New & Notable Classical Albums



  • Just out on Infrequent Seams:
    Nicholas Isherwood - bass/baritone
    Jenny Lin - piano
    William Schimmel - accordion
    E# - bass clarinet, trombone, viola, cello, guitar, percussion, electronics

    The opera PORT BOU by Elliott Sharp presents the last moments in the life of philosopher Walter Benjamin at Port-Bou in 1940 as he was fleeing Nazi-occupied France. PORT BOU features the astounding bass-baritone Nicholas Isherwood with virtuosi Jenny Lin on piano and William Schimmel on accordion as well as electroacoustic backing tracks by Sharp. In his spoken introduction to the Berlin performance of PORT BOU, Volker Schlörndorf, director of The Tin Drum stated: "Anybody's agony, the night before closing the door on the world, is hard to transcribe in musical notes, I thought, even more so a philosopher's Angst. Yet, it can be done, and his voice, this particular voice, roaming a hotel room in exile, is proof of it. A metaphysical achievement.”
    - Emusic
  • edited January 2017


    The Formosa Quartet, Aleck Karis, piano; Third Coast Percussion, Daniel Schlosberg, piano; Michael Lewanski, conductor; Mark Dresser, contrabass solo; The Palimpsest Ensemble, Steven Schick, percussion, conductor

      - "The result of a rich confluence of many different cultural threads, a vivid and open imagination, and a rigorous intellect, Lei Liang's (b. 1972) music has a dimensionality to it that's quite remarkable. Of course acoustic, often luxuriantly so, it somehow also evokes tactility, it sounds like something that could be touched; it evokes shape and color, it sounds like something that could be seen. There are still other layers of significance, especially language and the drama of narrative action, its great sonic variety possibly conjuring character and scene, emotions and ideas different for each performer and listener. Through myriad avenues of potential perception, Liang's music reaches out and embraces its audience, its intricacies and complexities part and parcel of its naturalness and its direct but highly nuanced communicative voice.

    These five compositions represent further explorations of his long-standing research into traditional Asian arts and music and their incorporation into a contemporary music aesthetic.  Verge Quartet (2013) is the latest example of Liang's extensive study of Mongolian music. Trans (2013), written for virtuoso percussionist Steven Schick, incorporates audience participation by having them play more than a hundred pairs of rocks, creating a sonic "cloud" that can be interpreted as rain or other natural sounds. The moon is following us (2015) (for solo piano) represents the composer's effort to search for a new harmonic language, based on spectral analysis of a Chinese folk song. Liang imagines the composition as a journey through the spectral landscapes hidden within a voice.

    Inkscape (2014) (for percussion quartet and piano), one of several works in which Liang engages with the idea of Chinese traditional mark-making, either that of calligraphy or painting, is an exploration of the relationship between sound and Chinese ink paintings. In this piece, the piano functions as the "brush," and the percussion quartet as the "ink." Luminous (2014) is a concerto written specifically for the innovative bass improviser Mark Dresser. The composer writes, "The instrument's rich spectra embody 'voices' that encompass extreme opposites - lightness and darkness, angels and ghosts, paradise and inferno - unified by a singular vibrating body." 

    - New World Records

    - "Lei Liang (b.1972) is a Chinese-born American composer whose works have been described as “hauntingly beautiful and sonically colorful” by The New York Times, and as “far, far out of the ordinary, brilliantly original and inarguably gorgeous” by The Washington Post. . . . ."

  • edited December 2016
    "A O R T A is named as such because it is a collection of pieces from my heart. I searched for music that resonated with me during desperate times, alone in a cramped apartment at 2 a.m. and wide awake, trying to find meaning.
    When I put out my first solo recording, I was obsessed with perfection -- everything had to be in its right place. I wanted A O R T A to be different. I chose the longest takes, preserving my sense of this world as much as possible -- the rawness and difficulty of being alive. I wanted to create an album about light, love, emotion, and humanity."
    - Vicky Chow

    - "The album opens with Christopher Cerrone's "Hoyt-Schermerhorn", a tribute to the New York nightscape, and explores the competing feelings that come to us late at night -- nostalgia, joy, panic, anxiety. "Clifton Gates" by Jacob Cooper follows, named for the place it was written (Clifton Place, Brooklyn) and the piece it pays homage to (John Adams’s "Phrygian Gates"). "Clifton Gates" employs—among other digital effects—actual audio gates, creating a rhythmic alteration out of sudden shifts in amplitude. The gating effect is especially audible as the work begins, processing music whose tonality and texture are reminiscent of the slow middle section of Adams’s piece.

    Then arrives Jakub Ciupinski's four-movement piece "Morning Tale", which centers around the motion from a place of darkness to a new beginning. Technically, the piece strives to use electronics as an extension of the piano's capabilities rather than a separate medium by featuring an electronic layer derived from piano sounds, with the speakers placed inside the instrument to achieve a greater blend with acoustic sounds.

    Molly Joyce's "Rave" follows, written specifically for Chow's sound and style. "Rave" incorporates an inverse relationship between live piano and pre-recorded electronics, exploring the sonic possibilities of this complex relationship as it evolves over the course of the piece using inverse interaction. Next are Daniel Wohl's two works, which feature different interactions between the electronics and the piano. In "Limbs", the electronics match the intricate rhythm played by Chow, and in "Bones", a second recording of the piano interlocks with the one played in real time by Chow.

    The album closes with Andy Akiho's piece "Vick(i/y)", a piece written and named for Vick(y) Chow and pianist Vick(i) Ray. The work uses auditory and structural palindromes throughout the work to symbolize the subtle differences that lie beneath an assumed symmetrical structure or state of being.  The bell-like preparation notes of diminishing pulses, which are continuously interrupted by the conventional notes, represent a consistent, yet fading mental image. Akiho's goal was to create a miniature percussion ensemble with the piano by incorporating extended instrument-preparation and compositional techniques inspired by John Cage, George Crumb, Béla Bartók and Jacob Druckman."

    - New Amsterdam - Emusic

    - "Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has been described as “brilliant” (New York Times) and “one of the new stars of new music” (Los Angeles Times). Joining the All-Stars in 2009, she is now also a member of New Music Detroit, X88, and GRANDBAND. Her recording of Steve Reich's 'Piano Counterpoint' has recently been released under the Nonesuch label, and her next solo album featuring a newly commissioned evening-length work by Tristan Perich, titled 'Surface Image' for solo piano and 40 channel 1-bit electronics, was released in October 2014 on New Amsterdam Records.

    Her next projects include commissions from American composers Chris Cerrone and Molly Joyce and Canadian composers Adam Basanta and Jocelyn Morlock. Ms. Chow also produces and curates “Contagious Sounds," a new music series focusing on adventurous contemporary artists and composers in New York City.

    She receives continuous support from the Canada Council for the Arts and has received grants from the Aaron Copland Fund, Yvar Mikhashoff Trust, Fromm Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, and the BC Arts Council. Originally from Vancouver Canada, Ms. Chow studied at The Juilliard School with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Julian Martin before continuing studies at Manhattan School of Music with Christopher Oldfather. Starting the piano at age 5, she was invited to perform at the age of 9 at the International Gilmore Music Keyboard Festival. She made her orchestral debut at the age of 10 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and made her NY orchestral debut appearance at Alice Tully Hall with the Juilliard Symphony."

