Recent Episodes and Articles
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
New music made on old instruments, and older music in positively modern settings is what’s in store for this New Sounds program. Listen to a record from the early music vocal group Orlando Consort in collaboration with jazz rock band Perfect Houseplants, called “Extempore” – literally “out of time.” There’s also a folk setting involving banjo of a 14th Century tune by Guillaume de Machaut, and music by abbess, composer, and recently sainted Hildegard von Bingen in a decidedly modern arrangement from violist (and viola d’amore wielder) Garth Knox.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
For this New Sounds, hear a load of European music from composers responding to American minimalism, including music from pianist and composer Arthur Jeffes – son of the the late Simon Jeffes, founder of Penguin Café Orchestra. Hear some music by Sundog, the first new project on the Penguin Cafe Label, which is Arthur Jeffes on piano and Oli Langford on violin, and is something like "chopped up post-electro" minimalist chamber.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Listen to music inspired by American folksong for this New Sounds, including tunes from Sam Amidon, Robert Plant, and Julia Wolfe's "Steel Hammer," about the legend of John Henry. From Vermont-born singer/fiddler/banjoist/guitarist Sam Amidon, listen to selections off of his latest release, “Lily-O, a new album of reimagined folk songs featuring guitarist and composer Bill Frisell, among others. There’s also music on the tune of John Henry, reworked as “John Hardy” in music from banjo picker Frank Fairfield, Bela Fleck and Vishwa Bhatt, and “John Doe #24 in a tune from Last Forever. And more.
Thursday, October 09, 2014
Ordinarily, the music one hears on New Sounds has a lot of hyphens in it as one tries to describe it, but for this show, the hyphens have multiplied at least eight-fold. Listen to blends of world music, minimalism, chamber music, jazz, rock and post-rock, big band, Ethio-jazz, folk music from the world over, Celtic, Latin jazz - all coming together in various combinations for the featured pieces. Hear brand new music from the Dutch world-jazz post-rock fusion band the Ex, with guests Brass Unbound. Also, hear from Sweden's Ale Møller and the Bohuslän Big Band, who bring together Celtic, folk, jazz, and medieval music.
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Listen to the second of our two-part celebration of Peter Gabriel’s Real World record label, which is physically based out of an old mill building in the village of Box in the southwest of England, near the ancient standing stones of Avebury and Stonehenge. The label marks its 25th anniversary this year, and for this New Sounds, listen to more from the newly-issued three-disc anthology. There’s music from singer Maryam Mursal, a Somalian refugee based in Denmark and a work from Tibetan exile Yungchen Lhamo, now based in New York. Then, hear a newly-commissioned work for guitar plus ensemble by composer Joby Talbot from the Dutch classical guitarist Tom Kerstens and his G-plus Ensemble, along with music by English composer, pianist and viola player Jocelyn Pook, who is also known for her film score work.
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Listen to the first of our two part celebration of Peter Gabriel’s Real World record label, which marks its 25th anniversary this year. For the occasion, there's a new three-disc anthology of eclectic international releases and inspired collaborations, including music from the very first release, Passion, Peter Gabriel's soundtrack to the Martin Scorsese film “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Hear that, along with Sufi prayer music from Pakistan from the late, great Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – his song “Mustt, Mustt” – one that he recorded several times for Real World.
Monday, October 06, 2014
On this New Sounds, listen to distinctive takes on the music of Brian Eno. Hear composer/pianist Timo Andres weave at least four different tunes by Brian Eno into his “Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno,” very much in the way that Franz Liszt might have done on themes of favorite operas. There’s music from the English new music band Icebreaker, in collaboration with the great pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole, taking on “Apollo,” a score originally written by Brian Eno, Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois for Al Reinert’s documentary on NASA’s Apollo missions. Plus, young pianist and composer Conrad Tao, inspired by Eno, in a work for piano and iPad. Also, the Bang on a Can All-Stars in Evan Ziporyn’s arrangement of Eno’s classic “Music for Airports.”
Sunday, October 05, 2014
The thumb piano, which in Zimbabwe, is called “mbira,” in Uganda, “kalimba,” in the Congo, “likembe,” – is an instrument made of a wooden board to which staggered metal keys have been attached. We’ll have an hour of music involving the thumb piano for this New Sounds program, from a gentle song by Arthur Russell, interpreted by Jens Lekman to the Kronos Quartet, to the psychedelic electronic music in the Congotronics series of records.