New & Notable Classical Albums



  • edited October 2015
    Gaps, Absences. album cover  
    - "A beautifully recorded and produced cycle of pieces that combine complexity and precision with rich and unfamiliar timbres. The ensemble pieces amplify and enrich a core piano with various combinations of harmonium, double bass, violin, percussion, Hungarian zither, citara bassa, bowed cymbals, alto clarinet, melodica, sampler and field recordings, all sparsely but powerfully deployed. This is a deep and powerful music with both crystalline clarity and cinematic low frequency power. And no fat or redundancy. By combining the edgy presence of acoustic instrumental performance with the width and depth of electroacoustic processing, it confounds all genre typing; it’s fiendishly complex but it grips like a thriller as it unfolds and twists, in ten dense chapters. It’s that rare thing today, a living music. Born and schooled in Novy Sad, in the former Jugoslavia, Tickmayer can safely be counted amongst the best of that late generation of east block composers who combined a fearsome education with an aesthetic that drew even-handedly on the most austere contemporary music, free jazz, rock and ’60s electronics. Above all this, a CD of prodigious performances and great imagination."      

  • edited October 2015
    This could have been posted on BC goodies, The other N&N and the free stuff thread . . .

    - "Empty Orchestra finds The OO-Ray (Ted Laderas) possessed with a new sense of urgency. Recorded over a stressful three years concurrent with his doctoral work in biology, Empty Orchestra is a work that protests the savagery of today while still maintaining that calm and peace can be reached through the turbulence."
    - "The OO-Ray is the alias of Ted Laderas, an improvisatory and experimental cellist from Portland, OR. A systems biologist by day, he extends his experimental attitude to exploring the outer possibilities of the cello, often distorting, looping, or pitchshifting his instrument beyond recognizability into waves of reverberation and extended drones. Inspired by the gauzy textures of My Bloody Valentine, he call his style “shoegazer cello” or “chamber drone”. His music explores the realms of electroacoustic, shoegazer, and ambient."
  • "Empty orchestra" is the wonderful source phrase for the blend word "karaoke."

    Now playing: Build Buildings - Argosy 
  • edited October 2015
    Here's vol 2 of Michel Banabila and Oene van Geel's Music For Viola and Electronics
    Music For Viola And Electronics II album cover 

    - "On Music for viola and electronics II, Banabila and Van Geel 
    explore further into their neo classical mix of viola improvisations, 
    ambient textures, minimal compositions, and modular experiments.

    After their collabs on 'Music for viola and electronics', (2014) 
    Michel Banabila and Oene van Geel decided to continue their 
    recording sessions, again combining viola with electronics. 
    This time they invited Eric Vloeimans on trumpet, Keimpe de Jong 
    on contrabas clarinet, Joost Kroon on drums, Emile Visser on cello 
    and Radboud Mens for Ableton programming. 
    Emile plays in Zapp String Quartet with Oene, Eric performed live 
    with Oene and The Nordenians, Eric and Michel worked before on 
    their award winning album VoizNoiz 3, Keimpe and Michel 
    performed together in a theatre play, Radboud and Michel worked 
    on ZoomWorld and many other projects together."

    Tapu Records  -  Emusic 

  • edited October 2015
    Right on time, as always with New Amsterdam :
    Render album cover 
    - Features compositions from Missy Mazzoli, William Brittelle, Wally Gunn, Brad Wells, Caleb Burhans,and Eric Dudley.
    Roomful of Teeth is:
  • edited October 2015
    Xenakis: IX album cover  
    "Full of challenges, from the pioneering mathematical influences, to unusual notation and virtuosic performance requirements, many classify Xenakis' compositions as unplayable, but KUNIKO's unrivalled prowess sees her perfectly realise the composer's vision. Pléïades explores a rich variety of percussive sounds and textures; marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, xylo-marimba and drums create a sound world of rhythmic complexity and vibrant colours. Uniquely, Pléïades also requires a SIXXEN,  an instrument designed by Xenakis and customised by KUNIKO, who hand-selected 120 metal bars to craft the perfect sound.

    Since becoming a percussion soloist, Rebonds is a piece that KUNIKO has been playing and performing throughout her entire career. After hearing this performance of Xenakis' popular piece, renowned percussionist Sylvio Gualda congratulated KUNIKO on her ‘marvellous' interpretation. . . . ."

    Linn Records

    Picture of Kuniko Kato  

    More Kuniko @ Emusers

  • edited December 2015
    Out:  04 November 2014 on The Industry Records and kindly recommended by Continuo's Documents
    - and absolutely mindblowing !
    - "Christopher Cerrone’s widely acclaimed opera, INVISIBLE CITIES, a 2014 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Music, is now available as a studio recording produced, engineered, mastered, and mixed by Nick Tipp. The recording is released by The Industry, LA’s home for new and experimental opera, on its new independent record label, The Industry Records. 

    Adapted from Italo Calvino’s 1972 fantastical novel, Cerrone’s delicate, quiet score explores sonic qualities of decay and lushness with a haunting simplicity through the use of found objects as instruments and pre-recorded voices interweaving with live voices. 

    The opera imagines a meeting of the emperor Kublai Khan at the end of his life with the explorer Marco Polo. And the story depicts a host of fantastical cities that the explorer Marco Polo narrates to Kublai Khan: unreal cities of desire, of memory, of the imagination and mind." 

    - "Produced by The Industry opera and ballet company, Invisible Cities – based on Italo Calvino’s novel – is a wonderful opera which was staged inside the enchanting architecture of LA’s Union Station, resplendent with terracota, marble, travertine and enclosed garden patios. Attendees were provided with wireless headphones and could thus hear the complete performance of the orchestra (located in a former restaurant), singers (in various halls and gardens) and choir. Dancers of the LA Dance Project company completed the cast. In this opera, Marco Polo describes the architectural marvels of 4 imaginary cities (55 in the original book, all resorting to Venice, in a final analysis) to Kublai Khan, a man who hardly travelled himself, and is here interpreted by a singer in a wheel chair. Invisible Cities is written in a traditional, tonal style, in the tradition of Benjamin Britten’s late works, especially his ultimate opera Death in Venice whose crepuscular atmosphere and bell-like piano notes is close to Invisible Cities. Staged in the garden patios, scene IV Armilla evokes Raymond Murray Schaefer’s own vocal works and outdoor operas – like Patria and RA. A minor quibble: the vocal ranges of Kublai Khan and Marco Polo’s interprets are too close, the former should have been a bass, preferably.
    - Continuo.

  • edited October 2015
    I guess it could be argued whether this belongs in the classical department.

    New on Sub Rosa:

    - "This superb double LP worth of André Stordeur’s remarkable electronic music collects the 18 Days LP published by Igloo Records in 1979 as well as unreleased tracks from the same period. The 3xCD version adds even more unreleased tracks until 2000. Stordeur exclusively used analog, modular synthesizers like the Serge, the Oberheim SEM1 or the EMS Synthi AKS, with their unmissable sound quality. His music is rather abstract and uneventful – exchewing any niceties or pompous effects other musicians would fall into with this kind of gearing –, yet it is extemely listenable. Vinyl pressing quality of this Sub Rosa reissue is top notch.