    - BoaC

    Composer Mikel Kuehn, a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, writes music that is deftly structured, exquisitely orchestrated, and imbued with an ideal balance between deep pathos and intellectual rigor. Heard here in performances by Chicago based Ensemble Dal Niente, Flexible Music, percussionist Gregory Beyer, guitarist Daniel Lippel, cellist Craig Hultgren, and BGSU Saxophone Ensemble, and with in depth liner notes by flutist/composer/new music icon Harvey Sollberger, Kuehn's music takes the high modernist tradition as a starting point, creating works of rich depth that reward repeat listenings.
    - "2014 Guggenheim fellow Mikel Kuehn's Object/Shadow includes works written over a twenty year span, for soloists and ensembles, with and without electronics, and highlights Kuehn’s virtuosic compositional craft and poignant artistic voice. In the liner notes, flutist/composer/icon Harvey Sollberger describes a dilemma — how should contemporary composers come to terms with the legacy of modernism as laid out by luminaries such as Boulez, Babbitt, Stockhausen, Carter, and Xenakis. Sollberger writes, “the project of Modernism after them has remained wide-open in its possibilities, leaving composers of the next generation to confront the issue of what to do (or not do) with it: to run with the ball, that is to embrace and extend the Modernist tradition in all its implications; to adopt only its more superficial qualities while jettisoning the rest; or to ignore it and go with the more easygoing flow.” Sollberger’s notes, and the remarkable music on this recording, testify with conviction to the fact that Mikel Kuehn has decidedly chosen to “run with the ball,” building his oeuvre on the depth of craft and the breadth of compositional inquiry that is at the core of the modernist project, while expanding further into realms reflective of contemporary aesthetic directions. Writing with a finely tuned sense of orchestration, Kuehn’s music balances rigorous pitch choice with attractive foreground textures. Undercurrents, the largest work on the disc, highlights hybrid timbres between sub-groups of the ensemble, a technique grounded in the music of the first generation of modernists. Chiaroscuro and Objet/Ombre are works from a larger series of electroacoustic pieces by Kuehn called Hyperresonance, which also fuse composite textures, though here Kuehn’s symbiotic relationships exist between live instruments and electronics. In Color Fields written for Flexible Music, we hear a different side of Kuehn’s voice, informed by the group’s instrumentation as well as his background in jazz. Referencing Louis Andriessen’s iconic canon, Hout, Kuehn adapts the compositional technique to his purposes, treating the shifting canonic order and pairings like a Rubix cube to create a prismatic texture. The strength of this collection of pieces ultimately lies with the maturity of Kuehn’s artistry; here is a composer who has patiently honed an integrated aesthetic rooted in tradition but which is forward looking. He now invites us into his compositional world with this comprehensive collection of sublime chamber works."
    - New Focus Recordings - Emusic

    - "The music of American composer Mikel Kuehn has received awards and honorable recognition from ASCAP and BMI (student composer awards), the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (2000 and 2002 First Hearing Contests), Composers, Inc. (Lee Ettelson Award), the Copland House (Aaron Copland Award), Eastman (Hanson and McCurdy Prizes), the Guggenheim Foundation (2014 Fellowship), the League of Composers/ISCM Composers' Competition (First Prize), the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Contest (honorable mention), the Ohio Arts Council (Individual Excellence Awards), and the Luigi Russolo Competition (Italy). Twice selected to represent the United States abroad (by ISCM and SEAMUS), in both the acoustic and electroacoustic mediums, Kuehn's works have been programmed on numerous concerts, conferences, and festivals internationally. His works have been commissioned by the Anubis Saxophone Quartet, the Barlow Endowment, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Ensemble 21, Ensemble Dal Niente, Flexible Music, Harvard's Fromm Foundation, violist John Graham, clarinetist Marianne Gythfeldt, the Hoff-Barthelson Music School, cellist Craig Hultgren, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), guitarist Dan Lippel, pianist Marilyn Nonken, Perspectives of New Music, saxophonists Jean-Michel Goury and John Sampen, Selmer Paris, the Spektral Quartet, and the Thelema Trio (Beligium). He has been a resident composer with organizations such as the Banff Centre (Canada), the Birmingham Art Music Alliance, the Copland House, The MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. In March of 2013, six of his works were featured at the Vienna Saxfest held at Konservatorium Wien Privatuniversität (Vienna) and in July of 2009 three of his works were featured at World Saxophone Congress XV. 

    Kuehn is currently Professor of Composition at Bowling Green State University, where he served as director of the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music and the Bowling Green New Music Festival from 2007-2010. He received degrees in composition from the Eastman School of Music (Ph.D., MA) and the University of North Texas (BM) and is author of the computer music application nGen. In November of 2016, New Focus Recordings releases Objet/Shadow, a portrait CD of Kuehn's music; other recordings of his works are available on ACA Digital, Centaur (CDCM series), Erol (France), ICMC (Ireland), MSR Classics, and Perspectives of New Music/Open Space."

  • edited December 2016
    Out on a label called FILM :
      Key piano works by two of the foremost progenitors of musical minimalism, Steve Reich and Terry Riley, are explored in new ways by esteemed modern classical artists – including Hauschka and Brandt Brauer Frick.

    Reich’s ‘Six Pianos’ is uniquely interpreted by Gregor Schwallenbach, Hauschka, John Kneel Farah Grandbrothers’ Erol Sarp as well as Brandt Brauer Frick’s Daniel Brandt and Paul Frick, who recorded their individual parts separately in six different studios across Germany, which were then mixed by Jan Brauer and Lukas Vogel. ‘Six Pianos’ fully exploits the latest advances in studio technology, and is thus unlike any other recording of the work: six individual performances are heard at once, rather than one collective performance, each projecting the unique style of a specific performer, resulting in a deep, multi-dimensional listening experience where one is offered multiple paths to follow.

    The performance of Riley’s ‘Keyboard Study No. 1’ is similarly adventurous, pushing indeterminate aspects of the work to the extreme. Ever-lengthening, repeating patterns in the right and left hands, largely shaped by the performer whom Riley allows considerable freedom, play off against one another throughout, resulting in a kind of meditative vortex. Exploring the limits of Riley’s instructions, this performance takes the work in new directions, demonstrating its versatility and adaptability, and imbuing it with a distinctly 2016 feel.

    - Bleep

    After the widely noticed performance at the „Acht Brücken Festival 2016” at Cologne's Philharmonic Hall, Gregor Schwellenbach, Hauschka, Erol Sarp (of „Grandbrothers“), Daniel Brandt, Paul Frick (both of „Brandt Brauer Frick“) and John Kameel Farah will be releasing their interpretation of Steve Reich’s „Six Pianos” as a studio recording via FILM. The re-recording of this piece is an interpretation of Reich’s composition but still far more than just that – it is a modern approach to his idea behind it.

    The basic idea came up at the beginning of the 70s at „The Baldwin Piano & Organ Company“ in New York. During a rehearsal phase Steve Reich spent in this very piano store, the idea emerged of writing a composition for all the grand pianos available to him at the company. By the time of the finished piece, the actual number of pianos had settled down to six, whereof „Six Pianos” developed in 1973.

    On the occasion of his 80th birthday, the six pianists declare their love to Steve Reich and his composition with this release. Shaped by electronic club music as well as their classical education they form „Six Pianos” in dignified modernity. By enriching the composition with six personal sound varieties of contemporary aesthetics, the musicians prove just how well „Six Pianos” stands the test of time.

    What you will be hearing is not the recording from the „Kölner Philharmonie” (Cologne Philharmonics) but the ensemble play of six different grand pianos in six different locations, throughout Germany. Each pianist performed his part on his piano using his typical studio equipment and passed the recording over to the next one. Thus the six characteristic and individual timbres of the performers overlay to create the overall picture – „Six Pianos” the way it should be looked at in 2016.

    „Pianists often are soloists and lone warriors by nature”, as Gregor Schwellenbach once said. But the initiator not only won over solo artists to the greatest possible extent such as Hauschka or John Kameel Farah but also musicians from „Brandt Brauer Frick“ and „Grandbrothers“ as well as their ensemble partners: Jan Brauer mixed „Six Pianos” in the studio while Lukas Vogel provided delays for the b-side.

    „Keyboard Study #1“ by Terry Riley is a worthy b-side opposed to Reich’s composition. The piece is kind of a building set of ever lengthening, repetitive patterns played against each other with the right and left hand displaced. The composition proposes various possible combinations for the performer to choose from and repeat at will. And what the performers have chosen proves Gregor Schwellenbach’s assumption: „Especially Terry Riley’s and Steve Reich’s music are open doors for pianists socialized by pop music and their audience.”


