Recent Episodes and Articles
Sunday, August 31, 2014
For this New Sounds program, we’ll listen to part two of the New Sounds Live/Ecstatic Music Festival concert with Dan Deacon. Hear Deacon’s “An Opal Toad with Obsidian Eyes,” as an entire movement of the work is set to a wooden block click track. The performance / classical instrument dance party features the NOW Ensemble, the Calder String Quartet, and Deacon's live processing.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
For this New Sounds program, we’ll listen to some more highlights from the New Sounds Live concert series at Merkin Hall, collaborating with the 2012 Ecstatic Music Festival. Hear Dan Deacon’s large-scale work for the NOW Ensemble, the Calder String Quartet, and live processing, “An Opal Toad with Obsidian Eyes.”
Friday, August 29, 2014
Listen to some music by bass players on this New Sounds. Hear the orchestral double bass, as represented by German bass player Eberhard Weber, along with the electric bass guitar, represented by the Swedish bass guitarist Jonas Hellborg. There's also music by California bass player Michael Manring, whose signature instrument, the hyperbass, he helped to develop and is designed for limitless altered tunings. Plus, music from bassist/composer and jazzer/rocker Ben Allison (also composer of NPR’s On the Media theme) - his tune "Slap Happy" from the record "Peace Pipe," and more.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
For this New Sounds, dig into a wide variety of sounds, all coming from electric guitarist/composers, like the ambient electronic texture of Noveller to the pulsing minimalist shimmer of Empyrean Atlas. Guitarist and composer Sarah Lipstate, uses lots of looping devices and records under the name, Noveller. Listen to her “Glacial Wave” and “Almost All Right” built only around the sound of electric guitar, looped together to create sonic landscapes. Then, hear music by Brooklyn-based composer and instrumentalist David Crowell, who uses guitars, and saxophone textures to create motoric minimalist creations, with the band Empyrean Atlas.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
For this New Sounds, John Schaefer catches up with the Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy, who also presents some of his latest music including a bit of his multi-media musical theatre piece, “the Hunger.” Based on the events of the Irish famine, this opera-in-progress incorporates the unaccompanied Irish vocal music called Sean nós, like Dennehy’s previous work, “Grá agus Bás.” In “The Hunger,” however, Dennehy knits vintage recordings of sean-nós into the piece and uses the writings of American non-conformist Asenath Nicholson to inform the main narrative.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Listen to works inspired by gospel, early folk hymns, spirituals, and shape note singing on this New Sounds program. There's an intense and shimmering setting by drummer Jaimeo Brown of the gospel hymn “Everything is Moving by the Power of God," which incorporates samples from the rural Alabama gospel group the Gee’s Bend Quilters from their 1941 and 2002 recordings. On drums, Brown builds and highlights the ecstatic melody of the gospel group by way of crashy and tasteful washes of cymbals. Then, as the sampled voices fade away, that build gradually gives way to pianist Geri Allen’s inspired and passionate improvisation on the melody of the tune.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The Italian keyboardist and composer Ludovico Einaudi joins John Schaefer to present selections from his record, “In a Time Lapse,” recorded in a wooden room in a monastery near Verona, Italy. For this New Sounds, listen to selections from that record, as well as a liberal sampling of his music; from solo keyboard works to pieces featuring forward-thinking violinist Daniel Hope, to collaborations with kora player Ballake Sissoko and duduk master Djivan Gasparian from Armenia.
Monday, August 25, 2014
There’s world music from Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Poland, and other parts of Europe on this New Sounds show. Listen to music from Caspian Hat Dance which suggests the Mediterranean, along with music that is Sardinian in origin, and music sung in Frisian, a language spoken only in the northern part of Holland. Then, hear Czech music from Marta Topferova along with revolutionary gore songs and hardcore folk from Poland. Plus, a mostly-immigrant, multi-ethnic band based in Italy reinvents music from all over the world, Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio, and more.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
For this New Sounds, hear new works based on existing ones. There’s a work by the 2012 Pultzer Prize winner, Kevin Puts - his Symphony No. 3, “Vespertine,” inspired by Icelandic singer Bjork’s album of the same name. Then hear a piece by John Halle based on two Thelonius Monk tunes, “Straight, No Chaser” and “Brilliant Corners.”
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Hear drones from across the world and recent recorded history on this New Sounds. Listen to instrumental melodies over drones, vocal melodies and vocal drones, and sometimes the drone of the Earth. To that end, there's music from guitarist John Abercrombie, something from the band Ergo, and a piece from Norwegian saxophone player Jan Garbarek accompanied by a wind harp. All that and more.