    The record’s fold out cover includes interesting new liner notes by the composer as well as a biography – three-quarters of which are copy/pasted from the Wikipedia article I wrote back in 2010 when I posted Stordeur’s 18 Days LP on my blog. Remembering the problems I had when I posted mp3s of this album (see the comments section), it is somewhat ironical to see this reissue being prone to misappropriation. Sub Rosa’s press release itself is 100% lifted from Wikipedia. Anyway, even if uncredited, I’m glad I contributed to this great reissue of André Stordeur’s music."

    Continuo's Documents


    - "Belgian electronic music composer André Stordeur born 1941. His musical career started in 1973 with a tape composition for the soundtrack to a film on Gordon Matta-Clark titled Office Baroque.

    Later in the 1970s, he participated to avantgarde music ensemble Studio voor Experimentele Muziek, founded in Antwerp, Flanders, by Joris De Laet. Since 1980, Stordeur composes exclusively on Serge synthesizer, either a
    Serge series 79 and a Serge prototype 1980, which was especially built for him by Serge Tcherepnin himself.
    In 1981, Stordeur composed the music of Belgian film director Christian Mesnil's documentary Du Zaïre au Congo. He studied at IRCAM in 1981 with David Wessel and then flew to the US to study with Morton Subotnick.
    Stordeur became an influential sound synthesis teacher and, in 1997, completed his Art of Analog Modular Synthesis by Voltage Control,[4] a guide to everything modular."

  • edited October 2015
    - "The first part of the "Vantdraught" series is called "Vantdraught 10" written for ten classical instruments - 4 violins, 2 violas, cello, vibraphone, marimba and piano. The music is largely based on a repetition of individual melodic motifs, which are also quite multithreaded within a given composition. Vibraphone, piano and marimba are written in a “push-pull” combination, being the rhythmical base for every piece, while strings are instantly “questioning and answering” each other whether being supportive to the rhythm or used for the presentation of themes. The common feature of every composition is symmetry, which has been applied to almost every aspect - rhythm, harmony, motifs and themes. The first four pieces of "Vantdraught 10", which are inspired by the works of classical minimalists and early 20th century composers, have been recorded in December 2014 with musicians from renowned Polish ensembles such as Neoquartet and Kwartludium at the concert studios of Radio Gdansk. "Vantdraught 10·Vol.1" will be released on Denovali Records in April 2015. For Vol. 2, which is following up, Kuba Kapsa will present a rather asymmetrical approach to voice leading and rhythm."
    Picture of Kuba Kapsa Ensemble  
    - "Kuba Kapsa is a Polish pianist and composer being the leader of the avant-jazz combo Contemporary Noise Sextet (2006-2014). Beyond that he is a renowned composer for film and theater plays. His latest venture is the first of a sophisticated series of projects of modern classical music bearing the common title "Vantdraught".
  • edited October 2015
    New on Mode Records:
    Urban Dreamings album cover 
    California EAR Unit - Ensemble
    Erik Drescher - Flute (Bass)
    Wolfgang Goff - Engineer
    The Human Experimente - Chamber Ensemble
    Dimitri Jurowski - Cello
    Ulrich Krieger - Composer, Electronics, Engineer, Executive Producer, Liner Notes, Post Production, Primary Artist, Sax (Sopranino), Sax (Tenor)
    Alan Licht - Liner Notes
    Gerald Scherer - Conductor

    - "This survey of saxophonist Ulrich Krieger's chamber music illuminates his ongoing penchant, as a composer, improviser, and interpreter, for probing the affinities between the rock and classical avant-gardes. Think Doom Metal meets Scelsi."
    - "Ulrich Krieger has lived and worked in Berlin since 1983. He is known for his work in contemporary composed and freely improvised music and as a composer of electronic music and chamber music. Recently he has concentrated on his old neglected passion: the frayed experimental edges of contemporary pop culture.

    He has worked with Lou Reed, LaMonte Young, Phill Niblock, Lee Ranaldo, Alan Licht, David First, Mario Bertoncini, John Duncan, Merzbow, DJ Olive, Christian Marclay, John White, Ensemble United Berlin, Ensemble Modern, Berlin Philharmonic, Seth Josel, Soldier String Quartet, and others. He has received many awards including fellowships for composers from the "Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg," the Deutsche Studienzentrum Venedig e.V., the Akademie der Künste Berlin, the "Meet-the-Composer" Forum, New York, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Darmstädter Ferienkurse für Neue Musik. He lived in New York for a long time and was "composer-in-residence" in Los Angeles, Rome, Venice and Bologna for several months respectively. He studied saxophone, composition and electronic music at the Universität der Künste in Berlin and the Manhattan School of Music in New York and taught himself to play the Didjeridu. His concerts have led him through Europe, America and Asia. Several CDs document his manifold musical activities. He became a member of the faculty of composition at the California Institute for the Arts in 2007."

  • edited October 2015
    Taarang album cover 
    Eryck Abecassis -  Composer, Electronic Treatments, Synthesizer
    Benoît Delbecq -  Composer, Prepared Piano, Primary Artist
    Mathias Delplanque -  Composer, Electronic Treatments 
    Philippe Foch -  Composer, Electronic Treatments, Primary Artist, Tabla Tarang 
    Toma Gouband -  Composer, Percussion, Primary Artist 
    Erwan Keravec -  Composer, Cornemuse (Bagpipe)
    Philippe Le Goff -  Composer, Electronic Treatments
    - "From the shimmering timbres of the taarang (a set of 15 tablas), Philippe Foch forges a constellation of instrumentalists met in multiple aesthetic contexts to focus on a single goal : being in the sound material."
     Picture of Philippe Foch  

  • edited June 2015
    Just in @ Bandcamp  as name your price:
    Gunshae for the making of this piece was: 

    Lady Eve: Oboe, English Horn 
    Kuma: Transmissions, Tapes

    - "Gunshae (pronounced Gun-shai) is the Panambient project of Canadian dubstep pioneer, Kuma, and renowned Oboist and DJ, Lady Eve.

    Bridging a gap between two very distinct contemporary practices, Gunshae is what happens when a classically trained musician and a veteran DJ and producer with a thing for improvising jam on the sound of stuff and things.

    Gunshae is live ambience at its most beguiling, an exploration of the grey area between electronic and classical musics.

    It’s molten woodwinds and Satie in dub. It’s heavy drones and show tunes played by a band sitting on a veranda with Wong Kar-Wai. It’s discrete music for the wifi generation.

    Tossing aside classical music’s obsession with adherence to the written score and live electronic performance’s stereotype of one guy behind a laptop checking his email, both members of Gunshae have been known to start the show on stage and finish up in the audience. Gunshae are not your average sound art duo or ambient performance act.