    Sébastien Roux's new album is an ambitious work of musique concrète. Like the title track of his previous album More Songs, Quatuor is based on Beethoven's 10th string quartet.

    The sonic material of the piece is culled from arrangements of the original score by Mathieu Bonilla, for flute, clarinet, cello, French horn, and percussion. Quatuor follows the same structure as the original string quartet, classic and solid, but the sound is profoundly original, in turns woody, rubbed, creaking, jerky or enveloping.

    Quatuor will without a doubt become a milestone in the canon of electroacoustic music.

    - Brocoli.


    Brocoli continues to unearth Michel Chion’s unreleased gems, after the concrete melodrama Tu and the collection of early works Musiques Concrètes 1970-71. This time it focuses on the period from 1988 to 1991, starting with 10 études de musique concrète, a series of obsessive pieces, sounding in turns dry and liquid. While Variations smashes a waltz theme to pieces, Crayonnés Ferroviaires is a work and manifesto, an ode to the tape recorder and to the possibilities offered by the microphone and magnetic tape.

    A bright, lively and bold experimental music.

  • edited January 2017

    - "The Salt Lake Electric Ensemble's 2010 recording of Terry Riley's seminal 1964 masterpiece "In C" was met with critical acclaim from around the world as the first electroacoustic rendition of this minimalist treasure. For the 50th anniversary of the composition of the score, The Salt Lake Electric Ensemble accepted an invitation to collaborate with the renowned Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, resulting in a series of live music and dance concerts and this recording. The music contains a colorful mix of electronic and acoustic instruments including synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, vibraphone, guitars and bass guitars, flugelhorn, double bass, and acoustic drums."

    - "Formed in the summer of 2009, the Salt Lake Electric Ensemble grew out of the desire to interpret Terry Riley’s masterwork “In C” on the laptop computer. The group unites the talents of local visual/multimedia artists, electronic musicians, and rock bands The Rubes and Tolchock Trio.

    Past performances include the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, The Utah ArtsFestival, the University of Utah and BYU."

  • edited January 2017


    - "Can you imagine a piece that combines the athleticism of an uphill marathon run on a continuously steepening course with an ethereal, otherworldly sound that takes you out of body? The athleticism in this piece is a non-stop circular breathing run for close to an hour! And what is being circular breathed? A highly evolved, gorgeous multiphonic world shimmering though a continuous breath tremolo! This incredible duality between the physical and ethereal makes for a musical and emotional experience unlike any other. Before I coalesced my identity as a composer-performer, there was a period in the 1970s when I asked a number of composers to write works for me. Of the solo flute pieces from that time, Three Weeks in Cincinnati in December is by far the most unique and indeed the very best."           

    - Robert Dick

    "Three Weeks in Cincinnati in December is the last of four compositions I wrote in the late 70s for solo instruments. They all feature a focus on a specific instrumental technique that was both unusual and difficult. Three Weeks… was exceptional in that it featured three such techniques taking place simultaneously: circular breathing for close to one hour, a continuous diaphragm tremolo, and a succession of beautiful yet very challenging multiphonics. The piece was conceived of and written in close collaboration with the extraordinary flute virtuoso, Robert Dick. Without his involvement I would never have dared to write such a piece and without him it never could have been performed. The intent of all the pieces in the group of four was to explore the special tension attained through the intense physical and mental focus demanded of the performer. This results in sounds I feel have a very complex, not entirely predictable, beauty."                                 

    - Bill Hellermann

    Robert Dick

    - is a musical visionary, a creative virtuoso in the tradition of Paganini and Hendrix, artists who redefined both the music and the technique of their instruments. Dick has released over thirty CDs of original solo and chamber music. Improviser, composer, author, teacher, and inventor, he performs worldwide. His solo performances have been likened to the experience of hearing a full orchestra.

    It is a rare composition for flute written anywhere in the world today that does not bear Dick’s influence. His impact on flute playing is significant, made through countless masterclasses, the seminal books The Other Flute, Tone Development Through Extended Techniques, and Circular Breathing for the Flutist, plus two volumes of the etudes, Flying Lessons. Instructional CDs and DVDs and his series of instructional videos on YouTube illuminate his ideas and music, and empower other musicians to transform their playing.

    Dick teaches at New York University and the City University of New York Graduate Center. Hemaintains an active private teaching studio, works with flutists the world over using Skype, and conducts his annual Robert Dick Residential Studio in New York. Students in the Studio study with Mr. Dick for two full days each week from September through December, going into depth in contemporary techniques and repertoire, including improvisation and composition.

    William Hellermann
    (b. 1939) graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Mechanical Engineering and arrived in New York City in 1962, where he performed in the Village as Guillermo Brillante, flamenco guitarist. Following a series of minor miracles he became a composition student of Stefan Wolpe’s, got a DMA in Composition at Columbia
    University, did post-graduate studies with Morton Feldman at the Chock Full of Nuts at 116th & Broadway, and wound up in SoHo exhibiting sculpture, scores, and photographs, as well as composing and performing. In the 1970s he was a curator at PS 1, The Clocktower, and the Alternative Museum, where he launched the first exhibitions of sound sculpture and audio art—in the process bringing into usage the term “Sound Art.” Among his many awards is a Prix de Rome from The American Academy in Rome.
    - New World Records

  • edited January 2017
    Sir BN proudly presents album of the year 2017 !

    Commissions by Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, David Crowell, Tawnie Olson and Paola Prestini

    Vision Into Art Records 2017

    Ian David Rosenbaum

    - "Praised for his “excellent” and “precisely attuned” performances by the New York Times, percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum has developed a musical breadth far beyond his years. He made his Kennedy Center debut in 2009 and later that year garnered a special prize created for him at the Salzburg International Marimba Competition.

    Mr. Rosenbaum joined the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program in 2012 as only the second percussionist they have selected in their history. He has appeared at the Bay Chamber, Bridgehampton, Chamber Music Northwest, Music@Menlo, Norfolk, and Yellow Barn festivals.

    Highlights of the 2016-2017 season include the world premiere of Quixote, an evening- length theatrical work with music by Amy Beth Kirsten and direction by Mark DeChiazza, a visit to the Adam Chamber Music Festival in New Zealand, and world premieres by Andy Akiho, Christopher Cerrone, Thomas Kotcheff, and Polina Nazaykinskaya, among others.

    In the fall of 2016, Mr. Rosenbaum will release his first solo album, Memory Palace, on VIA Records. It features five commissions from the last several years and includes collaborations with Brooklyn Rider and Gina Izzo.

    Mr. Rosenbaum is a member of Sandbox Percussion, HOWL, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Foundry, and Novus NY. He has recorded for the Bridge, Innova, Naxos, and Starkland labels and is on the faculty of the Dwight School in Manhattan. Mr. Rosenbaum endorses Vic Firth sticks and mallets."

    Ian Rosenbaum performs Christopher Cerrone's Memory Palace

    Celestial Sphere, by David Crowell

    Sooo Brilliant !
  • edited January 2017

    Else Marie Pade

    EMP RMX 333 – a tribute to Else Marie Pade (1924-2016)

    “Etude I” consists of a number of very different sounds of different timbre and duration. The first sound is set in motion, is caught up by the next, which is caught up by the next, etc., in a powerful crescendo. “Etude I” is allowed to run out under its own steam since the most persistent sound ends by dying out in its own reverberation. It is a multi-layered tape echo that causes the process.
    - Else Marie Pade

    'The first sound is set in motion, is caught up by the next, which is caught up by the next, etc., in a powerful crescendo.' In 1961, Else Marie Pade (1924–2016) wrote the tape composition Etude, which was met with greater excitement among reviewers than electronic music in general at the time. The length of the piece is 333 seconds, and as a tribute to Else Marie Pade 11 artists have remixed Etude on this CD – all 11 remixes with the same length as the original. The results are greatly diverse, but all show the inspiration from Danish electronic music's greatest pioneer, who insisted that all sounds are equally valid.
    - Dacapo Records - (with much more interesting reading)

    . . . "For 5 minutes and 33 seconds – that is, a total of 333 seconds – is such a spectacular number that simply considering it makes us aware how each second counts; in the work as well as in life. The number also gives us a hint of the enormous accuracy that was required to work with electronic sound sources, as was the case with this work too. And the figure had a meaning too in Else Marie’s own life; for she was just 46 days short of having lived 333 days exactly a hundred times.

