Love in the Asylum
Michael McNabb - 1981

Love in the Asylum is a love song to the calculated insanity and spontaneous magic that one must sometimes call upon in order to live in this strange universe of ours. It features an orchestra of familiar instrumental and vocal sounds, new sounds drawn from the imagination, and---perhaps most expressively---sounds that fluidly shift between the two. The work, which critic Paul Lehrman called "one of the most devastatingly beautiful pieces of electronic music I have ever heard", is built of two psychological layers. Foremost is a layer of cheerful confidence and exuberance, colored and occasionally overpowered by a dark emotional undercurrent of anxiety and psychological imbalance.

All sounds in Love in the Asylum were synthesized except for the laughter and the player calliope music. It includes a number of musical quotations, including quotations from other works of electroacoustic music. The spatial sound paths at the beginning of the first movement are from Turenas (1972) by John Chowning, who was a primary mentor, and influenced McNabb's decision to specialize in electroacoustic music and performance.