    Breaking down barriers between audience and performer, Gunshae is as happy in the chill out room as it is the art gallery or concert hall. Each performance is completely unique, site/audience specific and completely devoted to embracing the moment.

    These are Cascadian lullaby makers, crafting soundtracks made for trans-continental smudged sunsets."

    More Gunshae @ Emusers

  • edited October 2015
    This is a digital reissue of a vinyl album from Phillips Modern Music Series from 1960.
    (as far as I can work out)
     Orphée Ballet album cover 
    Pierre Henry, Maurice Béjart - Orphée Ballet

     Composed By [Musique Concrète] – Pierre Henry    Lyrics By – Maurice Béjart   Voice – Alain Cuny    

    - 'Orphée Ballet' is among the oldest and best known of Pierre Henry's pioneering concrète compositions. A groundbreaking piece of its day, it was scored for Maurice Béjart's choreography to the 'Orphée Ballet' (1960), which was based around the Greek myth of Orpheus, and contains a mixture of concrète composition and spoken French narrative."      
    - Boomkat.  
  • edited March 2016
    - "Dreamfall is the fourth full-length release and third album of chamber repertoire from New York City new music mainstays NOW Ensemble. Sprawling in scope and ambition, the 76-minute album features seven composers - Scott Smallwood, Mark Dancigers, John Supko, Nathan Williamson, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Andrea Mazzariello and Judd Greenstein - and is by far most expansive and ambitious record for the group to date." 

    "NOW Ensemble is a dynamic group of performers and composers dedicated to making new chamber music for the 21st century. With a unique instrumentation of flute, clarinet, electric guitar, double bass, and piano, the ensemble brings a fresh sound and a new perspective to the classical tradition, infused with the musical influences that reflect the diverse backgrounds of its members. Their 2014 - 2015 season celebrates 10 years of bringing some of the most exciting composers of their generation to national and international recognition. This past fall and spring saw the group travel to the Apples and Olives Festival in Zurich, Switzerland, Town Hall Seattle, Da Camera Houston, the Lincoln Center Atrium, and the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert series. Upcoming projects include premieres of new works by composer Judd Greenstein, Dawn of MIDI's Qasim Naqvi, vibrant and innovative Princeton composition fellow Gabriella Smith, UT Austin professor Yevgeniy Sharlat, and Rome Prize winner Sean Friar. . . . ."
  • edited October 2015
    Diaz de Leon: The Soul Is the Arena album cover 
    -  "The Soul is the Arena" is the long awaited follow up to Mario Diaz de Leon's 2009 composer debut, and the first release of his classical works for Denovali.  The album's three tracks find Diaz de Leon deepening his collaboration with the core members of ICE, now a decade long.  The mythological trope of the labyrinth, where a winding path leads to a central event that demands a fundamental change of direction, features heavily in the album's blend of acoustic and electronic elements, where a wide variety of ideas are unified by continuous momentum and arresting points of climax. 

    "Luciform" and "The Soul is the Arena" pit virtuosic performances by soloists ClaireChase  (flute) and Joshua Rubin (bass clarinet) against an array of vivid electronic textures. These range in character from doom-laden sub-bass to abrasive synthetic cacophony, recalling both Wolf Eyes and the early electronic works of Stockhausen. The elegiac "Portals Before Dawn" is written for a sextet of woodwinds, piano, percussion, and features Diaz de Leon himself on synthesizer.  Reducing the density of the previous pieces to its essence, the work unfolds over 20 haunting minutes, transporting the listener through a boundless landscape of rising and falling intensities.  Visionary and immersive, this is a bold body of work from an emerging master of modern composition."

    Picture of Mario Diaz de Leon 
    - "Mario Diaz de Leon is emerging as a singular voice in contemporary music.  With a body of work that cannot be neatly categorized, his music is marked by a sound that is both hallucinatory and intensely physical, and an aesthetic engagement with the role of mysticism in contemporary life.  

    Born in Minnesota, Diaz de Leon expanded from his early years in metal and hardcore punk to immerse himself in the work of 20th century composers Scelsi, Ligeti, Dumitrescu, and Xenakis, free improvisation, a wide range of electronic music, and noise / industrial music.  Based in NYC since 2004, he completed a doctorate in music composition at Columbia University, while also immersing himself in NYC's experimental, noise, and underground metal scenes. His debut album as composer, "Enter Houses Of", was released in 2009 on John Zorn's Tzadik label and praised by the New York Times for its "hallucinatory intensity".  The album marked a key point in his association with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), now acclaimed as “the new gold standard for new music" (The New Yorker). 

    As a solo performer, he is active under the name Oneirogen (o-NI-ro-jen), a project known for its merging of ethereal synths, brutal distortion, and noise influences. Since 2012, Oneirogen has toured internationally and released two full lengths and one EP on the Denovali label."
  • edited October 2015
    Sarah Kirkland Snider: Unremembered album cover 
    - "Sarah Kirkland Snider's Unremembered - an hour-long, thirteen-part song cycle for seven voices, chamber orchestra, and electronics, inspired by poems and illustrations by writer and visual artistNathaniel Bellows (W.W. Norton, HarperCollins). Four years in the making, the studio recording of Unremembered, featuring vocalists Padma Newsome (Clogs), DM Stith, and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), and the Unremembered Orchestra (members of ACME, Alarm Will Sound, ICE, The Knights, So Percussion), conducted by Edwin Outwater (Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony) "

    - "Recently deemed “among the brightest lights to emerge in recent seasons” (Time Out New York) and “a potentially significant voice on the American music landscape” (Philadelphia Inquirer), composer Sarah Kirkland Snider writes music of direct expression and vivid narrative that has been hailed as “rapturous” (The New York Times), “haunting” (The Los Angeles Times), and “strikingly beautiful” (Time Out New York). With an ear for the poetic and a careful attention to detail, Snider’s music draws upon a variety of influences to foreground nuanced and immersive storytelling. Of her orchestral song cycle, Penelope,  Pitchfork proclaimed: “Snider’s music lives in…an increasingly populous inter-genre space that, as of yet, has produced only a few clear, confident voices. Snider is perhaps the most sophisticated of them all.”

    The 2013 winner of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award, Snider has received commissions and performances internationally from the San Francisco Symphony, the Detroit Symphony OrchestraResidentie Orkest Den Haag, the North Carolina Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, theNational Arts Centre Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, vocalist Shara Worden, violinistAnne Akiko Meyers, percussionist Colin CurrieyMusic, the KnightsEnsemble SignalACMENow EnsembleFirebird EnsemblePsapphaHebrides EnsembleRoomful of TeethVoltiCantus, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and many others. Conductors who have championed her work include Edwin OutwaterAndre dé Ridder, and Rossen Milanov. Her music has been heard at Carnegie HallLincoln Center, and Brooklyn Academy of Music; the MoMAGetty Center, and MASS MoCA; venerable rock clubs like The Bell House and Paard van Troje; and theaters such as the Red Bull Theater and Playmakers Repertory. Her works have also been featured in festivals such as AspenEcstaticColorado,SundanceBAM’s Crossing Brooklyn FerryBang On a Can SummerLiquid MusicMATACarlsbadLook & Listen21C LiederabendSONiCNew York Festival of Song, and Apples & Olives. Penelope, her critically-acclaimed song cycle for mezzo and orchestra (or chamber ensemble), has been performed over forty times in the United States and Europe (“Every orchestra should play this piece right now,” proclaims Edwin Outwater.) . . . . ."

