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Latest Episode / Friday, October 31, 2014 Edit This

October 2014 New Releases

John Schaefer carefully sorts through the stacks, bins, downloads and boatloads of new releases which have come across his desk over the past month to present the finest of the bunch.

New Music With Accordion

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hear new music from accordionist, keyboard player, and composer Ted Reichman, focusing on connections between improvisation and various forms of folk, popular music, and jazz. Also, there's mysterious music from Austrian multi-instrumentalist and composer Werner Pirchner for accordion.  Then, hear Kronos Quartet together with accordion adventurer Kimmo Pohjonen and sampling guru Samuli Kosminen.  The live strings and electric accordion plus effects and manipulations create a new, multi-dimensional sound world. That, and more.

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New Music for Didjeridu

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For this New Sounds program, listen to music for didgeridoo (also spelled didjeridoo)  - the indigenous Australian drone wind instrument made out of a hollowed-out tree branch.  From a brand new recording, hear music for string quartet and didjeridu by the late Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe, featuring the Del Sol String Quartet and didjeridu virtuoso Stephen Kent.  There's also music from Kent's other more ambient project, Lights in a Fat City, featuring didjeridoo, percussion and electronics.  Then listen to music from Philip Glass for organ, speaker, and two didjeridoos, combining the sounds of the European church and that of Australia.  Plus music for ambient didjeridoo, cello and electronics. 

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Not Quite Art Songs

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Listen to some not-quite art songs on this New Sounds program, including new music from the Swedish singer, keyboardist and songwriter Anna von Hausswolff, whose recent "Ceremony" is a bit of dramatic pipe-organ driven art-pop music with underpinnings of the drone metal wizards Sunn O))).  Recorded in her hometown of Gothenburg on the church organ of the vast Annedalkyrkan, the music is grave and intense, and at times, sinister. 

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New Music from Berlin

Monday, October 27, 2014

Berlin has been a global capital of electronic music for decades. In this New Sounds edition, John Schaefer brings us the latest music you might hear in the late hours in this city. We'll hear violinist Daniel Hope plays Max Richter's "Berlin by Overnight" and then some nocturnal remixes of the same piece. Icelandic and Berlin-based cellist and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir brings us an electronic symphony of cellos--all of them her layered over each other. The Brandt Bauer Frick Ensemble plays electronic sounding music, but you might be surprised that it is performed completely on acoustic instruments. Hear excerpts from Dustin O'Halloran's score to the film "The Beauty Inside" and more.

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"Underground" Music

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Listen to music made in or about the underground – catacombs, cisterns, cellars- on this New Sounds.  There’s music by sax player, percussionist, and a composer for Sesame Street - Ken Field from his release “Subterranea,” recorded in several underground rooms in Roswell, New Mexico.  Ranging from overdubbed saxophones, 'sticks on juice cans, sticks on suitcase' and lots of percussion, the pieces include titles like “Five Saxophones in Search of Meaning” and “Om On the Range.”

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On a Large Scale

Saturday, October 25, 2014

On this New Sounds show, hear a world premiere recording by Dylan Mattingly written specifically for the New York-based ensemble of young musicians, Contemporaneous.  Mattingly is a composer, cellist and one of the founding co-artistic directors of the group (he’s also a pitcher for Bard College’s first ever club baseball team.)  Listen to part two of his epic and emotional poem for chamber orchestra depicting Amelia Earhart’s final flight, called “Atlas of Somewhere (On the Way to Howland Island): Islanded in a Stream of Stars.”

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Songs for Peace, From Mali

Friday, October 24, 2014

On this edition of New Sounds, hear politically-inspired music from Mali speaking out against the old government as well as in response to the ongoing situation in the north; the 2012 nationalist uprising, subsequent Islamist takeover and most recent French intervention in January of 2013.  With the takeover in the north, the hardline fundamentalists imposed sharia law, banning music (including the annual Festival in the Desert), yet that hasn’t stopped many musicians from singing, playing, and speaking out for peace and freedom.

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With Paul Dresher

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Composer, electric guitarist, and inventor of the Quadracord, Paul Dresher, joins John Schaefer for this New Sounds program. Listen to his work, “Glimpsed from Afar,” for a pair of newly invented instruments: the Marimba Lumina – an electronic mallet controller played by percussionist Joel Davel and the afore-mentioned Quadrachord, a 15-foot long four-stringed instrument invented and built by Daniel Schmidt and Paul Dresher, that is plucked, bowed, hammered and strummed.

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Just Looping Strings

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A looping sound of cellos and violins runs through all three of the works on this New Sounds program. Listen to many Maya Beisers, as she layers and loops her cello in a work written for her by Michael Harrison, “Just Ancient Loops” in the tuning system called Just Intonation (sometimes, “Pure Intonation,” which goes back to Pythagoras.)  Maya Beiser performs "Just Ancient Loops" with Bill Morrison’s film tomorrow, 10/23 at MOMA.

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The Pixies : New Sounds-Style

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

For this New Sounds, hear songs of the Pixies as arranged “New Sounds-Style” by everyone from the Asphalt Orchestra (the punkass marching band from Bang on a Can) to the Polaris Prize winner, Tanya Tagaq, along with the not-gonna-be-pigeonholed-into-just-jazz trio The Bad Plus, and the multi-instrumentalist “indie” eclectics TV on the Radio.

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Drummers / Bandleaders Special Podcast

Monday, October 20, 2014

For this New Sounds, hear all sorts of drummer-led bands and ensembles, including music from composer/percussionist Susie Ibarra, alternative/avant-jazzer Jim Black, Afrobeat progenitor/drummer Tony Allen who played with Fela Kuti, and many others. There’s music from the brand-new record, “Drum Codes” by Electric Kulintang, which features co-leader Susie Ibarra on those traditional metallic gong-like percussion instruments of the Philippines and her percussionist/programmer husband, Cuban-American Roberto Rodriguez.

