Cleaning my office, I found a seven-year-old CD from the dacapo label that I'd never got around to checking out. It's a collection of pieces by the Los Angeles-born composer Wayne Siegel, who for many years has been living and working in Denmark. He names Steve Reich and György Ligeti as icons, and his music strikes a bewitching balance between those two modern giants: minimalism is the base camp, but the harmonies routinely wander into gnarled thickets before finding a way out. Siegel also likes the fractured blues of Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart. The Devil's Golf Course (1986), for orchestra, synthesizers, and drums, was inspired by the terrifyingly beautiful landscapes of Death Valley, where I took the photo above. It begins with a churning sequence of chords that sounds like something off Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica — an evocation of some elemental nastiness gasping in the heat. By the end, that crawling motion has turned into robust minimalist drive, presumably of the 4-wheel or dune-buggy kind. An eerie, thrilling piece. Someone should commission a big new orchestral work from this composer: in the last decade he's been working mostly with electronics and chamber ensembles. I also want to hear his Music for 21 Clarinets, from 1980. Sadly, Devil's Golf Course seems to be out of print, though there are some used copies on Amazon.