    Hence the title of the album: EMP RMX 333, where EMP is her initials – or the abbreviation for electromagnetic pulse; RMX is the three consonants in the word remix; and 333 is the number of seconds per track on the album – or the numerological figure for the union of mind, body and spirit that says we are all one, and that everything (including all sounds) runs in parallel.

    EMP RMX 333 sounds like a secret code from a remote time. It is like the inscription on a diode. And it could be the serial number on an electronic apparatus. But is also evokes associations with the identity numbers that were tattooed on the concentration camp prisoners. Or could it instead be the pet name for a humanoid robot from the 22nd century?

    So, the album is now a reality with, first, the original work and then 11 very different remixes or new compositions inspired by the work. As We Like We men-tion in a note on their contribution, and which is also mentioned in the introduction to the work, Else Marie Pade wrote a programme note when the work was released, saying among other things: “The first sound is set in motion, is caught up by the next, which is caught up by the next, etc., in a powerful crescendo.” That is the spirit in which the album is created: the original work was the first sound that is caught up by the next sound in the form of the next remix, which is in turn caught up by the next remix, and so on.

    Thanks to every single contributor on this tribute album for the musical will to pay tribute to Else Marie, for commitment, for dialogue, for inventiveness and not least for responsiveness to the many potentials of the original."

    And to you, Else Marie: Thanks for everything."

    - Henrik Marstal

    I've been reluctant to go for this album, probably because of some reservations about other artists fiddling around with the old master's work.

    - These reservations vanished after the first spin . . . It's respectful, very moving and utterly brilliant.

    - One of the significant albums of the year 2016 . . . Reopening my 2016 list ? - I really should  . . .

  • edited January 2017

    -  "Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje (1973) is quite a remarkable musician, singer, improviser and composer and Crepuscular Hour is quite an extraordinary piece of music, written as it is for the unusual line-up of three choirs, three pairs of noise musicians and church organ. It´s a one hour piece to be performed in a cathedral or similar with musicians surrounding the audience. The room will be filled with sound in an intense and dramatic, but also hypnotic and meditative hour, where the voices blend with the distortion, the noise sometimes taking over, and the organ eventually hoisting the music to a new dramaturgic level. The piece is inspired by the phenomena ‘crepuscular rays’, which is when rays of sunlight stream from one point through gaps in clouds or other obstacles. The visual design of this concert is a play on the phenomena, with the light being filtered by the obstacles and musicians in the room. All texts are from the Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient books with over 50 texts that were discovered in upper Egypt in 1945. These texts have provided a major re-evaluation of early Christian history. Crepuscular Hour was premiered at the Ultima Festival in Oslo in 2010, and the next realisation of the piece was at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2012, where this recording was done.

    The concert was beautifully filmed and directed by Kathy Hinde and can be found on the DVD that comes with both the CD and 2LP editions. This also includes a 5.1 surround sound option."

    - Rune Grammofon

    Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje

    - "Composer and performer (born Dec. 29th 1973 in Trondheim, Norway), finished composition studies at the Norwegian State Academy of Music in Oslo in 2000. Her music is performed worldwide by performers such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, Klangforum Wien, Oslo Sinfonietta, The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Fretwork, TM+, Cikada, Mivos and Bozzini string quartets, Quatuor Renoir, crashEnsemble, Pearls for Swine Experience, Torben Snekkestad, Marianne Beate Kielland, SPUNK, Frode Haltli, POING and many more. Portrait concerts with her music has been heard in Toronto and Vienna, she has been composer in residence at festivals like Other Minds in San Francisco, Trondheim Chamber Music Festival, Nordland Music Festival in Bodø, Avanti! Summer Festival in Finland, Båstad Chamber Music Festival and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

    Ratkje has received awards such as the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris for composers below 30 years of age, the Norwegian Edvard prize (work of the year) twice, second prize at the Russolo Foundation, and in 2001 she was the first composer ever to receive the Norwegian Arne Nordheim prize. Her solo album Voice, made in collaboration with Jazzkammer, got a Distinction Award at Prix Ars Electronica in 2003. In 2013 she was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize for her vocal work.

    Ratkje is active as a singer/voice user and electronics performer and engineer, as a soloist or in groups such as SPUNK and BRAK RUG. She has been soloist with orchestras such as The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Klangforum Wien, Avanti! Chamber Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Other collaborations are with Jaap Blonk, Joëlle Léandre, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins, Stephen O’Malley, Lasse Marhaug, POING and many more. Ratkje has performed her own music for films, dance and theatre, installations, and numerous other projects. Visual art or text material is often a part of her own work, in installations or staged works. She has made large gallery works with SPUNK, she has made music for a radio play by Elfriede Jelinek, and in 2003, she played a part in her own opera, based on the texts from the Nag Hammadi Library."


    - "The title track of the EP, "Lean Back and Release," acclaimed for being written to "superb effect" by The Wire, was first performed professionally at the 2014 Bang on a Can Marathon by violinist Adrianna Mateo, for which Mateo was praised as "triumphant" by Time Out New York. The piece is driven by a very gradual descent for the violin in range, imagining the violinist steadily “leaning back” and finally “releasing” the distinct low register of the violin. Two accompanying pre-recorded violin tracks accompany the live violin in order to propel this descent. The recording was engineered and mixed by Andrew McKenna Lee, and mastered by Greg Kalember.

    The title track is followed by a more recent work, "Shapeshifter," originally written for the Dutch duo of violinist Monica Germino and sound engineer Frank van der Weij. Premiered in April 2015 in The Hague and Amsterdam, "Shapeshifter" is motivated by the concept of control and losing it. It is driven by the fact that with the duo, Frank is typically not seen visually, and therefore the idea of him controlling Monica’s sound and gradually letting go of that control is highlighted throughout the piece, and for Monica to gradually “shape-shift” to a new and divergent sound."
    - New Amsterdam  -  Emusic

    Molly Joyce:
    "'Lean Back and Release' and 'Shapeshifter' represent some of my first explorations into composing for acoustic instruments with accompanying electronics, and specifically how these instruments' sounds can transform electro-acoustically. With both works I was striving for a clear form that is driven by the changing range of the solo violinist, and how that change can be driven by an electronic backing track that is also derived from the acoustic violin.

    Both pieces are also very much inspired by the violinists they are written for, and were written to challenge and showcase Adrianna and Monica's talents in new and unexpected ways."

    - Really superb violin playing . . .
    Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble's second recording, Hushers, posits a new paradigm for a capella vocal music, in which text setting and linear structure exists side by side with works that use the voice as a multi-timbred instrument. In music by Kaija Saariaho, Kate Soper, Warren Enström, and Giacinto Scelsi, Quince delivers strong performances of music that fuse the ever present warmth of the human voice with compositional aesthetics more typically heard in instrumental works.

