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Michael Futrealoffline

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About Info

Artist Name
Michael Futreal
Artist Statement

I compose, improvise, and perform, primarily using instruments that I hand-build: chromatic dulcimers, mountain dulcimers, and tonehole flutes. Derived from gourd, bamboo, and scrap wood, my instruments suggest the rural folk music of Appalachia. With awareness of these traditions, I seek to turn expectation into exploration, creating non-genre instrumental music that elaborates upon Appalachian modal approaches to embrace a freer polymodal chromaticism. Operating in tension between the familiar and the strange, I utilize not only acoustic instruments but also electric instruments and effects-mediated timbres: droning strings, looped constructs, sample-and-hold frozen soundscapes, granular clouds, etc. I playfully identify this approach as “rural space music,” a term coined partly to honor inspirational artist Sun Ra, who (un)famously said “I leave the word space open, like space is supposed to be, when I say space-music.” I record and perform this music both with and without my trio Twang Darkly, hoping ultimately to channel the imaginative resources behind the human impulse to explore.

I also experiment with filmmaking and animation, both as inspirational source material as well as visualization for music. I utilize various approaches, including reconstructed/animated still images, time-lapse, macro photography, and camera-as-paintbrush techniques.


Honors, Grants, Residencies, and Exhibitions

2019, Best in Show, Performing Arts, Critical Mass 7, Shreveport Regional Arts Council
2019, In-room music for On the Walls exhibition by Ben Moss and Jeormie Journell at Artspace
2018, Shreveport Regional Arts Council Mini-Grant for New Research in Rural Space Music
2018, Musicians Business Enhancement Grant, Louisiana Division of the Arts
2017, ARNA Artist-in-Residence, Sweden
2016, Exhibition, Meadows Museum of Art, The Court of King Skebal
2016, Shreveport Regional Arts Council Mini-Grant for The Court of King Skebal
2016, membership in Landscape Music Composers Network
2015, Critic-selected Music Fellowship Award from Shreveport Regional Arts Council
2015, Critic Juried Collectible Artist, Shreveport Regional Arts Council
2015, Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association Artist-in-Residence (Nevada)
2014, Recognized as Northwest Louisiana Juried Roster Artist
2014, UNscene Performance Grant, Shreveport Regional Arts Council
2014, UNscene New Work Grant, Shreveport Regional Arts Council to produce Martian Archaeology, an original suite of music, accompanying films, and multimedia concert
2014, One of 5 local showcase bands selected by 2014 Louisiana Music Prize

Original Music & Video

2020, Piper at the Gates of Dusk, solo album
2018, Impossible Things, Twang Darkly, trio album
2017, Woodshed, Michael Futreal, solo album
2017, Nebula, Twang Darkly, trio album
2016, Composer/Performer for “Do Si Do Boom Boom,” Nick Cave AS IS
2015, Recurring Colors, Twang Darkly, album and DVD
2014, Martian Archaeology, trio album and DVD with original animated films
2013, Modal Creatures, Twang Darkly, trio album
2012, Mojo Fix, Twang Darkly, trio album
2012, The Sound of Secret Names, Twang Darkly, trio album
2010, Devil’s Stomping Ground, Michael Futreal, solo album
2011, Sailing the Junkyard Sea, Andy & Michael Futreal, duo album
2008, Dulcimers Are Go, Michael Futreal, solo album
Film & Score
2013-14, Counting for Thunder — original score for feature film
2014, Coldwell Spring – theme and original music for feature film (to be released 2015)
2012, BEing (short film) — editing, special visual effects, original score


M.S. Applied Sociology, North Carolina State University, 1996
B.S. Applied Sociology, North Carolina State University, 1993

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