  • image 

    Andrew Watts countertenor

    Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts tenor

    BBC Singers

    London Sinfonietta / David Atherton


    Described by The Guardian as 'hauntingly powerful', Birtwistle's cantata Angel Fighter vividly explores the Biblical story of the struggle between man and divine being from the Book of Genesis. Predictably, for a composer with a long-standing fascination in myth, drama and ritual, it's the physical fight between Jacob and the Angel more than religious significance, that interests Birtwistle: the tension, twists of pulse, sharp accents and jeering chants from the chorus make it feel more like a wrestling match than a life-or-death struggle. Quartertones and string harmonics enhance the otherworldly descent of the Angel from Heaven and librettist Stephen Plaice makes clever use of Enochian, an angelic language 'discovered' by the 16th century alchemist and adviser to Queen Elizabeth I, John Dee.

    In Broken Images, inspired by Gabrieli's multi-choir canzonas, splits the ensemble into four groups (woodwind, brass, strings and percussion) and takes its title from the Robert Graves poem. Birtwistle continues to draw influence from the past in Virelai (Sus une fontayne), a rhythmically intricate realisation of a piece by Johannes Ciconia, who flourished in the late Middle Ages, around the time that Chaucer was writing his Canterbury Tales.


    - "Sir Harrison Birtwistle was born in Accrington in the north of England in 1934 and studied clarinet and composition at the Royal Manchester College of Music, making contact with a highly talented group of contemporaries including Peter Maxwell Davies, Alexander Goehr, John Ogdon and Elgar Howarth. In 1965 he sold his clarinets to devote all his efforts to composition, and travelled to Princeton as a Harkness Fellow where he completed the opera Punch and Judy. This work, together with Verses for Ensembles and The Triumph of Time, firmly established Birtwistle as a leading voice in British music.

    The decade from 1973 to 1984 was dominated by his monumental lyric tragedy The Mask of Orpheus,staged by English National Opera in 1986 and issued in a Gramophone Award-winning recording on NMC, and by the series of remarkable ensemble scores now performed by the world's leading new music groups: Secret TheatreSilbury Air and Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum (recorded by the London Sinfonietta and reissued on NMC). Large-scale works in the following decade included the operas Gawain and The Second Mrs Kong, the concertos Endless Parade for trumpet and Antiphoniesfor piano, and the orchestral score Earth Dances.

    Birtwistle's works of recent decades include Exody, premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim, Panic – which received a high profile premiere at the Last Night of the 1995 BBC Proms with an estimated worldwide audience of 100 million – and The Shadow of Night,commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra and Christoph von Dohnányi. The Last Supper received its first performances at the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin and at Glyndebourne in 2000. Theseus Game,co-commissioned by RUHRtriennale, Ensemble Modern and the London Sinfonietta, was premiered in 2003. The following year brought first performances of The Io Passion for Aldeburgh Almeida Opera and Night's Black Bird, commissioned by Roche for the Lucerne Festival. His opera The Minotaur received its premiere at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in April 2008 and has been released on DVD by Opus Arte. A new music theatre double bill of The Corridor and Semper Dowland, semper dolens opened the 2009 Aldeburgh Festival.

    Birtwistle’s music has attracted international conductors including Pierre Boulez, Daniel Barenboim, Elgar Howarth, Christoph von Dohnányi, Oliver Knussen, Sir Simon Rattle, Peter Eötvös and Franz Welser-Möst. He has received commissions from leading performing organisations and his music has been featured in major festivals and concert series including the BBC Proms, Salzburg Festival, Glyndebourne, Holland Festival, Lucerne Festival, Stockholm New Music, Wien Modern, Wittener Tage, the South Bank Centre in London, the Konzerthaus in Vienna and Settembre Musica in Turin and Milan.

    Birtwistle has received many honours, including the Grawemeyer Award in 1987 and the Siemens Prize in 1995; he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1986, awarded a British knighthood in 1988 and made a Companion of Honour in 2001. He was Henry Purcell Professor of Music at King's College, University of London (1995-2001) and is currently Director of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Recordings of Birtwistle's music are available on the Decca, Philips, Deutsche Grammophon, Teldec, Black Box, NMC, CPO and Soundcircus labels."

    NMC Recordings 

  • edited January 31
    Subotnick: The Wild Beasts. Landmark Recordings album cover 
    Mario Guarneri: trumpet / Alan K. Bartholemew, Dane Richards Little: cello / William Edward Powell, James D. Rohrig: clarinet / Jay Charles Bulen, Toby L. Holmes, Miles Anderson: trombone / Marvin B. Gordy III: percussion / Virko Baley: piano / Morton Subotnick: conductor.

    - "Morton Subotnick is a living legend in the development of electronic music. A leading innovator in works involving instruments and other media, he used many of the important technological breakthroughs of his time in his work as a composer. Many of his compositions contain electronic or computer-generated parts – as do the works compiled on this CD.

    “The Wild Beasts”
    - was originally inspired by an exhibition of Les Fauves paintings, which left the impression on Subotnick that every subject can only be perceived through a strangely prismatic atmosphere, an atmosphere comprised of rare and possibly "unearthly" gasses, an atmosphere in which normal expectations of colour and shape would not exist. For these visual impressions, the composer developed an acoustic counterpart: a traditional musical instrument played into an unusual and continually transforming atmosphere, an atmosphere in which normal sound expectations would no longer exist.

    “After the Butterfly”
    - is a concerto-like work for trumpet, instrumental ensemble and electronics. The work is one of a series of what Subotnick calls "ghost" pieces. Independent layers of increasing and decreasing intensities of sound material form the basis of the work.

    For the first time in over 20 years, WERGO has digitized, re-mastered, and re-released several of the legendary electronic musician and composer's original Nonesuch LP recordings on CD. 

    Recorded and originally released on LP by Nonesuch Records: April 1980 (1–3) and March 1981 (4). WERGO-CD released under license from Nonesuch Records. Digitized and reissued on CD in 2015."

  • edited September 2015
    - "The conch shell exemplifies the versatility, sublimity, and transcendence of nature - a natural dwelling, a biological work of art, and, as shown by the City of Tomorrow, an instrument. NATURE, the debut Ravello Records release by the City of Tomorrow wind quintet - consisting of Elise Blatchford, flute; Stuart Breczinski, oboe; Camila Barrientos Ossio, clarinet; Laura Miller, bassoon; and Leander Star, horn - showcases works by four contemporary composers that explore the evolution of humanity's relationship with nature.