    - "The opening bars of Warren Enström’s Hushers on Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble’s new release emphasize extended fricative sounds that could be mistaken for a percussion ensemble. When we finally hear sung notes emerge, they are first accompanied by hisses and shushes, and the pitches themselves push up against each other in dissonant intervals. With extended techniques woven into the fabric of a timbre and sound driven texture, Hushers squarely inhabits a 21st century vocal aesthetic. Kate Soper’s Songs for Nobody returns to traditional text setting, setting work by American poet, Thomas Merton. Written as the result of a commission from the Museum of Biblical Art in New York, Soper endeavored to capture Merton’s faith in the purity of the inner life. Saariaho’s From the Grammar of Dreams sets excerpts from The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath for two singers, embodying the instability of the protoganist’s struggles with issues of life and death, madness and solace. In the second movement, each singer in the duo alternates between athletic singing and forceful, rhythmic recitation of the text, creating an unsettling texture where song and speech are unbroken even as each individual performer leaps back and forth between roles. This alternation culminates in the earthy fourth movement, as the two singers hocket between each other in spats of heavy breathing and swooping, plaintive figures. Giacinto Scelsi’s compositional process was unique — he considered himself a “receiver” of sounds, and recorded improvisations to hand off to a colleague to notate and orchestrate. On Sauh I-IV, Scelsi uses phenomes instead of language setting, lending the piece a ritualistic, chanting quality (fitting given Scelsi’s fascination with Hindu and Buddhist ritual). The relationship between Sauh I-II and Sauh III-IV is close — the first two duos provide the seed material for the fleshed out quartet versions. After a journey through the intensity of the Plath and Merton text settings, the disc closes in a world of abstract syllables and non-semantic meaning, as it began."
    - New Focus Recordings 2017 - emusic

    - "With the precision and flexibility of modern chamber musicians, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble specializes in experimental repertoire that is changing the paradigm of contemporary vocal music. Described as “a new force of vocal excellence and innovation” by The Brooklyn Rail, Quince continually pushes the boundaries of traditional vocal ensemble literature. As dedicated advocates of new music, Quince regularly commissions new works, providing a wider exposure for the music of living composers, and supports the efforts of concert series and universities who strive to incorporate contemporary repertoire into their programming. Quince has recently been seen on Vicky Chow’s Contagious Sounds Series,’s John Cage Festival in Chicago, on the Philip Glass: Music with Friends benefit concert at the Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, and at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE. Comprised of vocalists Liz Pearse, Kayleigh Butcher, Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, and Carrie Henneman Shaw, Quince thrives on unique musical challenges and genre-bending contemporary repertoire. Visit for more information about upcoming events."

    - Center For New Music

  • edited February 2017
    Brand new from New World Records and featuring the amazing baritone,
    Thomas Buckner:

    Thomas Buckner, baritone; Joseph Kubera, piano; FLUX Quartet

    - "Michael Byron (b. 1953) has long been committed to writing virtuosic instrumental music of contrapuntal complexity and perpetual variation, but with The Celebration, a song cycle for baritone and piano quintet, he ventured into unfamiliar territory: He had not previously composed for voice, the primary vehicle for articulating the wonder of the human condition. Consisting of four songs (words by Anne Tardos) and two instrumental interludes, The Celebration explores the ambiguity, the disorientation, and ultimately the joyful paradox of formulating an identity in a world of constant change. Like most of Byron's work, the composition is built on a carefully designed structure that ensures the constant and measured transformation of musical elements.

    Just as Byron creates a new context for Tardos's poetry, so does the presence of the poetic voice transform Byron's music. The instrumental lines, for example, assume an intensely lyrical guise as they anticipate, echo, mirror, and contrast the vocal line. Also, the contrapuntal and rhythmic complexity - a hallmark of Byron's style - seems here to have emerged from a fragmented chorale of simple melodies that have been enriched by increasingly rhapsodic ornamentation, all of which has been meticulously notated. The unexpected divergence and convergence of the vocal and instrumental lines produce what Byron calls "inevitable synchronicities," that mysterious circumstance of individual voices immersed in eternal dialogue. With The Celebration, Byron and Tardos provide a rich opportunity for us to acknowledge and celebrate the divine counterpoint between voice and instruments, poetry and music, individual and humanity."

    - "Michael Byron (b. 1953, Chicago) grew up in Los Angeles, and in 1971, became a pupil of James Tenney, and later, Richard Teitelbaum. His musical life was further enriched by his meeting of Peter Garland, Harold Budd, Lou Harrison, Robert Ashley, and David Rosenboom.

    Byron’s music tends to be restrained, avoiding both drama and extravagance. It is also harmonically rich, rhythmically detailed, and exclusively virtuosic.

    His music has been released on Neutral Records, Poon Village Records, Tellus, Meridian Records, Koch Records, Cold Blue Records, and New World Records. He was the publisher and editor of the journal Pieces Anthologies, and editor of the Journal of Experimental Aesthetic. His music is published by Frog Peak Music."

    Oberlin Conservatory Contemporary Music Ensemble:Tim Weiss Adam Tendler Peter Evans
    Oberlin Percussion Group: Michael Rosen Ensemble Luna Nova Helen Kim Ted Gurch Dorothy Martirano Franklin Cox. Oberlin Conservatory Wind Ensemble

    - "Composer Ross Feller’s X/Winds contains multitudes. The work on this album is characterized by raw, ecstatic layers of material that percolate with refined, virtuosic gestures. Feller lets the contradictions in these elements animate the music, their clashes generating the energy of the pieces. Throughout, there is an emphasis on a deep-seated sense of resonance, and tactile and physical attributes of sound as they are experienced. This is muscular Modernism at its most immediate and urgent, in the grand tradition of Charles Ives and Henry Brant.In “Triple Threat,” labyrinthine patterns are mapped onto various musical parameters, then disrupted by Gilles Deleuze’s and Felix Guattari’s three fractured lines: break, crack, and rupture. In places, parts are obscured through masking techniques such as pitch and timbral overlapping and in others, sheer force pushes elements into the foreground and shoves others to the back.

    More meditative and less forceful, “Still Adrift” nonetheless reflects Feller’s interest in juxtaposition and sound as a physical force. Processed and resynthesized piano samples to amplify the live piano’s resonance and suggest the sense of a virtual, acoustic space.

    The title track – blown to great heights by the Oberlin Conservatory Wind Ensemble – navigates the space between these two ends of the spectrum, conjuring mayhem through webs of textural densities, and employing conflicts between various contradictory impulses that build to a frenzy, eventually leaving only resonant trails and air.

    A Chicago native, Feller began in high school to systematically explore the boundaries of his saxophone through improvisation, and experiment with various compositional techniques. He co-founded the avant-garde, jazz-rock ensemble Dot Dot Dot, and then went on to study composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He currently teaches at Kenyon College, Ohio.

    “Feller sees sound itself as a primary material of his music, no matter how rigorously he structures pitch and rhythm. Sound is bent and smeared, layers bleed into one another and then detach. Instruments overlap and create morphing meta-instruments. All this is guided both by a scrupulous ear and by the metaphysical programs animating the flow… Feller proves that the idea of exploring new worlds, of breaking molds isn’t dead at all. Modernism for him is a tradition of freedom and experiment, mixed with an intellectual armature of rigor and paradox. For listeners who have grown up with indie rock, free improv, industrial noise, this will be familiar terrain. Likewise those who like their art with a dash of conceptualism and philosophy will find plenty to satisfy their appetite. Dig in."

    – Robert Carl, composer and music critic. at Innova Recordings

    Ross Feller
    - "Is an accomplished composer, theorist, saxophonist, improviser, and educator. Over the past twenty years he has developed a unique musical vocabulary that features raw, ecstatic layers of material that percolate with refined, virtuosic gestures, often integrated with performance gestures. Feller grew up near Chicago, where he came into contact with composers and performers from a thriving avant-garde jazz scene, including the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) and an equally thriving new music scene, including New Music Chicago. While still in high school Feller began to systematically explore the boundaries of his instrument through improvisation, and experiment with various compositional techniques. He co-founded the Chicago-based, avant-garde, jazz-rock ensemble Dot Dot Dot, and later, Double Edge Dance with choreographer Kora Radella. . . . . ."

  • edited March 2017

    Grant Cutler - Self Portrait

    Grant Cutler - Chris Campbell - Michelle Kinney - Jacqueline Ultan - Sara Pajunen
    Jef Sundquist - Michael Lewis - Aby Wolf

    - "We tend to think of the past as what happened, the present as what’s happening right now and the future as what’s to come, but the truth is that we are constantly engaged in the work of refashioning and recontextualizing the past. For composer and musician Grant Cutler, that process is at the center of his work.

