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Music for Billionaires

by Doug Bielmeier

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    Purchasable with gift card
    releases October 27, 2023

      $10 USD  or more


Wells, ME
Corporate Responsibility Pledge
Burning Old Man Summer
Throwaway Culture
Widows Mite 06:15
CRP (West Coast Remix)


Composer Doug Bielmeier’s fourth full length album places contemporary chamber music in a wider stylistic context that includes ambient and dance electronica. Drawing on his extensive activity as a recording engineer and producer, Music for Billionaires features chamber works performed by Hypercube and Unheard-of//Ensemble, two active New York based contemporary music groups, alongside five experimental electronic pieces. The diversity of styles puts each medium in relief against the other — the timbral vitality and individuated expressive world of mixed ensemble works versus the controlled sculpting that the electronic realm affords creators.

Moreover, Music for Billionaires has an underlying meta-concept embedded within its program. Bielmeier engages with the question of access and equity that surrounds the esoteric world of contemporary composition. By combining two “new music ensemble” works with music that points to a more commercial arena, Bielmeier prompts questions about presenting modern music, context, and access to the avant-garde world for the general public.

Wells, ME opens the collection with a wash of shimmering sounds, as discrete timbres within a sound mass emerge to the fore and recede again.

Corporate Responsibility Pledge, for clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and electronics occupies a Reich-ian space, with repeated, interlocking rhythmic motives that are developed through subtle variation. After a pulsating opening section, Bielmeier thins out the texture to reveal a pacific halo over which the instruments play lyrical swells and wavelike gestures. The opening groove returns to close this suspiciously sunny piece — perhaps the title and Bielmeier’s brief manifesto hint at a satirical angle.

Burning Old Man Summer, for Hypercube (saxophone, electric guitar, piano, and percussion) is next, and is also built around motoric rhythms. An ostinato in the vibraphone serves as the anchor as punctuated accents and scalar figures swirl around the ensemble. Later in the work, Bielmeier briefly removes the electronic environment altogether, revealing the coordinated instrumental interaction alone.

Throwaway Culture returns to the electronics-only format, also constructed of pulse-driven repeated phrases. A synthesized bass line frames these figures over diatonic pedal tones, occasionally accelerating the harmonic rhythm to drive the phrases forward.

Widows Mite layers organ-like sounds in different registers with processed vocal samples. Bielmeier takes great advantage of the mixing tools at his disposal in this work, fading events in and out across the stereo field to create a three dimensional sound experience.

Slowdance84 features searing guitar samples and dramatic cymbal swells that sweep across the sonic landscape. Midway through the track, it settles into a slow post-rock groove, building to a cathartic climax.

The album finishes with a reprise of the Corporate Responsibility Pledge reimagined in an electronics only context on CRP (West Coast Remix). The churning motive from the ensemble version is heard here with a dance track that migrates into aesthetic territory more closely associated with popular music.

Through transformation of source files, deft manipulation of studio techniques, a penchant for anthemic musical materials, and an openness to juxtaposing divergent stylistic approaches, Music for Billionaires is an intriguing hybrid that provokes questions about aesthetic and genre boundaries.

– Dan Lippel


releases October 27, 2023

Corporate Responsibility Pledge recorded September 9, 20212 at Oktaven Audio

Burning Old Man Summer recorded June 19, 2021 at Adelphi University Performing Arts Center

Slowdance84 recorded June 5, 2023 at Northeastern University, Music Department Studio

All tracks composed, recorded, and mixed by Doug Bielmeier

Additional recording on Corporate Responsibility Pledge by Ryan Streber (9/19/21)

Additional recording on Burning Old Man Summer by Wei Wang (4/21/22), Skillman Studios

Mastered by Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audio, July 2023

Cover Art: Jessica Brilli

Design: Marc Wolf, marcjwolf.com




New Focus Recordings New York, New York

New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary music of many stripes, as well as new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Daniel Lippel (who is the current director), composer engineer Ryan Streber, and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003-4, and features releases from many of new music's most active performers and composers. ... more

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