Friday, August 22, 2014
For this New Sounds, there’s pattern music with interlocking rhythms, either drawn from Indonesian gamelan - those metallic orchestras and court ensembles from the islands of Java and Bali- or from the parallel “systems” music of Steve Reich and others. Listen to music from harpist Zeena Parkins and her new band-semble, the Adorables, who combine a core of harp with percussion and electronics for something completely unexpected. There’s also music from NYC-based Patrick Grant who serves his post-minimalism with a twist of Rock and Balinese gamelan. Plus, hear the Celtic-Balinese tapestry of Matthew Welch’s Blarvuster and film music (not Tubular Bells) from Mike Oldfield, and more.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
For this New Sounds program, listen to a meeting of western music and the music of West Africa, as in music from the Beirut-born Raja Kassis or the Jewish Afro-beat party band Zion80, led by Jon Madof. There’s music steeped in the traditions of Mali and Senegal from New York-based guitarist born and raised in Lebanon, Raja Kassis, (who also plays with Blitz the Ambassador.) From his forthcoming record, HumanBEING, listen to “Aiisha,” inspired by a Curtis Mayfield tune, it incorporates an Ethiopian tune on cello around halfway through. Also, from Zion 80’s latest, “Adramalech,” hear “Metatron” – Jewish themes through the Afrobeat lens.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Listen to electronic chamber music on this edition of New Sounds, including a suite for string quartet and diverse machines, chamber music with electronic and factory noises, as well as a work for violin, piano and the pre-recorded sounds of voices. From composer Randall Woolf, hear his piece “Bodegas” which uses violin and turntable over a bed of drum machine and synthesizers. Written for violinist Jennifer Choi, the work also incorporates found sounds recorded in a bodega.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Listen to music for multiple stringed instruments on this New Sounds. Hear a work from “Recursions,” the solo record by violist Nicholas Cords, who is both a member of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. Cords’ five-part suite, “Five Migrations,” builds looped melodies that range from the thoughtful to the propulsive, with stops at the Penguin Café and along the Silk Road. There’s also music for multiple violins with music from Todd Reynolds, for multiple cellos by Zoe Keating, and perhaps music performed by double-bass player Robert Black of the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
Monday, August 18, 2014
For this New Sounds, listen to orchestral and chamber music songs that don’t fit comfortably into the “indie” rock world, like music from My Brightest Diamond, Kaizers Orchestra, or Beirut.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
We’ll spend an hour listening to music from lost cities and civilizations on this New Sounds program. Hear music by Turkmenistan-born Iraida Yusupova, with the title “Kitezh” – the invisible city of legend that appears in a Rimsky-Korsakov opera and a kind of Russian Atlantis. It is said to have disappeared under water when Mongols were about to attack, and Yusupova suggests as much with theremin and tape.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
For this New Sounds, hear music by sean-nos singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, from a brand new recording, “Foxlight.” The producer/guitarist Leo Abrahams is all over this unclassifiable album (Confessional ballad? Minimalist art-folk? Electro-Irish trad?), featuring electro-acoustic accompaniment to Ó Lionáird’s personal songs, sung mostly in Gaelic. With a host of intriguing guest collaborators -composer Jon Hopkins, strings duo Geese, folktronica innovator Leafcutter John and fiddle and hardanger player Caoimhin O Raghallaigh- the violins, viola, cello, fiddle, guitars and keyboards are expertly woven into the epic electro-acoustic compositions.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Listen to music for chorus, "gamelan-style" on this New Sounds. Japanese drummer and composer Yoshimi is the mastermind behind OOIOO, an improvisation-based project whose latest effort, “Gamel” revolves around voices and gamelan instruments, (with a bit of electric guitar and weird effects.) Yoshimi also drums for the Boredoms, helped curate the epic gatherings of drummers/percussionists between the two bridges in in 2007, “77 Boadrum” and “88 Boadrum” (on 8/8/2008), and is involved in many other musical ventures. [Yes, she is the enigma for whom the Flaming Lips album “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" was named.] Listen to the gamelan-based wonder that is “Don Ah," from “Gamel,” the seventh record from OOIOO, which is all sorts of curious, and full of freewheeling manic energy.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
For this New Sounds, listen to some non-classical music from classically-trained musicians, including an acoustic music quartet that is neither classical nor jazz - The 442s, comprised of members of the St. Louis Symphony, and jazz musicians. There’s also new music from Shara Worden, who records as My Brightest Diamond, from her brand-new EP, "None More Than You" scored for vocals, brass and percussion – something that can be performed with say – a marching band! Then, hear music by Andrew McKenna Lee with members of the Knells, some very cinematic work by the French-born London-based Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, and more music from the L.A.-based collective, wild Up. Plus, something from electronic musician/ sound designer/ producer/ programmer Michael Hammond, aka No Lands, as well as a tune from cellist Erik Friedlander. And more.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
This New Sounds is all about party music from the Balkans, Near East, and Central Asia. From the frantic and sweaty pop that provides the soundtrack for celebrations in Egypt, to Punjabi wedding music, it’s all here. Listen to music from the Albanian horn band Fanfara Tirana, along with a Bjork tune arranged by Syrian pop legend Omar Souleyman. Then there’s music from Egyptian DJs of the Cairo Liberation Front, and music from Brooklyn-based Punjabi sweaty-making party band, Red Baraat. Plus, listen to the highly danceable Syrian electronic dabke music, also heard at weddings and parties. And more.