    Self Portrait is Cutler’s third album for innova, following 2012 in 2011 and his collaboration with composer and producer Chris Campbell (Schooldays Over ) in 2013. As with those albums, the mechanism of composition is not effaced from the final work, but integral to it. Working with acclaimed musicians including Michael Lewis (Bon Iver, Andrew Bird, Gayngs), Aby Wolf, Sarah Pajunen, Michelle Kinney and Jacqueline Ultan (Jelloslave) and others, Cutler recorded artists improvising to delayed recordings of themselves, a kind of sonic déja vu where memory and experience blend together in an evolving present. Slowly evolving colors wash over the listener; as though placing a mic in front of a fresh Rothko.

    In this way, this Self Portrait becomes a portrait not just of Cutler but of all the musicians involved, and even becomes an act of memoir, an active reimagining of the self. Weaving together the capsules of time created by the musicians, Cutler pulls the tangent together into a long, circling recollection. This allows the music to become landscape, story, and document all at once.

    At first, the music here might sound spare, but repeated experiences with it peel back layers and reveal the beating human heart beneath it. Sound becomes a memory, cut up and rearranged in the retelling, then recorded again as a new memory, beginning the process over again."

    Innova Recordings - Emusic

    Grant Cutler

  • edited March 2017


    The Lightbulb Ensemble: Maurissa Dorn, Dave Douglas, Carla Fabrizio, Lucas Helland, James Iwamasa, Sarang Kim, Lydia Martin, Keenan Pepper, Scott Siler, Wayne Vitale, Sarah Willner; Brian Baumbusch, musical director

    Brian Baumbusch (b. 1987) is a composer/performer based in Northern California working at the nexus between contemporary American and contemporary Indonesian music. Wayne Vitale (b. 1956) is a composer and educator who has long been inspired by the music of Bali, Indonesia. He has studied and collaborated with many of Bali's finest musicians and ensembles.

    Mikrokosma (2014-15) is an exploration in sound and light of the "microcosms" of Bali-Hindu cosmology, where the universe is reflected and re-created in all its parts. The underlying concepts of the piece, revealed in form, proportions, meters (every movement is partially or entirely in 11), colors, sequence, and symmetry, are a direct interpretation of the pengider buana, the "turning of the universe." This graphic, spatial conception appears in a 19th-century Balinese treatise on cosmology called the Prakempa. It may appear esoteric to outsiders, but the graphic is known to most gamelan musicians, every priest, and a good number of others in Bali. It informs not only religious practice, but day-to-day practical matters such as the layout of a home. The pengider buana associates the 11 directions (N, E, S, W; the points in between, plus up, down, and center) with colors, gods, Sanskrit letters - and tones of the gamelan. Music, by Balinese reckoning, is part of the basic structure of the universe. In this way, the piece is divided into 11 movements, which are reflective of one another; the first six movements were written alternately between Baumbusch and Vitale, and the later five movements are reinterpretations by Baumbusch and Vitale of each other's pieces composed in the first half.

    The work is a cross-cultural endeavor. Mikrokosma utilizes musical techniques and concepts that fuse or juxtapose Balinese and Western new-music traditions, particularly American minimalist music and its many offshoots. One of these fusions takes place in the realm of timbre and tuning. The instruments were conceived, constructed, and tuned by Baumbusch. Although he started from a Balinese conception in shaping the basic scale, recent research on the inharmonic partials (overtones) of metal keys and gong chimes informed the fine-tuning process, yielding a unique scale and sonic world.

    - New World Records

    The Lightbulb Ensemble (LBE)
    LBE at Emusers
    -  "is a new music percussion ensemble that champions experimental music, instrument building, and contemporary gamelan. Their “refreshingly innovative performances challenge conventional notions of how gamelan music should sound” (SF Classical Voice), and they are “as cutting edge as cutting edge gets, exhuberantly complex, maddeningly beautiful, and as intoxicating as a drug” (The Washington Post). The ensemble emerged from the culture of new music at Mills College and the longstanding artistic exchange between Bali and the US fostered by Gamelan Sekar Jaya. LBE performs on steel metallophones, wooden marimbas, and other instruments designed, tuned, and built by Brian Baumbusch, LBE founder and director. Performing only new repertoire, the group presents in-house compositions and collaborates with other artists of the new music community, including the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the JACK Quartet, Jessika Kenney and Eyvind Kang, and The Center for Contemporary Music, among others."

  • Thanks for this.
    Here's a video of the complete work:

    - "After great anticipation and lovely previews, we are thrilled to present you our new album, “First.” Written by Ryan Lott of Son Lux over five frenzied winter weeks,  and produced by Thomas Bartlett, the record is the debut release on our very own Communal Table Records. Please visit our online store for easiest access to “First” and our previous records.
    “First” was conceptualized by the members of yMusic well before any of its music was written. After commissioning songwriters on our first record, and utilizing experimental production on our second, “First” is an attempt to build a record of chamber music which emulates the flow and structure of a rock record: 11 tracks, 40 minutes, Side A/Side B. 
    To further this concept, yMusic chose to work with a single creative team, in this case, a composer paired with a producer. Instead of tasking the composer with creating an entire album’s work in isolation, this pairing allowed for feedback, encouragement, and redirection. The album was made quickly- two days of rehearsal, two days of tracking, one day of mixing- and then set aside while we toured with Jose Gonzalez and Ben Folds throughout 2016. When the dust settled and we came back to the project, we found we had created something really special. A true collaboration in the best sense, it’s greater than the sum of its parts."

    - "Hailed by Performance Today’s Fred Child as “one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music,” yMusic is a group of six New York City instrumentalists flourishing in the overlap between the pop and classical worlds. Their virtuosic execution and unique configuration (string trio, flute, clarinet, and trumpet) has attracted the attention of high profile collaborators—from Ben Folds to Dirty Projectors to Jose Gonzalez—and inspired an expanding repertoire of original works by some of today’s foremost composers, including Nico Muhly and Andrew Norman.

     Their 2016-17 season will be their most high-profile to date, featuring yMusic’s Carnegie Hall debut, a groundbreaking new collaborative album with composer Son Lux and producer Thomas (Doveman) Bartlett, and premieres of a half-dozen newly-commissioned works, including a major new piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, and MacArthur grantee Chris Thile’s first instrumental work written without his own performative element. 

     Other season highlights include European concert dates in collaboration with Anohni (formerly Antony & the Johnsons), the gut-wrenching, transgendered chanteuse, and the development film project in collaboration with choreographer Bill T. Jones and composer Marcos Balter; part documentary and part concert DVD, the film will trace the events which saw Bill T. Jones coming out of retirement to dance for the first time in public in 9 years.

    Finally, capping off a little more than a season of touring with famed songwriter Ben Folds, yMusic and Ben are releasing a 10-inch live concert record, featuring collaboratively-written songs, favorite live improvisations, and chamber music.  To date, yMusic has released two full-length solo albums, 2014’s Balance Problems and 2011’s Beautiful MechanicalTime Out New York’s #1 Classical Record of that Year

     In addition to performing their own repertoire, yMusic serves as a ready-made collaborative unit for bands and songwriters, and have lent their distinctive sound to dozens of albums, most recently, Ben Folds’ 2015 release “So there.”  Other recent collaborations include recording and tours with José González, The Tallest Man on EarthDirty ProjectorsThe Staves, Bon Iver, and Blake Mills."

  • edited January 2018

    Composers: Caroline Shaw, Hans Thomalia, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen
    Anna Thorvaldsdottir, David T. Little
    Santa Radniece, Lewis Spratlan

    - "A substantial double album that never loses sight of the human voice at its heart, Seven Responses from Philadelphia’s superlative choir, The Crossing, began as a project to explore the topic of suffering. Seven extraordinary composers were asked to respond to one of the cantatas of Dieterich Buxtehude’s 1680 oratorio, Membra Jesu Nostri (The Limbs of Jesus). Performed by The Crossing and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the resulting pieces are diverse and uniquely personal yet together create a whole body of work that has an uncanny logic and leaves a powerful impression. One to remember.

