Fresh from the shrinkwrap, the internet, and live burial on John Schaefer's desk, it's this month's new releases! However we might have tracked these down, we can assure you that these are the pick of the piles, things that might live up to the blog/media hype, and the newest, weirdest, most appealing music you might hear all month.
This New Sounds program is one devoted to the Latin Groove, especially the cumbia rhythms that we’ll hear in several pieces on this show. We’ll begin in Argentina with Chancha via Circuito, the alter ego of producer Pedro Canale, who enjoys chopping up and then mixing folk guitar, flutes, and Coke-bottle percussion to make retrofitted cumbia for the clubs.
Sample music from unusual dance scores on this New Sounds program. Listen to music from the New York trio, Spanish Fly - consisting of slide trumpet player/composer Steven Bernstein, slide guitar mastermind Dave Tronzo and tuba genius Marcus Rojas- which draws on famous American folksongs. Some of that trio’s music was used for the production of “Fly by Night” by the San Francisco Ballet.
This New Sounds program focuses on tunes that are hard to pin down, and always limn the boundaries between all sorts of jazz. Listen to the Artichaut Orkestra, who mix klezmer and classical into their freewheeling originals, incorporating furious accordion, a weepy clarinet, and electric guitar. Then, there’s a jazz trio from Portugal, LAMA, whose double-bassist loops his rhythmic lines, assisted by a pedal box, while the trumpet is digitally processed in real time, all aided by groovy drums.
The new music string quartet Brooklyn Rider certainly does get around. They’ve been part of Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, recorded Debussy, write and perform their own originals, and even collaborated with the kemenchech (Persian fiddle) virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor. They’ve just released a record of all five string quartets by Philip Glass. Brooklyn Rider joins us in the studio for this New Sounds program, and they’ve brought an extra player – the Celtic fiddler Martin Hayes (of County Clare.)
Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy joins us to present some recent recordings, featuring Ireland’s leading new music group, the Crash Ensemble, and the sean nos singer Iarla O Lionaird. Inspired by the sean nos tradition, we'll hear Dennehy's "Aisling Gheal" (Bright Vision) together with "AsAnNos." Plus, the Crash Ensemble plays music by David Lang and Terry Riley, along with some of their New Sounds Live concert from Merkin Hall from a few years ago.
Hear music from south of the border, from the Mayan-influenced flute playing of Horacio Franco to the electronica of Café Tacuba; with Kronos Quartet. Also, music from Lila Downs, music by Antonio Zepeda, Ariel Guzik, and more.
For this New Sounds, listen to some abstract soundscapes from Poland, from Berlin via an Icelandic composer, and from Brooklyn-based musicians as well. Hear a soundscape from the Berlin-based Icelandic one-woman band Kira Kira, from her record Feathermagnetik. Also, listen to something from Brooklyn-based electronic artist Laurel Halo, featuring the voice as instrument. Then, there's a percussion-centric work, "6," one of the number pieces from John Cage (who would have been 100 next month), and a percussive soundscape by another Brooklyn-based musician, drummer/composer Tim Kuhl.
Songs and the singers who sing them from around the world is the focus of this New Sounds. Sample the record by Neneh Cherry and Scandinavian jazz trio, the Thing who named themselves after a Don Cherry composition. That powerful Nordic three-oh is saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love.
For this New Sounds, we’ll hear from both Meredith Monk and David Hykes, two pioneers in what is now called “extended vocal technique.” Composer, vocalist, choreographer, and innovator Meredith Monk has lately been expanding into the worlds of orchestra and string quartet. And on her release, "Songs of Ascension" she achieves a new balance with her pairing of voice and instruments together with a combination of East and West in the shruti box (a drone instrument from India) together with string quartet.
Hear a load of border-crossing collaborations for this New Sounds, including a danceable Bhangra tune (dance music from the Indian subcontinent) by a Budapest-based Balkan brass band. Then there’s Bangladeshi interpretation of Afro-Latin styles by LokKhi TeRa, a London-based collective who have taken in the streets of Bangladesh, the Afrobeat clubs of Nigeria, the cantinas of Cuba and the beaches of Brazil. On their tune, "Shokhi Kunjo Shajoa,"Indian flute soars over Cuban Santéria-style chants, steady percussion and keyboard flourishes, before horns take it higher and sweet Bengali vocals take it higher still.
For this New Sounds program, we’ll listen to music inspired by birdsong, whether it’s by composers who are birders, or naturalists. Some of these sounds are electronically processed, and some are recreated acoustically. We’ll listen to Alaska-based John Luther Adams’ recording “Songbirdsongs,” where an ocarina imitates the birdsong, along with music from Tasmanian Ron Nagorcka played on digeridoo and with samples from the cockatiel family. Plus music from producer Chris Hughes, his “Slow Motion Blackbird,” and music from Maria Schneider as well.
