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.
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.