WIU music teacher releases CD with electric guitarist for doom metal band YOB – Muddy River News
James Romig | Photo courtesy of Western Illinois University
MACOMB, Ill. — James Romig, professor of music composition at Western Illinois University and 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Music finalist, recently released a compact disc of a newly composed original work performed by electric guitarist Mike Scheidt.
Scheidt is the founder and frontman of the doom metal band YOB, which for over two decades has garnered critical and public acclaim, including Rolling Stone’s Best Metal Album of 2014.
“The Complexity of Distance”, a 58-minute one-movement composition, was released in late June on New World Records. Scheidt, who befriended Romig in 2015, ordered the part specifically designed for electric guitar with extreme distortion and amplification.
The CD liner notes state that the title, chosen in December 2019, refers to the “shifting temporal distances created by the work’s background rhythmic structure, and also refers to the challenges of the collaboration between the composer based in the Illinois and Oregon-based interpreter. The notes go on to mention that once the pandemic began, “the title took on added meaning as distancing became a way of life for all of us.”
In late 2020, Romig delivered the musical score to Scheidt, who spent most of 2021 learning and rehearsing the music before recording with producer Billy Barnett at Gung Ho Studio in Eugene, Ore.
“I’ve been a long time fan of Mike’s work, so it was a pleasure to work with him on this unusual project,” Romig said in a press release. “I imagine some listeners might initially be intrigued, even confused, by the idea of a college music professor collaborating with a touring heavy metal musician, but it turns out that concert music genres contemporary and doom metal have a lot in common: both celebrate experimental approaches to composition in terms of content and form, and audiences for both types of music are eager and willing to commit the time and energy to understand and appreciate new, unusual and challenging art.
“Our goal was to create something that would be recognizable to fans of Mike’s guitar playing, while being recognizable to those familiar with my songwriting style. What came out at the end, however, seems to have some unintended magic. For me, the recording possesses a mysterious mixture of carefully calculated musical form and incidental emotional resonance. Mike’s performance is as visceral as it is precise, and he managed to capture my musical intentions and bring them to life in a beautiful way.
Romig has taught at WIU since 2002 and directs the School of Music’s composition program. His works have been performed in 49 states and 35 countries. his discography includes 10 released compact discs. He has been a guest composer at numerous universities and has received numerous accolades, including residencies in national parks across the United States and two Copland House Awards.
“The Complexity of Distance” can be purchased as CD or digital download from New World Records, Bandcamp, Amazon and other retailers and streaming platforms.
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