    Hailing from Denmark, Latvia, Germany, Iceland and the USA and including two Pulitzer Prize winners (Caroline Shaw and Lewis Spratlan), the composers have produced works that cover a broad swath of styles. Hans Thomalla calls on the wind instruments to play multiphonics, blurring our perception as the choir shimmers around their distorted pitches, while Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s piece moves from violent string effects to prayerful contemplation in a fully synthesized color palette.

    David T. Little creates a sonic bath of low, reverberant tones and chants, broken by the hammering of brake drums and the power of an electric guitar and drums piercing the mystical atmosphere. And Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen -- who passed away just two days after the premiere of his “Ad cor” -- crafts three movements that come together, overlap, and form a whole in the final movement, in an astonishing amalgamation of form and content.

    Lewis Spratlan teams with poet Paul Kane to create a modern cantata that recalls Ancient Greek tragedy in its treatment of the chorus and soloists. Here, ICE is lush and descriptive, providing the aural backdrop on which the story of the suffering, dying earth is played out in lyric, sometimes sorrowful, at other times exhilarating, colors. Hope, warning, and lament, all wrapped in his facile, powerful musical language."

    - Innova Recordings 

    - "The Crossing is a professional choir dedicated to expanding the contemporary choral music experience through commissions, collaborations, community, and performances that are characterized by a distinctive unity of sound and spirit. . . . . .

    - The David T Little track (Track 1 CD 2)
    (Posted multible times by me when the album was Q2 album of the week.)

    Alltogether an album with album of the year potential.
  • edited December 2017

    Composers: Kinan Azmeh, Guy Barash, Missy Mazzoli, Raven Chacon
    Armando Bayolo, Cornelius Dufallo

    - "Violinist and composer Cornelius Dufallo began his “Journaling” concert series in 2009 as a way to document the work of living composers and contribute to a repertoire of 21st century violin music. In 2012, innova Recordings released Journaling, the first album created out of these concerts and now comes the follow-up, Journaling 2.

    Bringing together elements of electronics, extended techniques, chance techniques, and digital interactivity, the pieces here were composed by Kinan Azmeh, Guy Barash, Missy Mazzoli, Raven Chacon, Armando Bayolo, and Dufallo himself. Azmeh’s “How Many Would It Take” draws inspiration from the composer’s long visit to his home country of Syria; Bayolo’s “Tisch” takes off from Bach’s “Toccata in F Major”; and Dufallo’s “Reverie” expresses the unpredictable and often contradictory thoughts encountered in dreams."

    - Innova Recordings

    Cornelius Dufallo

    - "is an innovative composer and violinist, and a dedicated advocate of contemporary music. For the past two decades Dufallo has performed and promoted new music, as a soloist and as a collaborator. Dufallo has been a memeber of several notable ensembles, including the Flux Quartet (1996-2001), Ne(x)tworks (2003-2011), and ETHEL (2005-2012). Currently he is on the roster of the VisionIntoArt program, and he performs as a member of the Secret Quartet.

    In the performance of his own work, Dufallo was described as “an intensely introspective thinker who is committed to visual communication as he is to the purely musical” (Washington Post). His work with musical technology illustrates “how much amplification can expand the instrument’s palette. Far from robbing the violin of its beauty, electronics add textural elements and graduations of timbre that the acoustic instrument cannot approximate” (The New York Times)."

  • edited April 2017
    - "Black Mountain Songs is the debut album from the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus, out March 31.

    This expansive choral work celebrates and rekindles the utopian spirit of Black Mountain College, where iconic artists including Willem de Kooning, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, Josef and Anni Albers, Franz Kline, and Robert Rauschenberg converged and collaborated in the mid 20thCentury. Black Mountain Songs features works by Bryce Dessner (who also created the project), Richard Reed Parry, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw
    Jherek Bischoff, John King, Nico Muhly, Aleksandra Vrebalov, and a collaboration between Dessner and Tim Hecker. Black Mountain Songs is the studio recording of an evening-length stage work of the same name, which premiered to acclaim in BAM’s 2014 Next Wave Festival. The project was co-commissioned by the Chorus and BAM, co-curated by Dessner and Parry (of the rock bands The National and Arcade Fire), and produced by the Chorus. Dessner, Parry, and Shaw, along with the Chorus, perform on the album."
    - New Amsterdam - Emusic

    Brooklyn Youth Chorus

    - "is a collective of young singers and vocal ensembles re-envisioning choral music performance through artistic innovation, collaboration, and their distinctively beautiful sound.

    With an incredibly versatile range and repertoire, Brooklyn Youth Chorus combines intensive voice training and music study with exceptional performance experiences. Our artistic excellence and achievement has made us the go-to chorus for leading New York orchestras, popular recording artists and arts presenters.

    The Chorus’s trademarked Cross-Choral Training® method prepares singers with the skills and technique necessary to perform music from a variety of styles—classical to contemporary—traditional to commercial. With an emphasis on commissioning, the Chorus’s repertoire includes more than 70 original works and world premieres.

    Founded in 1992 by Artistic Director Dianne Berkun Menaker, Brooklyn Youth Chorus’s after-school program encompasses over 500 students in multi-level training divisions and advanced performing ensembles. In addition, students can enroll in a full complement of enrichment classes, individual lessons and summer camp.

    All students perform in the Chorus’s annual concert series, and our advanced ensembles appear regularly at prestigious venues—from Carnegie Hall to the Barbican Theatre. Advanced singers also enjoy opportunities for touring and recording"


  • edited April 2017
    Here is the third release in the collaboration between the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Alpha. This time the musicians of the ensemble and their conductor Matthias Pintscher focus on American music: Intégrales by Edgar Varèse (1924), Music for Wind Instruments by John Cage (1938), Instruments I for six instruments by Morton Feldman (1974), Elliott Carter’s Concerto for clarinet and ensemble (1996), Steve Reich’s WTC 9/11 for string quartet (2009-10), Sean Shepherd’s Blur (2011), and David Fulmer’s Within his bending sickle’s compass come for solo horn and ensemble (2014-15). More than ninety years of creativity and musical profusion at the heart of the global city that the Ensemble Intercontemporain celebrates today.
    This double album is released to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the EIC: forty years of discoveries and of promotion of contemporary music at the highest level of performance.

    - Outhere / Alpha Classics


    Matthias Pintscher

    Mathias Pintscher at Emusers
  • Out on Tapu Records:

    “Sound Years” is a Michel Banabila sampler, segueing selected tracks from ten previous albums along with one new work into two gentle, chilled-out continuous pieces. This has the diversity and variation of a various artists chillout compilation, but impressively, it’s all the work of one man (and a couple of guest appearances).
    Smoothness is the order of the day here. Gentle piano melodies, occasional plaintive guitar strums, and found sounds including the classics such as falling rain ambiences and tropical birds, blend with the mellowest flavours of electronica chill-out such as the deftly twisted and re-pitched vocal samples in “Earth Visitor”. Other sections are more pared-down, simple warm drones, deep vocal sustains and cultured resonance.
    The second side opens with a slightly more cinematic bent- a real orchestra warming up alongside a virtual one, broad sci-fi choral pads and robotic noises have us floating outside a spaceship. The ambience gradually gets more down-to-earth, with plaintive violin lines (from guest Oene Van Geel I think) and micro-cut vocal snippets glitching away in “Radio Spelonk”. . . . . .

    - Stuart Bruce / CHAIN D.L.K
    - Emusic - Beta

    Michel Banabila
  • edited April 2017
    Steve REICH : Violin Phase
    Jesper NORDIN : Calm Like A Bomb
    Bernard PARMEGIANI : Pulsion-Miroirs
    Bernard PARMEGIANI : Jeu de cellules
    Bernard PARMEGIANI : Végétal
    Daniel TOSI : Gala II
    Georges APERGHIS : The Only Line

    - "Diego Tosi joined the Ensemble intercontemporain as a violinist in October 2006. He performs as a soloist in the world’s greatest concert halls and plays from the repertoires of all periods.