    David Lang's breathless illustrates the tireless flow of time - the constant and steady movement of events - each instrument playing the same phrase throughout which overlap and create a continuously evolving unity. The innate balance between order and chaos is portrayed in Luciano Berio's ricorrenze, a piece in which interweaving virtuosic lines are grown from a single unison note, like sprouting from a seed. Inspired by a fantastical encyclopedia of real and imagined animals, "...a certain chinese cyclopaedia..." by Denys Bouliane creates a musical taxonomy of the sounds of bebop à la Charlie Parker, making Darwinian observations about the infinite and complex variations in human-made arts. Nat Evan's Music for Breathing is a foil to the occidental concept that nature is nothing but "beautiful" or "peaceful," emphasizing that nature does not discriminate, all biological events occur without favor. Through their virtuosic interpretations, the City of Tomorrow explores human emotional responses to the ever-changing biosphere and how we find new ways to participate in an awe-inspiring, often turbulent, and always indiscriminate environment."

    - "Approaching the delta where contemporary classical music, experimental music, environmentalism, and humanism converge, the City of Tomorrow is a woodwind quintet with unusual ambition. Seeking to give voice to emotions of people living in the world today, the quintet makes music to provide an outlet for our reactions to environmental destruction, endless war, the pixelization of our memories, the overwhelming mass of information collected on humanity every day, and other contemporary issues.

    Seeking to forge a new identity for the wind quintet in the same way that Kronos Quartet did for strings, the City of Tomorrow commissions new works, seeks relevancy for older compositions from the 20th century, and continues to shatter expectations for a concert of wind chamber music. This frequently means unexpected sounds: conch shell horns, strange timbres coming from double-reed instruments, wails from the French horn, improvisation in the clarinet, and a flute that can whisper, spit, talk, and sigh. 

    The City of Tomorrow is a touring ensemble that has performed across the U.S. and Canada in venues ranging from concert halls to the Mayo Clinic. The group is the first woodwind quintet to win a gold medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in over ten years and in 2014 was awarded a Classical Commissioning Grant from Chamber Music America."

    Soundcloud - Gapplegate Review   

  • Brady: The How & the Why of Memory (Live) album cover 
    - "Three major new orchestral works by Tim Brady, featuring impressive live performances by Symphony Nova Scotia, with featured solosits Robert Uchida, violin, and Jutta Puchhammer-Sédillot, viola, under the direction of Bernhard Gueller"
    - Centrediscs  -  Soundcloud   

    Known for his radiant orchestrations, his dramatic structures and his innovative guitar work, Canadian Tim Brady is a composer and guitarist who has created music in a wide range of genres ranging from chamber and orchestral music to electroacoustic works, chamber opera, contemporary dance scores, jazz and free improvisation. He has been commissioned and performed by numerous ensembles and orchestras in North America and Europe including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, New Music Concerts, INA-GRM (Radio-France), the English Guitar Quartet, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Esprit Orchestra (CBC), the Philadelphia-based Relâche ensemble, the Australian group Topology, and the British string ensemble The Smith Quartet. . . .
  • edited September 2015
    Name your price at New Amsterdam / Bandcamp:
    Judd Greenstein & Michi Wiancko 
    - "The Mend is an acidic comic drama from writer/director John Magary. The film stars Josh Lucas and Stephen Plunkett as a mismatched yin-yang pair of NYC brothers, following them as they stagger dimly towards some understanding of love, women, masculinity and brotherhood. Collaborating on their first feature-length film score, violinist/composer Michi Wiancko and keyboardist/composer (and New Amsterdam co-Artistic Director) Judd Greenstein built a trenchant, varied musical world around themes of family tension and existential dread. Playing often like a psychologically-rooted “counterpoint to the film’s existential funk” (Wall Street Journal), the score, composed for strings, keyboard, and woodwinds (performed by yMusic’s Hideaki Aomori), “suggests at all moments that any minor peace might unravel into violence” (The Village Voice). Meticulously produced and mixed by Wiancko, the score stands on its own as a lush, cohesive listening experience."
  • edited September 2015
    Newish from the Brassland label:
    - "Music for Wood and Strings is the official follow-up to Bryce Dessner's 2013 solo debutAhyem. But don't call this a solo record. Rather it is the meeting of three great musical entities that sound even better together. 

    ONE: Bryce Dessner wrote the piece. Best known as a guitarist and songwriter in The National, he is increasingly renown for his work as a composer and collaborator with artists ranging from Steve Reich to Sufjan Stevens, and as a curator on all-star projects exploring the links between the worlds of composed, folk and indie rock music (i.e. the Barbican'sMountains & Waves festival, Red Hot's Dark Was The Night, Brassland's recently released compilation MusicNOW: 10 Years). 

    TWO: So Percussion performed it. A Brooklyn-based percussion quartet, the group has a decade plus track record as serial collaborators with artists across the indie, electronic and classical music spectrum (i.e. Matmos, Dan Deacon, Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang). The New Yorker has praised them for their "exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam."

    THREE: Aron Sanchez of the duo Buke and Gase built the Chordstick, the original instruments upon which the music was made. These instruments -- designed in collaboration with Bryce -- are a cross between a hammer dulcimer and an electric guitar, lending the album its uniquely electrified and various soundscape: pointillist then hazy, distorted then crisp, shifting at will between a hum and a roar and always hypnotic, melodic and engrossing. 

    Weighing in at 35 minutes in length, "Music for Wood and Strings" is the most ambitious piece of music Dessner has released to date. The CD and download have a run time of 70 minutes, presenting the the composition both as a full length concert piece, and in 9 "sections" which are sub-divided into Spotify friendly "tracks" ideal for sharing on a playlist or embedding in your Facetube's blogtweetstream. 

    The appeal of all three parts of this equation should not be understated. Dessner is the clear winner in terms of name recognition because of his work with today's most popular independent musicians. However, Sō Percussion--taking after ensembles like Kronos Quartet--have redefined what it is to be a contemporary music ensemble, equally comfortable in the worlds of indie and art music. And it should also make it onto the radar of Buke and Gase fans, an iconic band whose place in underground pop imagines an intersection between Cocteau Twins, Shellac and Reggie Watt. All three artists have found a way to build on the DNA of iconic post-modernist John Cage: pushing experimental culture into the wider world."
    - Brassland - Emusic  

     - "Bryce Dessner is one of the most sought-after composers of his generation, with a rapidly expanding catalog of works commissioned by leading ensembles. Known to many as a guitarist with The National, he is also active as a curator – a vital force in the flourishing realm of new creative music.

    His orchestral, chamber, and vocal compositions have been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Metropolitan Museum of Art (for the New York Philharmonic), Kronos Quartet, BAM Next Wave Festival, Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Sydney Festival, eighth blackbird, Sō Percussion, New York City Ballet, and many others. He has created theatrical works in collaboration with choreographers Benjamin Millepied and Justin Peck, visual artist Matthew Ritchie, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and composers Sufjan Stevens and Nico Muhly.

