Recent Episodes and Articles
Friday, September 19, 2014
On a funereal edition of this New Sounds, hear musical moods that one might not expect to be associated with a funeral from the world over, from West African funeral drumming to a jazz march from Norwegian musician Stian Carstensen. Listen to music from Brooklyn Rider by Ljova paying tribute to the violinist from Tarafs de Haidouk, Culai. There’s also Michael Gordon’s setting of Emily Dickinson poetry, as recorded live on Soundcheck, along with a funeral dance by Swedish jazz musician Bengt Berger’s “Bitter Funeral Beer.” Plus, listen to the post-rock ambient duo Stars of the Lid, along with music by Henry Purcell arranged by Wendy Carlos used in “A Clockwork Orange.” And more.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
For this New Sounds, listen to dances for the piano, including works by G.I. Gurdjieff, Francesco Tristano, John Adams, and Tim Hecker on this New Sounds. There are combinations of piano and cello, piano and electronics, music for two pianos, and more. Hear music from the early 20th century mystic, composer, and philosopher Armenian G.I. Gurdjieff, who together with his disciple, the Russian composer Thomas deHartmann, created several cycles of piano works. Listen to an arrangement of Gurdjieff/de Hartmann’s music from cellist Anja Lechner and pianist/composer Francois Couturier, from their forthcoming record, “Moderato Cantabile.”
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Listen to world music that veers into psychedelic territory on this New Sounds, with Native-American inspired percussive drone music and Afrobeat from Brazil in music by Bixiga 70. Hear a mix of Afro-Ethiopian rock and jazz from the Brazilian band, Bixiga70, whose name is clearly a nod to the Afrobeat pioneered by Fela Kuti and drummer Tony Allen (with whom Mauricio Fleury from the band studied with.) This brass-heavy sound bounces through boundaries to harvest textures of Guinean and Malian mandingo from Guinea and Mali, soukous from the Congo and ethio-jazz. Also, there’s music from a Chinese string band, Red Chamber, and their pipa, zheng, zhongruan, among other Chinese lutes and zithers. On this tune,"Ah Ya Zein," they accompany oud player Gordon Grdina, and are augmented by all kinds of percussion from other traditions.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Hear so-called “indie classical” works on this New Sounds - music which is at home in both the contemporary classical music world and the indie rock/pop music halls, basements, and dive bars. Listen to the “NYC garage-chamber septet” The Cellar and Point, who use acoustic instruments and electronics to create a sound that is winningly melodic, thoughtful in its balance, groove-heavy, sometimes glitchy, and delightfully unpredictable as the septet straddles all kinds of genres. Members of the group also currently perform with JACK Quartet, Mivos Quartet, Ensemble Signal, and Mantra Percussion.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Listen to ensemble pieces which incorporate or draw from the folk music of several different parts of the world on this New Sounds program. There’s music by the Alaev Family band from Tajikistan collaborating with Israeli musician Tamir Muskat from the band Balkan Beat Box. Also, hear music that simulates the sound of Norwegian folk fiddling. It’s the work of Princeton University professor Dan Trueman, founder of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra and a Norwegian hardanger fiddle specialist together with So Percussion.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
For this New Sounds program, listen to the blistering horns of party bands from the world over. There’s Afro-pop from veteran of Ghanaian highlife Ebo Taylor and his German band, featuring the godfather of Afro-beat drumming, Tony Allen. Hopefully we'll hear something from the marching band madness that is the Chicago-based outfit Mucca Pazza (P.S. - you HAVE to check their outfits when they perform!), Frank London's Klezmer Brass All-Stars, some Ethiojazz, and maybe something from Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
For this New Sounds program, sample a globetrotting set of acoustic music with guitar as the starting point. There’s music by Stephane Wrembel, who visits everything from blues to flamenco to rock on his record “Origins.” Listen next to South African guitarist Derek Gripper, who has also studied and mastered the kora, the instrument of the Malian griot.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Hear the trombone, sometimes by itself, sometimes in a world music setting, sometimes with electronics, and for a mass of 77 trombones, for this New Sounds show. There's music from a recent record, "The Incredible Honk" by the exceptional trombonist/composer Roswell Rudd, with many notable collaborations. Listen to Roswell Rudd together with the Cajun legends Michael Doucet & Beausoleil, featuring singer Emily Haines (Metric), as well as a work with Malian maestro Bassekou Kouyate, and several Malian musicians.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
It’s almost a theme and variations edition of New Sounds, taking John Dowland’s “Flow My Tears” as a starting point and playing on the theme of tears and melancholy. Hear mostly instrumental works based on Dowland’s “Lachrimae” pieces, the best known of which is probably "Flow my Tears," - and it eventually had words. There’s multiple moods and variations on tears from Austrian trombonist Christian Muthspiel and an all-star quartet of musicians who “are at home in the worlds of both composed music as well as improvisation and jazz.”
