Horchata is the name used by Michael Palace for his electronic music compositions. His music focuses on four major elements: complex beat music, dark ambient soundscapes, programmed compositional glitch music, and field recordings. Often a composition will include several of these elements. Palace has worked for a number of years as a research scientist at the University of New Hampshire's Complex System Research Center as a tropical ecologist working in Amazonia. During his numerous field visits to the rainforest, he has recorded sounds, often using these in compositional pieces. Palace also is involved with theoretical ecological modeling and has developed programs to look at resource use and extraction and mutualism between fig trees and pollinating wasps. Modification of these computer simulations have yielded some interesting sound generating and compositional programs which are featured in newer recordings by Palace.
Palace recently has been examining the predictive potential of NASA Earth Observing Satellites to find indicators of archaeological sites in Amazonia, primarily through looking at forest canopy and nutrients associated with Amazonian Black Earths or terra preta. As Palace has become more involved with ecological archaeology, he decided to examine funeral structures as a concept for a compositional piece. Tumulus explores these earthen oriented burial structures and this concept falls nicely with the dark isolated nature of his music and the lost but recently rediscovered aspects of the sound design. This music was done using a modular synthesizer (www.synthesizers.com), Native Instruments Reaktor, Absyth, and FM8. Compositions were structured using Sonar 9. Additional sounds were from modified field audio using Python 2.6 Cover photographs and design were done by Palace's childhood friend, Dieter Von Scrhamm (www.overprocessed.com).