    He has made several CDs on the “Solstice” label, including works by Ravel, Scelsi, Berio and Boulez, which have won major awards.

    More recently he has recorded the entire œuvre of virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate and has just received Del Duca prize awarded by the French Academy of Fine Arts and the SACEM’s Enesco prize.

    Having been the unanimous choice for first prize at the Paris Conservatoire (CNSMDP), where he studied under Jean-Jacques Kantorow and Jean Lenert, he went on to train in Bloomington (USA) with Miriam Fried before winning the postgraduate Concours des Avant-scènes at the Paris Conservatoire.

    During his training Diego Tosi entered the most prestigious international competitions, including the Paganini in Genoa, the Rodrigo in Madrid, the Valention Bucchi in Rome, winning every time. As a young musician he also studied under Alexandre Bendersky and won many awards in various international competitions, including those of Wattrelos, Germans Claret and Moscow.

    Since 2010, he’s the artistic director of the festival Tautavel en musique."

    - Disques du Solstice

  • UNE SÉRIE DE REFLETS… / 2017 ~ version instrumentale & partition concrète

    by Lionel Marchetti & Decibel New Music Ensemble

     Lionel Marchetti
    - is a French composer of concrete music
    an improviser (electronics, various analogic systems with modified speakers, REVOX reel-to-reel recorder…)
    as well as a visual-sound artist, a writer and a poet

    Whether his music is composed or improvised
    the body has an important role (Lionel Marchetti danced with the university company Relyanse between 1986 and 1991)  

    Decibel New Music Ensemble 
    - is a Perth-based group focused on combining electronic and acoustic music in performance and composition.
    Decibel are world leaders in the integration of acoustic instruments and electronics, pioneering electronic score formats, including the Decibel Scoreplayer App, incorporating mobile score formats and networked coordination performance environments.
    The ensemble has collaborated with composers such as Werner Dafeldecker, Agostino Di Scipio, Alvin Curran, David Toop, Marina Rosenfeld, Lionel Marchetti, Andreas Weixler and Johannes S. Sistermanns and worked with iconic Australian composers Jon Rose, Alan Lamb, Ross Bolleter, Warren Burt, Eric Griswold and Anthony Pateras.
    Decibel have contributed the Australian premieres of works by Fausto Romitelli, Tristan Murail, Alvin Lucier, Peter Ablinger, Mauricio Kagel and have toured monograph concerts dedicated to Alvin Lucier, John Cage and Giacinto Scelsi.

  • edited May 2017
    Composers: Daníel Bjarnason, Þuríður Jónsdóttir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir (Amiina), Anna Þorvaldsdóttir, and Hlynur A. Vilmarsson). 
    - "Can you hear a country in its music? Does Venice echo in Gabrielli’s buoyant antiphonies? Can you glimpse Bohemia in the lyrical effusions of Dvorak and Smetana? Does the United States of America sound like Copland’s heartland or Ellington’s Harlem? Like Peter Garland’s desert, or John Luther Adams’s tundra? There can be no definitive answer; every traveler usually brings personal baggage. I reckon that I do sense Iceland’s mutable skies and rugged terrain in the slow-moving luminosity of Thorvaldsdottir’s Dreaming. Likewise, the static/chaotic duality in Daníel Bjarnason’s shivering, rumbling Emergence evokes awesome powers coalescing in some act of primal creation. Thurídur Jónsdóttir’s Flow and Fusion, with its seamless blend of acoustic and electronic sounds, conjures the ineffable chiaroscuro of Iceland’s sky."
    - Sono Luminus - WQXR Review

    Iceland Symphony Orchestra

    - "Iceland Symphony is Iceland's national orchestra and gives weekly concerts in Harpa, Reykjavík, from September to June every year.

    The orchestra was founded in 1950 and is one of the leading institutions on the Icelandic cultural scene. It has performed to great acclaim at international festivals and in concert halls, including the BBC Proms in 2014, as well as New York's Carnegie Hall and Vienna's Musikverein."

    Daniel Bjarnason

    The title “sai – ji – ku” means “color – time – space”.
    This title, a combination of three Japanese words symbolizes the common characteristics of Wilfried Jentzsch’s and Hiromi Ishii’s compositional interests: to structure sounds in relation to their timbral characters vividly in time and space.

    All works are based on and have their intercultural relations to Asia. Hiromi Ishii builds therelation to her origin, Japan, and Wilfried Jentzsch to Indonesia and China.

    „Huai bieh“ means “the desire and farewell” and is inspired by the KUN-opera. The transformation of the melody referring to time, timbre and space is the central idea of this composition.

    Tokyo, with its double-layered structure and harsh contrasts, is the basic idea for „Ginn-Tokyo 2006“.  How can these extremely different two worlds, tradition and modernism, co-exist?

    The works presented on this CD were projected with the 47 (43.4) Speaker spatial Klangdom Environment using the software Zirkonium and recorded with artificial head technology to capture the spatial information. With the help of the spherical placement of the speakers above the audience sounds can move freely in all directions and speeds - and can place everywhere in the space.
    - Wergo

    Hiromi Ishii
    studied composition in Tokyo, electroacoustic music at the Aufbaustudium (graduate course) of Musikhochschule Dresden with Wilfried Jentzsch. Having passed Konzert Examen with mark „eminent“, she further studied at City University London with supervision by Simon Emmerson and Denis Smalley where she was conferred her PhD degree. Her research, ‘composing electroacoustic music relating to Japanese traditional music’, was supported by an ORS Award Scheme scholarship of the UK. Her works have been invited and presented at music festivals such as CYNETart Festival Dresden, the Electroacoutic Music Festival Florida (granted by Japan Foundation), MusicAcoustica Beijing, EuCuE Canada, EMUfest Rome, Musica Viva Lisbon, Gaudeamus Netherland, the International Concert at Musiques&Recherches, International John Cage Festival Halberstadt, SoundTrack_Cologne8.0, Punto y Raya, NYCEMF, TIES Toronto and broadcast by the WDR, MDR, Radio Berlin and more. She was Composer in Residence at ZKM Karlsruhe in 2006(ZKM Grant), 2013, and 2016.

    She is recently focusing on Multichannel 3D-Acousmatic composition, and Visual Music for which she composes both music and visual in parallel. As a curator she has been invited to curate concerts at various international festivals; Musica Viva, SoundTrack_Cologne, CYNETart, EMUfest, and so on.
    As a lecturer she taught at Shobi University and Institute of Sound Technique in Japan. She is currently giving workshops and lectures worldwide in English, German and Japanese. Since 2008 she is living in Dueren, near from Cologne, Germany.

    Wilfried Jentzsch

    Born in 1941, he studied composition at the Musikhochschule Dresden, the Akademie der Künste Berlin and electronic music in Cologne.
    From 1976 to 1981 he studied at the Sorbonne in Paris under Xenakis where he was awarded a degree of doctorate in the field of musical aesthetics. He conducted at the same time a research of digital sound synthesis at IRCAM and the CEMAMu.

    He has founded a computer-music studio in Nuremberg in 1981. As professor of composition he directed the Electronic Studio at the Musikhochschule Dresden from 1993 to 2006. His Electroacoustic/ Visual Music works have been presented at ZKM, VMM Boston and New York, Cinema Fest Melbourne, CEMC Beijing, EMUfest Rome, GRM Paris, Cinema Nouveau Montréal, Musiques & Recherches Bruxelles, Tokio and Mexiko City. Since 2007 he has been working as a curator of Visual Music and realized presentations at ZKM, Berlin TU, Folkwang Hochschule Essen, CYNETart Dresden.

    He is a member of the ISCM and a founding member of the DegeM.
    He was composer in residence at the Capital University Colombus (Ohio), at IMEB Bourges, at the Centre Musiques & Recherches Bruxelles and the ZKM.
    He has received international composition prizes in Boswil (CH), Paris, Bourges and ZKM Karlsruhe, and was invited for numerous festivals worldwide.
    Since 2008 he is living in Düren (near Cologne).

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