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Asphalt Orchestra vs. The Pixies' "Surfer Rosa"

Monday, October 20, 2014

There are few things that the New Sounds All-Purpose Assistant loves more than the Pixies and brass bands / marching bands who party like brass bands...well, maybe pierogies. And this Asphalt Orchestra record, “Asphalt Orchestra plays the Pixies: Surfer Rosa” brings together these two loves, in an instant classic partnership like peanut butter & chocolate! Exceeding all expectations, the Asphalt players have turned out a collection of appealing and cheeky arrangements, incorporating the dynamics and start-stop of the Pixies’ signature loudQUIETloud, ingeniously capturing the musical tension of egotistical band-clashes (despite the balanced distribution of eight different Asphalt arrangers on the 13 tracks), and tapping the rawness and power of that original Steve Albini-produced Surfer Rosa record (without being partially recorded in a bathroom and minus crunchy guitars and drumset).

Asphalt Orchestra

Known for arranging everything from the metallers Meshuggah to Balkan brass band master Goran Bregovic to Bjork to Charles Mingus, the twelve members of Asphalt are brass, wind & percussion players who are as mischievous and heavy as a punk-ass marching band on Bang on Can’s Cantaloupe imprint could be.

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Recent Guitar-Centric Recordings

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hear new guitar-centric music on this New Sounds program including music from the Baird Sisters, and from a new live record by South African guitarist Guy Buttery, who covers a song by Joanna Newsom. Also, listen to guitarist Glenn Jones, who draws from the rich tradition of John Fahey’s “American Primitive” guitar-playing.  Then hear music performed by the three classical guitarists of the Mobius Trio that owes a debt to John Fahey and hints at minimalism. Plus there’s small ensemble music written at Glen Deven Ranch in Big Sur, California from guitarist Bill Frisell, and music by John Zorn, as played by Pat Metheny.

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Glass-y Music

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hear fragile and glassy music on this New Sounds program, including low-fi, 1-bit electronic music by New York-based composer Tristan Perich.  Listen to the collision of math, physics, and code, in Perich’s “Observations,” for two crotales.  (Incidentally, 1-bit is the lowest possible digital representation of audio.)  Then there’s also music by Michael Hearst (he of One Ring Zero), from his latest, “Songs for Unusual Creatures.

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Ambient Electroacoustic Works

Saturday, October 18, 2014

For this New Sounds, we’ll sample some recent ambient electro-acoustic music from the likes of New Jersey-based composer Frances White, Canadian electronic/ambient producer Loscil (Scott Morgan), and Fazio.  Listen to electroacoustic chamber music by Frances White, which she wrote especially for eighth blackbird, and incorporates the traditional Japanese shakuhachi flute.

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Unremembered, by Sarah Kirkland Snider

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hear the world premiere of Sarah Kirkland Snider's latest song-cycle for seven vocalists and chamber orchestra,"Unremembered," featuring vocal performances by DM Stith, Shara Worden and Padma Newsome along with the Orchestra for the Next Century. The work sets poetry by New-York-based poet/writer Nathaniel Bellows, recalling strange and beautiful happenings experienced during a childhood in rural Massachusetts.

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From Speech to Song

Thursday, October 16, 2014

For this New Sounds, listen to works that begin with speech, but incorporate sampling, delays, and other electronic manipulations, like Alvin Lucier's 1969 electroacoustic classic "I Am Sitting in a Room," and Scott Johnson's "John Somebody" (1980-82) for electric guitar, woodwinds, percussion, and tape. Hear two parts from "John Somebody" (remember that guy?) by New York-based composer Scott Johnson, who invented the "speech-melody" technique, by taking bits of recorded speech and approximating them with musical notes, creating melody from the rise and fall in pitch of casual conversation. Also, those looped samples- "You know who's in New York? Remember that guy, J—John somebody? He was a… he was sort of a…" - were actually hand-cut & spliced by the composer, fashioning loops from the analog tape. Also of note, “John Somebody,” an early “hit” on New Sounds, is actually not about John Schaefer, contrary to local legend.

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A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra - and Tubular Bells

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

For this New Sounds, listen to some of "Heroic Weather," – from Alexander Desplat’s score to "Moonrise Kingdom," where every instrument is identified as it enters, much in the same way that Benjamin Britten does in his “Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.”  That will probably bring to mind Sergei Prokofiev’s "Peter & the Wolf," (another popularly used score in children’s music education) so perhaps we’ll also hear something from that classic work.  Plus, listen to some of Mike Oldfield's “Tubular Bells” where Vivian Stanshall formally announces each instrument as it joins the mix, towards the end of the piece.  All these, and more.

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The New Music/Rock Music Connection

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This New Sounds program highlights the connection between new music and rock music. Listen to a five-movement work by Steve Reich, “Radio Rewrite” based on music by Radiohead, performed and co-commissioned by Alarm Will Sound. The specific Radiohead songs are "Jigsaw Falling into Place" and "Everything in Its Right Place."

Reich spoke about the piece and its connection to Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood on WNYC's Soundcheck last year with host, John Schaefer:

 

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Thinking Big

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hear songwriters take their ambitious ideas and go for the orchestral and operatic on this New Sounds program.  There’s music from Jherek Bischoff, a songwriter, producer, performer and composer who has been part of the Ecstatic Music Festival.  Bischoff’s most recent recording, “Composed” is nine orchestral pop songs, meticulously layered, all featuring different vocalists, including Caetano Veloso and David Byrne.

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