the concept of Electronic Voice Phenomenon. Though I do not subscribe to this phenomenology, per se, I find it intriguing and potentially fertile ground for sonic experimentation, as well as music material.

So what is this Electronic Voice Phenomenon all about?
It was actually during my research for my thesis I came across the subject of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). I was very intrigued by this concept though not entirely convinced as to its authenticity. But I was reminded of a scene in Jean Cocteau’s film “Orphée” where a mysterious voice from the underworld declares on a car radio:

Silence is twice as fast backwards… Silence is twice as fast backwards… Silence is twice as fast backwards

EVP asserts that it is possible to detect the voices of the dead on magnetic tape recordings. As said previously, I don’t subscribe to this in any way and proof is found wanting, but I am fascinated in it as a device. Wikipedia covers the subject for further interest.

The connection with EVP in relationship to my thesis was in the Robin Rimbaud quote above. A few years later, and with this still very much in mind, I began work on “Silent Light”.

My abiding interest in the phenomena of radio signals play a large role in this work, which tie together the notion of EVP with that of Cocteau’s film.
For another example in 2003 I collaborated with the writer and performer Steve Bonfield on a series of short radio style monologues in which I layered shortwave radio signals to capture the eerie quality of the text.

The piece was originally an interactive program in which one could highlight, with a computer mouse, nodes on transmitter/receiver aerial masts thereby activating one of the monologues. The player could then mix the broadcasts in any combination they wished. The effect would sound like a number of disembodied voices transmitted over airwaves.
The program is not yet available but the sound work can be heard on my website on the projects page.

Michael, I never saw a listing of the equipment you used, so are you willing to share some information on that?
In the past I have made it a policy not to divulge the details of my equipment because it is tantamount to free advertising for the manufacturers.
However, as most of my stuff is so old it is no longer commercially available I will detail it here along with some amazing freeware VST Plug downloads.

Korg X3
Yamaha DX9
Roland D550 Rack mount module
Roland Juno 6
Roland JX220 VST Plug In
Mellotron (Tapeworm VST plug in)
EMS VCS3 (KX-X16 VST plug in)
H.R. Fortune’s Software Synthesizers VST Plug Ins
Ableton Live 7 Instrument plug ins

Boss SFX7000 Multi Effects Processor
ART Multi FX Processor

Sound Mixing:
8 Channel Mixer (sorry, can’t remember the make)

Yamaha MD4 4 Track Digital Recorder
Ableton Live 7
Fostex D-5

What so have you currently in the works?
During the extremely cold winter of 2009/2010, I was confined indoors. This allowed me to go through an intense phase of work in which two projects would emerge:

First there’s “Tapestries”, an epic work inspired by Berlin and the electronic music that inspired me to become a composer. It incorporates instruments familiar to the 70’s period of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze like the Mellotron, EMS VCS3 as well as software synthesizers developed by the German H.R. Fortune: A bridge between past and present in terms of music and technology.

The other work is “Between Sleeping and Waking”. This project puts me back on philosophical ground and depicts Hypnagogia, the experience of a state between wakefulness and sleep (a term coined by Alfred Maury), dreaming and (re)awakening.
This work is my most ambient music to date and is also the most atmospheric of my all my albums. It is still in the production stage at present, but both recordings should be available this year.


* Deo Gratis (MC; Electronical Dreams, 1988)
Michael’s first official release, a compilation of tracks composed between 1984-1987, to help launch Electronical Dreams as a cassette label.



* Tender Agression (MC; Electronical Dreams, 1989)* Goodbye to the Greenlands (Electronical Dreams, 1992)




* Trust (Electronical Dreams, 1995)
* Cornubia (Electronical Dreams, 1998)
* Dies Irae (1996/1997)
* Moments of Heaven (1998)
* Abstract in Aspic (1998)
* Ikons (1999)
* Towards the Unknown Region (Neu Harmony, 2000)
* The Look of Memory (2000)
* Flip Side (2000)
* In Extremis (2000)
* The Constellations (2001)
* The Tempest…and other tales (The Sky Goes 2 CD, 2002)
* Syzygy (2002)
* A Symphony of Horror (2008)
* Electronic Works Vol. 1 (2008)
* Maisema (2008)
* Atmospheric Moods (2009)
* Silent Light (2010)
* Tapestries (forthcoming; 2010)
* Between Sleeping and Waking (forthcoming; 2010)

Other Works:

-Lux Gratia (2001) – Track on disc 2 of The Sky Goes All The Way Home
-The Brownstone Trilogy (2003) DVD, a 24-minute audio/visual project
-Liquid Stability (2003) – for Electric Guitar and Electric Bass Guitar
-Finnish Impressions (2003) – Recorded at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland
-The Breath of Exhaling Ghosts (2006-2007) – Sound Installation


Sonic Immersion
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