    Dessner’s music – called “gorgeous, full-hearted” by NPR and “vibrant” by The New York Times – is marked by a keen sensitivity to instrumental color and texture. Propulsive rhythms often alternate with passages in which time is deftly suspended. His harmonies are expressive and flexible, ranging from the dense block chords of Aheym to the spacious modality of Music for Wood and Strings.

    Bridging musical languages and communities comes naturally to Dessner, born 1976 in Cincinnati, Ohio. After early training on the flute, he switched to classical guitar in his teens. While in high school he started a band with his twin brother Aaron, also a guitarist. “I was playing classical guitar recitals, and people said, ‘You know, you can’t really do both things,’” recalled Dessner in Salon. “My intuition told me they were wrong… Someday that diversity of experience would be more enriching or rewarding than just going down one path.”

    He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University. While at Yale in the late 90’s, Dessner met the other members of the quartet that became Clogs, weaving compositions out of improvisations on classical instruments. Clogs has toured widely, releasing five albums since 2001. That same year saw the founding of the critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated indie rock band The National, anchored by the Dessner brothers.

    Aheym, commissioned in 2009 by Kronos Quartet, was a breakthrough score. It made its debut before an audience of thousands in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, not far from Dessner’s home. Since then, the ensemble has played the intense, anguished piece hundreds of times; it served as the centerpiece of a 2013 Kronos disc devoted to Dessner’s music on the Anti- label. St. Carolyn by the Sea followed in 2014 on Deutsche Grammophon, featuring the lyrical title work and two other Dessner compositions performed by the Copenhagen Philharmonic under Andre de Ridder. May 2015 marked the release on Brassland of Music for Wood and Strings, an album-length work performed by Sō Percussion on custom-built “Chord Sticks” that lend a shimmering, hammer dulcimer-like quality.

    As a performer and producer, Dessner has collaborated with a wide variety of musicians, among them Steve Reich, Philip Glass, David Lang, Bon Iver, Antony and the Johnsons, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, composer/guitarist Jonny Greenwood, singer Shara Worden, and multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry.

    His activities as a curator have grown as his career has expanded, allowing him to bring diverse artists and communities together in an organic way. Most recently, he was tapped to curate ‘Mountains and Waves,’ a weekend celebration of his music at the Barbican in London, May 2015, with guests including Steve Reich, eighth blackbird, Sō Percussion, Caroline Shaw, and the Britten Sinfonia. In September of 2015, Dessner will also curate a weekend of performances at the Cork Opera House, Ireland.

    MusicNOW, the Cincinnati-based contemporary music festival he founded in 2006, has featured Tinariwen, Justin Vernon, Joanna Newsom, David Lang, Grizzly Bear, Perfume Genius, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, among many others. In 2015, MusicNOW celebrated its 10 year anniversary. To mark the occasion, an album titled MusicNOW: 10 Years, comprised of the festival’s best live performances, was released. . . "

  • edited April 2016
    Phonemes Requiem (2014-2015) 
    (For four Soloists, mixed Chorus, Didgeridoo, prepared Tombak, Electronics, Computer) 

    - "Spectropol is happy to help bring another significant work by Iranian artist Ehsan Saboohi to the west and beyond, this time with the help of a superb group of singers and instrumentalists. 

    Phonemes Requiem is a large-scale multi-movement work that explores the inner world of speech and vocalized sound, temporally expanded and sonically enhanced, each small section a zone to get lost in while serving the long flow of the piece. It’s rich with detail and gets better with each hearing."
    Solo Singers – Yasaman Koozehgar, Afsaneh Hassanzadeh, Vahid Jahandari, Mehrdad Farahani 
    Chorus – Arghavan Montazeri, Mehrnoush Zolfaghari, Sadaf Almasi, Kimia Roohina, Yasamine Shahhosseini, Sougol Khojasteh, Bahar Badiei Tabar, Shima Hosseinian, Ladan Mozaffari, Mahya Mohmoudirad, Mina Asheri, Mozhgan Mohammadhoseini, Saina Zamaniyan, Delaram Jahanmehr, Elnaz Heydari, Niyayesh Solgi, Mahoor Farshbaf, Alireza Zoghi, Amir Hosein Nouroozi, Navid Noghrezad, Keikavoos Faraji, Ehsan Kalami, Samad Kalani, Mohammadreza Naseri, Soroush Najafi, Pouria Vaghar, Manoochehr Talebi, Mohammad Amin Sharifi, Vahid Nahalparvari, Ahmad Hajibagher, Farzad Ebrahimi, Behtosh Davarpanah 
    Didgeridoo – Zhoobin Askarieh 
    Tombak, Tombak [Prepared], Electronics, Computer, Chorus Master [Director] – Ehsan Saboohi 
    - "Ehsan Saboohi (September 25th, 1981 – Tehran), belonging to the new generation of contemporary Iranian composers, pursues his musical experiences in three different fields of contemporary music namely Experimental, Eye Music and Free Tonal. . . ."<
  • edited October 2015
    - "Thomas Oboe Lee was born in China in 1945. He lived in São Paulo, Brazil, for six years before coming to the United States in 1966. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with BA in music, he went on to study music composition with William Thomas McKinley, George Russell and Gunther Schuller at the New England Conservatory (1972-76); with Betsy Jolas at Tanglewood (1976) and Earl Kim at Harvard University (1977-81). He has received many awards for his music; among them the Rome Prize, two Guggenheim Fellowships, two NEA Composers Fellowships, and the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been a member of the music faculty at Boston College since 1990."
  • Chou Wen-chung: Eternal Pine album cover 
    Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea (CMEK), Boston Musica Viva;
    Yi Ji-young, gayageum; Kim Woong-sik, changgu; Taipei Chinese Orchestra,
    Chang Yin-fang, conductor

    "The series of works featured on this album ushers in a new orientation for Chou Wen-chung (b. 1923) because it marks his first direct engagement with traditional East Asian musical ensembles. The genesis of Eternal Pine came about in part by his longstanding friendship and scholarly exchange with the eminent Korean musicologist Lee Hyeku. Owing to the persistence of a gayageum master, Yi Ji-young, Chou first composed Eternal Pine I for the Korean ensemble in 2008. The other versions soon followed: one for a Western musical ensemble in 2009, the duo version for Korean instruments in 2010, and the last for Chinese Sizhuensemble in 2012.

    Eternal Pine refers to the beauty and strength of pine as a symbol for longevity and eternity in East Asian cultures. This imagery is foreshadowed in his earlier work Windswept Peaks (1990), where Chou refers to the gnarly pine trees on mountain peaks, swept by the wind for hundreds of years. In such a context, the pine trees also symbolize the spirit of wenren - the indefatigable spirit of literati who have survived all sorts of persecutions throughout Chinese history.