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Listen to arrangements of American folk music and their spin-offs for this New Sounds. Hear three arrangements of the murder ballad, “Pretty Polly,” including one from the husband-and-wife team of virtuoso banjo players Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn. There’s also music by Princeton University-based composer Paul Lansky, a computerized recreation of “Pretty Polly” from his record called “Folk Images,” which also takes on the beloved American Folksongs, “Wayfaring Stranger” and “Tender Ladies.”
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
For this New Sounds listen to ambitious works inspired by East Asian storytelling. There’s music based on one of the classic Chinese epic tales – “Monkey,” as retold and done up by Damon Albarn (of the Brit- pop band Blur, and of the animated rock band, Gorillaz), and Jamie Hewlett with many other participants. “Monkey: Journey to the West” is a mammoth music theatre work/hybrid opera performed in Mandarin and features over 50 Chinese acrobats, martial arts experts and a team of tiny contortionists.
Monday, September 08, 2014
Listen to music by the American composer Moondog, aka Louis Hardin, or "the Viking of 6th Avenue," who was also a musician, a poet and the inventor of several musical instruments (and was blind.) He adopted his nom de plume in honor of a dog "who used to howl at the moon more than any dog I knew of." Moondog performed daily in a cape and Viking helmet on the corner of 52nd Street and 6th Avenue in New York City, up until 1974, when he left for Germany. He died on September 8, 1999 at the age of 83 in Munster, Germany.
Sunday, September 07, 2014
Bang on a Can, the composers collective and revolutionary force hatched more than a quarter century ago as a plot in an East Village diner, celebrates a milestone 25th anniversary of creating and presenting new music on this New Sounds show. The Bang on a Can All-Stars, the resident ensemble of six musicians, give the unofficial US premiere of 3 parts of the suite "Field Recordings," with works by BoaC Co-founder Julia Wolfe, Florent Ghys, and Evan Ziporyn. Plus works by Bang on a Can's two other co-founders, David Lang and Michael Gordon.
Saturday, September 06, 2014
Listen to some devotional music on this New Sounds program by the late great Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Then, hear some songs by Arif Lohar, a hugely popular Pakistani singer whose music has lots of dance elements, but is also based on Sufi music. Plus, hear more from the record, “Nagore Sessions,” music recorded at the Nagore Dargah, a South India temple complex where both Muslims and Hindus pray. And more.
Friday, September 05, 2014
This New Sounds is based on older sounds from nearly 600 years ago in re-imaginings of the music by 14th Century French composer Guillaume de Machaut and 15th Century Franco-Flemish composer Guillaume Dufay . In fact, listen to Guillaume de Machaut’s “greatest hit”. “Douce Dame Jolie” in a number of interesting arrangements: a world music inflected arrangement by Robert Sadin and an electronically enhanced version from Theo Bleckmann. Then, hear reinventions of Machaut from the Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser and his Consort in Motion.
Thursday, September 04, 2014
The thumb piano (or mbira, kalimba, sanza, likembe), consists of a wooden board with attached staggered metal keys, and is widely heard throughout the Eastern and Southern African continent. However, for this New Sounds, listen to music from Europe, North and South America, as well, using various forms of the African thumb piano. To start, there’s music from Zimbabwe's Queen of Mbira, Stella Chiweshe, a trailblazer who learned her craft in the mid-late 1960's when it was forbidden for a woman to play the instrument. Then, hear music by Nathan Davis which is inspired by the function of mbira music in the life rituals of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.
Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Listen to small ensembles (septets or smaller) with a big sound for this New Sounds show. Hear music from a film score for a comedy featuring small ensemble music by English guitarist/pianist/composer James Blackshaw. The noirish score includes bowed guitar and bass, violin, vibraphone, flute, drums and electronics, and draws from Brazilian guitar music, musique concrete, and French impressionist composers.
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Listen to music from the Armenian diaspora on this New Sounds program. Hear the duduk, that distinctive double reed instrument, by the “Master of the Duduk,” Djivan Gasparyan, in many different combinations, from Gasparyan’s collaboration with Canadian-American producer Michael Brook’s electric guitar, to a work featuring the cellist Maya Beiser. Then, hear Gasparyan’s duduk in a work by the Italian pianist/composer Ludovico Einaudi. There's also music from the recent release by violist Nicolas Cords (of Brooklyn Rider) playing a work by Alan Hovanhess.
Monday, September 01, 2014
Listen to music from the steppes of central Asia on this New Sounds. Hear the overtone singing of Huun Huur Tu colliding with the New York folk/world group Hazmat Modine. There’s also music from the Mongolian group, Hanggai, recorded in the WNYC studios. Hear music by Russian composer Anton Batagov and a Buddhist monk from Republic of Kalmykia. Plus, listen to other voices from the Eurasian steppes, including a singer from the Russian region of Buryatia, Namgar Lhasaranova, whose 4-person group goes by “Namgar,” and performs traditional Buryat and Mongolian music.
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.