"Payne seems interested in the surreal, the inward, the micro and the accumulation of physical and psychological tension. The compositions and sounds have incredible depth, a profound logic and, though not 'pretty,' an irresistable beauty."
—Tom Grove, Option (Crystal CD)
“Her work is open in spirit, meditative in tone, deeply involved with exploring the qualities of pure sound over abstract structure, and committed to discovering ‘extensions’ of instrumental sound through technological interfaces and nontraditional performing techniques…The roar of the sea and of wind seem to be obvious parallels in natural sound to that of Payne’s aural imagination, and the results are at times overwhelming, rather like being swept away by a tsunami.”
—Robert Carl, Fanfare (HUM, Aeolian Confluence, Inflections)
“Maggi Payne is no less a musical alchemist, who, with, a huge repertory of layering and processing techniques, transforms a seemingly minimal palette of sounds into a musical form of massive proportions. Payne focuses on forging organic connections between the elements of her sonic spectrum.”
—EAR/Rational Music (breaks/motors)
“…Maggi Payne’s stunning “ReCycle” is made up of domestic recordings of a refrigerator, freezer, a floor furnace, ice and boiling water melded with noisy pauses on old 78 recordings. A rhythmic haunted whisper the voices of obedient appliances working away—ends with corpulent thunder, as if the machines wring out their tortured souls and stage a lockout from your own house or mind.”
—Anne Hilde Neset, The Wire
“These seven beautiful and well-crafted electronic music compositions suggest vast internal and universal dimensions…Events within the interior of a humble flute become a gigantic sonic landscape in the stunning ‘Scirocco.’”
—“Blue” Gene Tyranny, All Music Guide (Crystal CD)
“Her film Apparent Horizon juxtaposed NASA footage of natural rock formations with the planet as a whole, as viewed from outer space, enhanced by the spiraling tones of Payne’s flawlessly engineered recording.”
—Richard Henderson, The Wire
“My favorites are Payne’s own roaring, menacing sounds. They have a visceral quality happily at odds with computer blandness and ‘interactive’ gimmicks. Avant-garde in the best sense, they are scary and full of fun. Here the flute is ‘extended’ so far it sounds like a force of nature, a storm from the cosmos.”
—Sullivan, American Record Guide (The Extended Flute CD)
"Ms. Fenley...performed to a magical score by Maggi Payne."
—Jennifer Dunning, New York Times (Solar Wind, Ahh-Ahh, Resonant Places)
"She draws on a combination of impressive musicality and advanced studio craft to produce weird aural landscapes that are as unsettling as they are beautiful."
—Rich Anderson, The Herald, Provo, Utah (Crystal CD)
"Her music, dating back to 1982 on this disc, is some of the most sensitive and interesting electronic music I've heard, combining a wide range of sound materials, beautiful, menacing, quiet."
—Taylor, American Record Guide (Crystal CD)
"She manages to tightwalk brilliantly, and in this piece most movingly, between taut, angular dissonances and intervals of sheer, emotion-laden singularities that, together, made for the most successful, single work of the evening."
—Jim Jordan, Express (Subterranean Network)
"Her pieces generally begin slowly and silently with gradual crescendos into climactic whooshes and whirls of crackles, clinkety clunks, swirling wind and sound waves like night insects weaving in and out of audible range."
—Sammy Prestianni, Retriever (Crystal CD)
“Inflections—a sparkling string of pearls padded in soulful silence.”
—Mark Alburger, 21st Century Music
“At the peak of a 45-sec. fade-in, Resonant Places by Maggi Payne shuttles the listener on a slow-touring car through a soothing sonic landscape. The result is sensuous and effective.”
—Luc Corvet, Computer Music Journal
"Payne is due applause for her impressive melding of music theory, technique and style."
—Darren Bergstein, i/e (Crystal CD)
"Maggi Payne marshals her electronic forces never less than commandingly."
—Mike Silverton, Option (Crystal CD)
"Maggi Payne's...processing of car and airplane sounds into a scintillating harmonic continuum captures some part of that comfortless contemplative attitude the desert inspires."
—Kyle Gann, Village Voice (Airwaves (realities))
“Maggi Payne’s work processes the sounds of water into a monumental environmental sound-event.”
—John Sunier, Audiophile Audition, Hi-Res Audio Reviews (White Turbulence 2000)
"Scirocco...create(s) a rain forest where instruments call to each other like chrome birds."
—Richard Kadrey, The Chronicle Whole Earth Catalog
"...all share in the sheer sensual possibilities of sound."
—Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Chronicle (Another Coast CD)
"It is an emotional moment, rich in color and spirit."
—Richard Pontzious, S.F. Examiner (Ling)
"One point that makes Payne’s electronic music so compelling
is that much of the spatialization in the compositions is derived from careful
mic placement during recording, rather than being artificially imposed through
processing later in the compositional process. Her sounds scamper, clap, and
swish around the sound field as if they are alive. …get your best pair of
headphones and/or speakers ready, open your ears wide, and immerse yourself in
these sonic depths."
—Alexandra Gardner, newmusicbox (Arctic Winds CD)
"Steely laptop electronics
in the form of large-canvas creations. It's noise music, on a grand scale, with
big washes of sound pouring over you. Many tracks make me think of winds, or
jet engines, in different timbres and tones."
—Wedge, KZSU, Stanford (Arctic Winds CD)
"The pieces on this CD give you a glimpse of the cinematic
possibilities in soundscapes, or “tape music,” or computer electronics—whatever
you want to call it. The sounds move
from speaker to speaker…you can almost feel them surging closer, then farther
away…Payne’s artificial world gives us something that really sounds like it should be called “Arctic
Winds.” It’s an errie place, full of dark, agoraphobic moods. “Fluid Dynamics”
does sound like surging cold winds, one furious wave after another, with pauses
consisting of uneasy rustling."
—Wedgeradio (Arctic Winds CD)
—Steve Mecca, Chain D.L.K. (Arctic Winds CD)
"You need good speakers, some space in your schedule, and a
mind-body continuum willing to resonate with Payne’s electroacoustic journey,
but then it will take you to places that other music can’t reach."
—Richard Mitnick, musicsprings (Arctic Winds CD)