Comments by Michael Paul Mason

Comment for "Spare Time"

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Review of Spare Time

"Spare Time" is a lovely and poetic portrait of aging in America. The real heart of this piece lies in Sam's voice--aged, with a continent of experience rumbling underneath it.

While the pitch intimates that this is about lobstering, I think the piece meanders beyond the topic, but to pleasant effect. We're treated to an everydayness of sounds that fill Sam's life. Nice work, with unobtrusive narration pushing the piece along at the right pace.

Comment for "Swords to Ploughshares"

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Review of Swords to Ploughshares

"Swords to Ploughshares" shows all the hallmarks of good storytelling--a personal narrator, imagistic recollections, and unexpected turns in topic. Structurally, the piece shows a sophistication that I find uncommon. As listeners, we're pulled into a war story that takes a surprise turn into agriculture--it's a reminder that war affects every aspect of life, and that peace reacts in the most unexpected ways.

That being said, I think the piece errs on being a little too long and over-produced in some places, but these are subtleties that only the most attentive listeners may notice.

I don't know who Alix Blair is, but after listening to other pieces she's done on PRX, I'm convinced she's got a bright future. Can't wait to hear more from her.

Comment for "Four Eggs"

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Review of Four Eggs

Through its subtle use of ambient sounds, Four Eggs transports listeners straight into a village in northern Azerbaijan to exotic, and even intimate, effect.

Seidl's narration has a pleasant, unpolished, and earnest tone which pulls you further into the piece, and the content of the narrative is packed with intriguing information.

There were a couple moments where I thought the background sounds muddied the narrative mildly, but it should not dissuade anyone from enjoying such an original piece.

Comment for "Madelyn Dunham, Cornerstone of Barack Obama's Life"

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Review of Madelyn Dunham, Cornerstone of Barack Obama's Life

This piece offers an interesting look at Dunham, who will become a figure of increasing interest to Americans. Through the voices of her coworkers, we hear about her life as an influential business person and come to know her as a savvy career woman--but unfortunately the piece says very little about how this side of her corresponds to her relationship with Obama. Overall, well organized, with good production and certainly a good contribution in the developing portrait of an intriguing woman.