    In his meticulous preparation for composing music, Chou gives attention to minute details to create an artistic experience comparable to seeing "the universe in a grain of sand." At one moment, an informed listener may hear echoes of Anton Webern in the brevity and contrapuntal mastery of musical lines in Chou's music; at another moment, s/he may be enthralled by the discovery of an infinite expression in the utterance of one sound."

    New World Records  


    - "Chou Wen-chung’s earliest work, Landscapes for orchestra (finished in 1949 and premiered by Leopold Stokowski with the San Francisco Symphony in 1953), is often cited as the first composition that is independent of either Western or Eastern musical grammar. Subsequently, his research for integration of musical concepts and practices led to his ever-evolving theory on his pien (variable) modes, influenced by concepts found in yin-yang and I Jing theories, Dao philosophy, brush calligraphy, and qin (Chinese zither) music, as well as early and modern European theories. It began with two works for wind orchestra, Metaphors (1959) and Riding the Wind (1964), but evolved steadily through such works as Pien (1966) for chamber ensemble, Echoes from the Gorge (1989) for percussion quartet, the Cello Concerto (1992), and most recently, the two string quartets,Clouds (1996) and Streams (2003).

    Chou was introduced to Edgard Varèse by Colin McPhee in 1949, and became Varèse’s student and assistant during the years when Varèse was composing his last works, including Déserts (1949-1954), the manuscript of which is, in fact, in Chou’s handwriting. His decades-long task of editing and correcting Varèse’s scores began under Varèse’s supervision, but was mostly undertaken after his death, including both versions of Amériques. [sic] Chou has also completed two of Varèse’s unfinished scores.

    Chou did his graduate work at Columbia University under Otto Luening, 1952-1954, and served as his assistant and Vladimir Ussachevsky’s at the predecessor of the historic Electronic Music Center. Among Chou’s other teachers were Nicholas Slonimsky, Bohuslav Martinu, and the musicologist Paul Henry Lang at Columbia. . . ."

  • edited October 2015

    - "Celebrated new-music sextet eighth blackbird, whose last three Cedille Records albums garnered Grammy awards, continues to soar with FILAMENT, a sizzling selection of four-world premiere recordings, plus a concert performance of Philip Glass’s influential Two Pages. The title FILAMENT symbolizes the strong ties of friendship and shared musical interests connecting the composers and performers on the album. FILAMENT offers first recordings of Bryce Dessner’s Murder Ballades, a fresh and surprisingly upbeat take on a macabre genre of folk music; Nico Muhly’s Doublespeak, an homage to Glass and the insistent, propulsive repetitions of classic minimalism; and short pieces by Son Lux, To Love and This is my Line, creative remixes of sounds from other tracks on the CD. Dessner, on guitar, and Muhly, on organ, join eighth blackbird for Glass’s Two Pages, recorded live-in-concert at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

    A genre-spanning musician and composer, Dessner has worked with the Kronos Quartet and Bang on a Can All-Stars and created Cincinnati’s MusicNOW festival. In the pop-music world, he’s familiar as the guitarist with the Billboard-charting, critically acclaimed indie rock band The National. Muhly has worked with Glass and with pop musicians Bjork and Sufjan Stevens. Among his credits are 11 orchestral works and two operas, one of which was performed at the English National Opera and New York’s Metropolitan Opera. 

    A sextet of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, and piano, eighth blackbird combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band, and the audacity of a storefront theater company. The Chicago-based “super-musicians” (Los Angeles Times) are “a polished, personable, routinely dazzling sextet” (New York Times). In recent concert seasons eighth blackbird has performed at Carnegie Hall (Zankel and Stern Halls), London’s Barbican Centre, Washington, D.C.’s Library of Congress and Kennedy Center, Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, the Eastman School of Music, and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Millennium Park. The ensemble’s Cedille Records catalog includes the Grammy-winning albums Meanwhile, Lonely Motel: Music from Slide, and Strange Imaginary Animals and the albums Fred, Beginnings, and Thirteen Ways, eighth blackbird’s first commercial release."

    Cedille - Soundcloud

  • edited October 2015

    The four works on this CD by Lars Graugaard (b. 1957) were composed especially for the ensembles of New York University Steinhardt in a joint search for a new rich and varied musical discourse. Endeavouring into the complex relationship between composition, perception and emotion, Graugaard uses the computer as a sophisticated performance vehicle and a compositional tool in scored and interactive music, creating a unique and radical sound experience.

    Lars Graugaard (b. 1957) received no formal training in composition. He actively pursues a double career as a composer and flautist. In the latter regard he was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. He has worked extensively with computers in the preparation of his compositions, but improvisation and pure intuition have come to play increasingly important roles in his works in recent years. He was appointed composer-in-residence of the Odense Symphony Orchestra in 1997. He also teaches "The Performer and the Digital Media" at the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense. Lars Graugaard served as artistic director of the ISCM World Music Days in Copenhagen in 1996. Incrustations (1993-1994, revised 1995) was originally conceived as an interactive piece for harp and computer using software developed in the MAX programming environment to control a KORG Wavestation. The recording on this CD is an adapted version for harp and tape. The title of the work refers to a relief technique used in carpentry, where various types of wood of contrasting color are inlaid. The composition was conceived on the gestural level as an attempt to directly access the musical expression of a conceived musical idea rather than to systematically generate each individual note. Performed musical gestures are used by the computer to generate musical gestures, but they also influence Music for harp and computer timbre. This is done through the use of an ever-developing controlled randomness which places the harp in relief (hence the title). The piece was commissioned by and dedicated to Sofia Asuncion Claro.  

    - "Among the various strategies against the concept of representation in music (whether it stems from a semiotic or a non-textual framework) that the avant-garde has deployed we can find the ‘scientific’ approach. Best exemplified by many mid-century U.S. electronic musicians like Vladimir Ussachevsky, or by the spirit with which someone like Milton Babbitt wrote his infamous essay “Who Cares If You Listen?” in 1958, this philosophy lays down the stakes of musical research as belonging entirely to the domain of scientific knowledge. Parting from sound as natural event, it was mostly uninterested in its cultural and historical associations, searching in its organization a truthful path different from that of good old acoustics. While this endeavour to find the laws of music might seem quixotic to many of us now, it’s nevertheless important for the experimentalist (in the full, scientific meaning of the word) mind-set with which it’s subsequently graced many an artist producing highly creative, engaging work like Lars Graugaard’s own.

    The Danish composer lives up to the task by having programmed a piece of software that correlates all aspects of a music (notation, performance, physical properties) with the emotion it causes in listeners. This means, in a way, a reinterpretation of the scientifically-grounded notions of the aforementioned artists that basically puts them on their head: no longer are relations (between a note and the response to it, the performance of a piece and its capacity for producing knowledge) pushed far down into the research agenda as mere distractions to the discovery of truths about nature, but made the centrepiece to generate knowledge on human nature.

