A collection of 5 songs and 4 instrumental pieces that explore equally - and simultaneously - spontaneous performance values, close compositional detail and extensive processing. Made out on the rocky coast of Maine with just a TV eye keeping tabs on a world skidding to hell in a handcart, all the basic work was done by MacLean and Cutler with Julie Thompson (voice) added later - alongside additional parts played by Frank Gross (bassoon), Michael Bierylo (laptop, samples, circuits) and Titus Abbot (bass clarinet and saxophone). These are complex, focused pieces, some highly rhythm-rooted - mostly at rapid bpm rates - generally wide open with a close receptivity to timbral nuance and non-linearity.
A journey through complex, composed polyrhythmic pieces interspersed with careful, atmospheric improvisations for guitar, bass, keyboard, percussion and various objects. There is a quiet rigour, almost a formality, about this CD that is rather unusual for the new century - the compositions are not over-elaborated and they follow the parallel metre style of his under-rated classic 'Opposite of War'. Avoiding overproduction they stay close to the human scale of their performances. And the improvised sections are obviously played, and concern themselves with structure and content rather than effect. In other words, this is an old fashioned record of distinctive compositions, high performance values and imaginative playing.
ReR release Dec 2010 "Expressions On Piano"
"Steve's fourth CD for us is a remarkable set of pieces for mediated acoustic piano that operates in the shadowy territory between what is playable and what is programmable; between narrative simplicity and performative complexity; between hopeful intentionality and flawless execution. Unusually, Steve has put our ear right inside the piano, sans artificial reverberations and blurring tools and, over the course of the CD, various musical dialects are explored and extended - from the plausible through the exquisite to the impossible. MacLean also mines a subtle complexity that offers more on each audition and, occasionally, an extreme (of Nancarrowistic speed or sound amplified through gongs). The process remains impenetrable, so what remains is the listening. In Steve's long and varied musical career he has consistently explored new compositional techniques and new technologies (he teaches at Berklee in Boston) and this is no exception; a unique take on the acoustic piano."
Audio / MIDI Systems
Consulting / Production
Performances with MeRCy and others electric/electronic/acoustic guitars, African kora, marimba and other instruments integrated with computer software and hardware systems and devices