Country : Canada Label : Neuma Genres and styles : Électro / expérimental / contemporain / musique contemporaine Year : 2024

MC Maguire – Dystophilia

· by Frédéric Cardin

Commercial pop music culture meets contemporary scholarly culture. Wow. And it’s with the most unlikely source of inspiration for an avant-garde approach that this album is launched: Justin Bieber. Toronto-based MC Maguire’s Yummy World (based, of course, on Bieber’s 2020 hit Yummy) is an epic 23-minute electro-orchestral piece constructed like a frenetic Theme and Variations. Using a few melodic fragments from the original song, Maguire redistributes 12 motifs, interweaving and juxtaposing them in a continuous maelstrom of thematic and textural to-ing and fro-ing. The result is a kind of aggregated post-minimalist agitation with lots of loops and sometimes surprising harmonic shifts. You may never want to listen to anything associated with Justin Bieber more than that!

The second and final piece on the programme is another river of sound, even longer than the first at almost 30 minutes. Another Lucid Dream is a tribute to Juice Wrld’s song Lucid Dreams, but more than that. The composer identifies the sadness associated with this piece, knowing that it has become a hip-hop anthem to the tragedy that was the life of the artist, who died very young. MC Maguire goes even further, finding links with the music of English baroque composer Henry Purcell in the song’s harmonic progression. I’ll leave him to explain his approach:

There’s a strong musical/historical connection with Purcell’s “Dido’s Lament” (and 17th C. arias in general) in its use of a descending bass over brief, emotive, melodic fragments. This piece is also centred around a recurring bass passacaglia, which I looped 93 times (a recurring lucid dream) over 8 movements, stretching and contracting the length of the passacaglia. Needless to say, the movements end up in either duple or triplet grooves, often in weird contradictions to the steady quarter note = 84.

  • MC Maguire

Surprisingly, the result is fairly light-tempered, if busy, and above all clearer and brighter than the concept suggests. Another Lucid Dream takes us on a stratospheric flight that’s remarkably fluid, undulating and absorbing. A beautiful tribute. 

This is a refined album that knows how to transcend its basic material, without ever suggesting that this makes it better, but rather that it’s an approach based entirely on respect and inspiration, and an absence of prejudice towards commercial culture. We can keep some of them, of course, but we can never again doubt that even in the most capitalistic and superficial commodification of musical art, there can be a source of sublimated art, as long as a creative human spirit can seize it.

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