It's that time of the month again for the new releases show on New Sounds. John Schaefer carefully sorts through the stacks, bins, and towers of new CDs, records, and bandcamp sites which have come across his desk or into his email over the past month to present some choice cuts. We hope to hear from Amadou & Miriam, BMOP and Evan Ziporyn, and the local Brooklyn outfit Choban Elektrik, as well as a host of other choice recordings.
Gyan Riley, composer, guitarist, and son of new music legend Terry Riley, visits the studio for a live performance, and to present a work inspired by Bach, and commissioned by the New York Guitar Festival. Also, there's recently recorded trio music from Gyan, including experiments with improvisation, and roots in chamber music. Plus, the Irish-African titled, yet also Indian- and Spanish-sounding stand-alone little ditty of a new work for guitar, "Irican."
For this New Sounds, listen to some new music film scores by the likes of John Zorn, and keyboardist, composer and producer Wayne Horvitz. Plus, from Greece, there's music by Eleni Karaindrou, along with music from Michael Nyman and Philip Glass. And much more.
Bang on a Can, the composers collective and revolutionary force hatched a quarter century ago as a plot in an East Village diner, celebrates a milestone 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.
Hear works for acoustic instruments and electronics, with the combinations of piano and electronics, violin and electronics, or a small ensemble using no electronics at all on this New Sounds program. We'll listen to Open Graves with Stuart Dempster recorded way down in a water cistern, which sounds very processed, although it was all acoustic.
When Icelandic art-rock band Sigur Rós (sometimes falling into classical or minimalist camps, sometimes labeled post-rock, but always ethereal) was on a short hiatus, their members were busy, either spending time with their babies or presenting world premieres. On November 15, 2010, John Schaefer was on location at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle near Lincoln Center for the White Light Festival where Kjartan Sveinsson (Sigur Rós multi-instrumentalist) and Jónsi Birgisson (voice of Sigur Rós) presented new works. For this New Sounds, we’ll sample some of these live performances.
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.
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.”
It's an hour of cover songs, New Sounds-style, with many familiar tunes in unexpected arrangements. We'll hear Pink Floyd, Stravinsky, Black Sabbath and Satie for this program. Listen as Marco Benevento and Julio Resende rework Pink Floyd songs and the new music ensemble Fireworks presents a version of the Rite of Spring. Plus, the Bad Plus hits it with "Ironman" and Marc Sloan reworks Erik Satie's Gnossienes. And much more.
Since the "raga-rock" craze of the late 60s, Indian music has been mixed with Western music - with mixed results. On this New Sounds, we’ll hear some current efforts in chamber music, jazz, ambient, and dance music, from the Neel Murgai Ensemble, the Acoustic Mandala Project, Natraj, and DJ Cheb I Sabbah. Plus, music from Indian guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya, who fuses Indian and Western music on both slide guitar and slide ukelele.
For this New Sounds, listen to indie artists straddle the divide between world music, ambient and electronica as they incorporate or approximate traditional instruments, traditional sounds, and take the results well out of indie rock-land. We'll hear from the Tradi-Mods Vs Rockers record, the latest in the Congotronics series, where carefully chosen artists have recorded homages to the original source material - landing someplace between reinventions and cover versions, and often go as far as being worthy of the dancefloor.
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.
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.”
There’s music from Finland for this New Sounds, which is a musical hotbed of many genres: classical, folk, weirdly dressed heavy metal rock bands, and some of the less easily defined new music types. We’ll hear from accordion virtuoso Maria Kalaniemi along with something else for accordion (& electronics) by Kimmo Pohjonen.
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.
Limning that boundary between chamber and classical on the one side and rock and electronica on the other, is composer/producer Valgeir Sigurðsson's score for “Draumalandið” (“Dreamland”), a documentary about the exploitation of Iceland's natural resources. Sigurðsson is probably best known for working with Bjork, but for this record of anxious and driving music, he has teamed up with his Bedroom Community labelmates; composer/arranger Nico Muhly, industrial doomster Ben Frost, and folksinger Sam Amidon, among others. We’ll hear from Sigurðsson’s record for this New Sounds, and much more.
For this New Sounds, take a listen to the new kind of art song. There are some traditional America hymns, spirituals, and folk songs, recast as art songs, arranged into an unsettled and haunted landscape by George Crumb. It’s something that composer Charles Ives did nearly 100 years before Crumb. We’ll also hear music by Ives, as performed by Theo Bleckmann and the quintet Kneebody – a group who uses piano, trumpet, saxophone, bass, drums and some effects.
