BREAKDOWN, a mashup of thousands of public domain samples, is the ageless tale of corrupt power-seekers perpetrating hideous deceptions on gullible masses. The New York Times called BREAKDOWN, in its Carnegie Hall premiere with the American Composers Orchestra “an uproarious bricolage of alien-invasion panic, financial distress, military might and patriotic sentiment.”
When an unidentified object is spotted in space, observers immediately alert the government, now in the hands of the Illegal Party, puts the country on red alert: vast profits can be made from this unknown enemy. The propaganda machine generates fear in the public. Mesmerized by the righteous glories of war, people fall into step with the military drumbeat, and drift into total complacency to the lilt of a free market bandwagon. Many lose the power to question their government and cannot recognize the looming breakdown of their world. Others, moved by the government's disdain for its impoverished citizens, foment resistance. People march out to vote, but rigged voting booths open onto a worse fate. The smallest protest becomes a treasonous act and citizens are rounded up, imprisoned for interrogation, and ultimately tortured by a vindictive and triumphalist government.