    Venus integrates orchestral arrangements, soloists under very particular circumstances (as we’ll see), and electronics into four pieces that sometimes feel simple, sometimes complex, arranging an ambient-like mode whose richness depends on the listener’s commitment. Thus, it feels like a system, as if the musicians were the program itself, coding away musical setpieces procedurally made to interact with the user in ways that make sense, that articulate the music as something that reflects him/her as much as it exists independently. Emotions being data, the side of the equation that’s replaced properties and has embraced relations instead, the intent of the program is to provide a way to directly deal with a core truth of expression, to enable the composer to write no longer in musical terms (this melody represents that) but in strictly emotional ones. With this in mind, the role of the soloist in “Book of Throws” becomes an element of experimental risk, of not completely subordinating everything to a pretension of universal knowledge, since the sole requirement made of the pianist was that he didn’t know anything about the piece beforehand. He played (with pretty great results) by completely improvising his part, having no background in either essays, access to the score, and so on, being guided solely by the program’s functioning around him. The soloist provokes a singular question – even if this is a formula in which emotion and sound organization are equal, you can’t take away considerations of context, an element of entropy in the perfect environment a program supposedly provides. The soloist is the way through which Graugaard distances himself from a fully scientific idea of access to laws grounded on universal truths, coding in relations – and therefore, relativity – in a way that makes the system imperfect.

    It’s this imperfection, this focus on the scientific reduction of the human, what grants Venus its wings, proving that the avant-garde ventures of old are not quite dead yet, and more importantly, that their suggestions are far from being exhausted. This is new music, to be sure, and the program that lies behind it, full of intricacy, will surely provide many more of quite exciting, revealing musical thoughts. We might never find the law of ‘sadness’ or ‘feel-good’, and it’s arguable that composers will never be able to write in emotions, but the quest itself is more than worth the effort. Like Venus, it provides us with an endless desire to renew and discover pleasures both familiar and unknown."

    - David Murrieta @ A Closer Listen 

    ETA:- Lars Graugaard is also known as Lars From Mars    


  • edited October 2015
    Is this Classical music ? - Maybe, maybe not . . .

    Academic drone-artist and former pro skateboarder (seriously) Duane Pitre returns with Bayou Electric. Completing the trilogy started by his last two records, this piece is built up around a field recording rich with personal resonance, around which the sonic resonances of the ensemble were built. On Important Records.

    Douane Pitre - Bayou Electric 

    For synthesizers, sine tones, amplified violin/viola/cello, field recording and custom software.
    Written/recorded/reconfigured/mixed July-October 2014, New Orleans.

    - Dedicated to Pitre's family: past, present and future.

    "Bayou Electric" is the final installment in an unplanned trilogy, with "Feel Free "and "Bridges" making up the first and second installments in the series, respectfully. All three works share similar characteristics, compositional processes, alternate tuning schemes, instrumentation and a certain ethos that the composer views as cohesive whole. There is a progression toward refinement over the course of this trilogy, in the overall "sound" of the albums and in their dependence on other musicians to realize them (each less dependent than its predecessor). "Bayou Electric," which contains a single, calming and cathartic composition (of the same title), brings this cycle to a gentle and unhurried finale.

    The field recording utilized in "Bayou Electric"  was captured on a late night in August, 2010 at the edge of Four Mile Bayou; Louisiana land that has been in Pitre's family since January 14, 1922. Upon listening to what he'd captured, Pitre become enthralled by the fabric of sound that the wildlife on this waterway had created. It evoked many feelings--such as how past generations of his relatives lived amongst these same sounds and walked the same land--creating a powerful connection and a sense of timelessness.

    Pitre was set on finding a way to use this field recording in his music, but wanted to do so without simply adding it to a composition as just another layer of sound or by molding it (via 'processing') into something easier to work with. Instead, Pitre decided to start with the unaltered field recording and build the instrumentation around it, in a highly sympathetic manner, with the musical portion becoming accompaniment to the sounds of this remote land. This was the catalyst of "Bayou Electric" and of primary importance to him, as a way to connect to his Cajun heritage in his own artistic way.

    Important Records - Soundcloud 

  • - Fantastic news from Innova Recordings:

    Terri Hron, James Moore, Mantra Percussion, Jamie Jordan, Kathleen Supove, Yvonne Troxler, Molly Shaiken, Tiit Helimets, Abi Basch, Wil Smith. orkest de ereprijs, Wim Boerman, Todd Reynolds.

    - "Although there’s something romantic about the notion of the composer slaving away in the isolated attic, accompanied only by her muse and the flickering light of a waning candle, the truth is that collaboration drives creativity, and composer Paula Matthusen’s Pieces for People celebrates that process.

    Reflecting a decade’s worth of work with friends and ensembles whom Matthusen admires, the record places performers inside of electronic soundworlds: album opener “sparrows in supermarkets” takes its inspiration from a family of sparrows in a local grocery store, with Terrie Hron’s recorder conversing with drones and repetitive textures; album closer “in absentia” harnesses the talents of violinist Todd Reynolds and pianist Yvonne Troxler to explore ideas about memory through repetition and erasure alongside a bed of miniature electronics. In between we hear works featuring banjo (James Moore), organ (Wil Smith), and larger ensembles (Mantra Percussion and orkest de ereprijs) that seem to explore friendships as much as soundworlds.

    Expansive and atmospheric, but also melodic and thematic, Pieces for People finds humanity in collaboration and explores the construction of a community through its processes."

    Innova Recordings - Soundcloud 


    - "Paula Matthusen is a composer who writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realizes sound installations. In addition to writing for a variety of different ensembles, she also collaborates with choreographers and theater companies. She has written for diverse instrumentations, such as “run-on sentence of the pavement” for piano, ping-pong balls, and electronics, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker noted as being “entrancing”. Her work often considers discrepancies in musical space—real, imagined, and remembered.

    Her music has been performed by Dither, Mantra Percussion, the Bang On A Can All-Stars, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), orchest de ereprijs, The Glass Farm Ensemble, the Estonian National Ballet . . . ."

  • edited November 2015
    - Presenting one of the most strange and excentric artists on this planet:

    Vincent Bergeron, musique, littérature, art visuel
    Christian Vasseur, guitare acoustique
    Malcolm Goldstein, violon (Eight Whiskus)
    Wiek Hijmans, guitare électrique
    Anat Pick, interprétation vocale et réécriture poétique
    Hany-Adrian Dragan, interprétation vocale

    - "Spasmacousmatic / Schizophonia composer (since 1997), helping all unknown and dynamic sounds. Finding his style mostly since 2000, in songs and complex instrumentals with satisfaction in 2003. Fraction of second perfectionism, a productive attitude for this kind of music and action (the equivalent of 10 complex songs albums, 70 compositions in 6 years of work ; 1/16 from one of these albums and then you have a movie soundtrack perhaps). Equally a unique voice, poetic in a malaise that goes in another direction than the music. Sometimes on scene for performance art, rethinking the original music, with a scream-sing voice and a tribal yet unpredictable dance that is both instinctive and in his memory of the fractions of seconds of his music."
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