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.
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.
For this New Sounds program, it's a step beyond your pocket calculator -we'll hear all sorts of arrangements of Kraftwerk songs. There'll be an acoustic version of "The Mirror Stage" featuring lutenist Josef van Wissem and guitarist Gary Lucas.
Listen to music for cello and voice on this edition of New Sounds. We’ll hear a few selections from "The Escape Artist," a new opera by composer, vocalist & cellist Robert Een. He worked with Meredith Monk for fifteen years, culminating the creation of their hour-long music-theater duet, "Facing North," and his writing, including this opera, employs extended techniques for both voice and cello.
We’ll hear a quintessential Philip Glass piece, “Glassworks” (1981) from a live recording made in April of 2010 at the Manhattan venue Le Poisson Rouge. Featuring the super-tight new music all-star ensemble, Signal, conducted by Brad Lubman with keyboardist/composer Michael Riesman, this happens to have been the New York premiere. For this New Sounds, we’ll sample from the six-part work and listen to music by other keyboardist/composers for hybrid ensembles.
This New Sounds program features music for wind instruments, like Lebanese Arabic-groove music for the ney flute by Bassam Saba, and Andy Statman's clarinet, as heard in Hassidic tunes that he's arranged on his release, "Between Heaven and Earth." Plus, music by Igor Leonardi from Slovenia, music from Bulgaria, from Turkey, and perhaps even some music from Georgia.
For this New Sounds, listen to the new recording, "September Canons" featuring violinist Todd Reynolds performing a piece written for him by American composer Ingram Marshall. It’s a soaring, searing work for violin with electronic processing, and is a "lamentation on the events of September 11, 2001."
This New Sounds offers music from the Christian mystic tradition from the 12th to the 20th centuries. There’s music from Dutch composer and lute player Jozef van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch, from their “Concerning the Entrance into Eternity,” with titles that come from Swedish scientist, philospher, & Christian mystic Emanuel Swedenborg. One of the works also contains poetry by the Spanish language poet and theologian (Saint) John of the Cross.
This New Sounds program takes a new look at the ancient form of ritual music for evening prayer – Vespers. This evening prayer service, also known as “eveningsong,” is found in both Western and Eastern (Byzantine) Catholicism, along with Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, and some Protestant denominations as well. The idea was to have a service at sunset, when the sun’s angle would hit the church and set it aglow with magical light through the stained glass windows.
Electric-guitar based ambient music created in the moment by Robert Fripp is what you’ll hear on this New Sounds. Best known as the founder and leader of King Crimson, he developed a tape-looping technique eventually dubbed “Frippertronics,” which he used when he worked with Brian Eno in the mid 1970’s. (Fripp also formed an acoustic steel string performance-ensemble - the League of Crafty Guitarists in the mid-80’s - which has influenced countless guitarists.)
From the melodious inflections of phone messages, listen to a number of works sourcing voicemails, most from tape(!) on this New Sounds program. Hear Irish composer Roger Doyle’s “Memento Mori,” composed around intimate verbal time capsules culled from various answering machine messages of Doyle's family, close friends and partners, all of them recorded and preserved in the late 80's.
For this New Sounds, we’ll hear an hour of songs without words, maybe even without voices. This kind of tradition reaches back to Felix Mendelssohn and his Lieder ohne Worte (Songs without Words), and his series of short, lyrical piano pieces. Two Norwegian musicians, saxophonist Trygve Seim & pianist Andreas Utnem, have just released a new recording of similarly lyrical songs – without voices or words – called Purcur. It was recorded in a church in Oslo, and manages to work in the sound of the room’s personality. We’ll hear some of these folk-rootsy lyrical songs for saxophone and piano and more.
For this New Sounds, composer and curator Daniel Figgis visits the studio to present megamixes from the Irish showcase for original music and video commissions called Snakes & Ladders: An Entertainment. This multi-media live "happening" has toured Ireland and now makes its way to New York’s Symphony Space. Listen to works by composer Roger Doyle, along with a recording of the cleaning of the Belvedere Theatre, and Uileann pipes with pedals. The music performances run the gamut of disciplines, encompassing musique concrete, piano recital, free-improvisation, avant folk, metal, arena rock, and electronica, all accompanied by new video works.