New Music Monday – Jacob Cooper’s Timberbrit

Well, it’s not exactly new.. But it will be to some of you, and there is a fantastic new music video, and a feature on todays All Things Considered on NPR! Timberbrit is a very unique opera by composer Jacob Cooper that creates a fictional tragic narrative of the lives of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. I first became acquainted with it when my partner in crime, Mellissa Hughes, was cast as Britney Spears herself!

TB shares a lot of similarities with my opera The Little Death: written around the same time, pop-themed, heavy use of electronics, two-character casts, our bands share members, and sexualized portrayals of female death! :) But those similarities are actually pretty superficial; Timberbrit is a piece unlike anything I could have imagined. Jacob Cooper based many of his arias on Britney and JT songs slowed and stretched beyond recognition. The result is a surreal, tense, mindfuck of aching beauty. It’s also one of the few unapologetically digital large-scale compositions I’ve know, both in content and in spirit. Literally, the piece could not have been made without digital time-stretching technology (analog time-stretching affecting pitch and yadda-yadda…), and the expression is raw but almost mathematically restrained – the vocalists, Mell and Ted Hearne, have to recreate everything in slow motion, from the original vibrato to the once-minuscule moments of bad pitch.  In my opinion, academic composers have been very slow to embrace new technologies in a manner that isn’t either purely experimental or hearkening back to the past. Timberbrit sounds and feels comfortable in its DAW home.

Listen and watch the incredible and somewhat terrifying new video for Worst Fantasy, made by Switch Pictures:

Yup, that’s Mellissa. As Britney. Brillissa? Mellitney? It gets a little confusing as to whom is whom doesn’t it? No comment on what this may be doing to my psyche…

So if you are in and around America why don’t you flick on your dial to your local NPR station, somewhere between 4 and 6pm, or whenever All Things Considered is on in your neck of the woods. I’ve heard some of the interviews and it’s good stuff.


Looks like the broadcast is being rescheduled for another day. Stay tuned and check out the vid and links until then!


Listen to the broadcast, read all about it, and check out a rad Melly-tastic slideshow HERE.

P.S. The front page of

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