This New Sounds is chock-a-block full of unusually textured new music, featuring some percussion-based works and other recent arrivals which may or may not incorporate wind families of clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, and then add to that hammered dulcimer, zither, marimba and/or accordion.
For this New Sounds, we'll listen to some musical postcards from well-traveled slide-guitarist Bob Brozman. From Papua New Guinea, to Mali, and then on a collaboration with Indian slide guitarist Debashish Battachrya, Brozman supports the case that music has no borders. Plus, music from Malian guitarist Lobi Traore, the boundary-breaking band Not Drowning, Waving, and more.
On this New Sounds, listen to pieces combining guitar(s) and strings with quasi-orchestral sounds, including a preview of the forthcoming record by guitar virtuoso Kaki King (pictured left), that features the string quartet, ETHEL. The tune we've picked is "The Fire Eater," from Kaki's "GLOW," due out in October. Also, hear "Dream Lightly," a work by New York-based composer Keeril Makan in collaboration with the American Composers Orchestra that uses the chiming and harmonics of electric guitar.
For this New Sounds, listen to selections from Sarah Kirkland Snider's epic song cycle, Penelope. From a New Sounds Live recorded in March of 2011 at Merkin Hall as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival, hear composer/vocalist Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond. together with the versatile sextet yMusic. Also, yMusic performs Snider's instrumental piece, "Daughter of the Waves."
Hear new versions of old English folksongs on this New Sounds. Listen to several dramatic takes of the traditional English song "John Barleycorn (Must Die)," which might be as old as the 1300's, and was popularized by the band Traffic. The song tells the story of the grain from planting to harvest and beyond, including the making of sweet ale. There's also the traditional tune that tells the adulterous tale of "Matty Groves," also known as "Little Musgrave."
Guitarist/bassist Jason Noble, a quiet pioneer in the style of "post-rock," passed away last week. He was 40 years old. On this New Sounds, hear some of his work with bands like Rachel's and the Young Scamels. Also, there's other "post-rock" music from bands like Tortoise, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Clogs, and more.
For this New Sounds, try on some layered voices in music by Julianna Barwick. A superchoir of many Juliannas combines with warm drones and hypnotic piano to bring to mind Sigur Rós in a glacial cathedral. Plus, there's also music from Toby Twining's latest, "Eurydice," which began as a score for Sarah Ruhl's play of the same name, and evolved into a many voiced interpretation of the Orpheus myth. Those works, and much more.
Guitar duos and trios are what we’ll hear on this New Sounds program. There’s music from an old LP featuring the duo of guitarist Nels Cline, playing acoustic, along with the late bassist Eric von Essen. Also, there’s music from the Rosetta trio led by bass player Stephan Crump, on a recording called Reclamation, which partners double bass with both acoustic and electric guitar.
Listen to groups that mix and match freely from many of the world’s different musical traditions on this New Sounds. There's pan-cultural music by Iceland’s Bardukha, who mix Balkan and Klezmer and from New York’s Tribecastan, who sound something like Arabic jazz-folk music. Plus London’s 3 Mustaphas 3, Israel’s Balkan Beat Box, and more.
For this New Sounds listen to new works for lots of drums and other things to beat on, especially the University of North Texas Percussion Ensemble playing music by Graham Fitkin, from a recent recording, "Vespertine Formations." Also, there's music for percussion based on American minimalism, and works informed by Indonesian gamelan. Plus, listen to music from Swedish jazz drummer/composer Bengt Berger inspired by Ghanaian funeral drumming.
On this New Sounds, there's new music for bass, both electric and upright, bowed, plucked, or slapped, some bottom-heavy and grounding, some emotive and noodley - like the moody suite for electric bass by Jeffrey Roden, called "Seeds of Happiness." There's also music about salt. Yes, salt and salt marshes.
From the New Sounds Live Concert Series, we'll hear part of Bobby Previte's "Terminals," a set of five pocket concertos for five different soloists and orchestra, which had its premiere exactly one month ago tonight at Merkin Hall as part of the closing concert of the Ecstatic Music Festival. So Percussion is the "orchestra" for these works, which left space for the soloists to bring their own improvising voices to the work — voices that Previte knows well from years of collaboration with each.
Dig into some music from threatened cultures on this New Sounds program, including the Garifuna of Central America, the Sami of northern Scandinavia, the Wulu Bunun of central Taiwan, and more. Listen to music from Watina by the late Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective, which strives to keep the Garifuna culture alive and relevant.
For this New Sounds, we’ll hear three recordings that feature a blend of acoustic instruments and electronic processing. From a score to the new film by Bill Morrison, “The Miners’ Hymns,” listen to organ, brass ensemble, and electronics, by the master of mixing electronic and acoustic sounds - Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.
Listen to Eastern Voices on this New Sounds Program. There’s music from Ukranian composer Valentin Silvestrov inspired by the liturgical chant of the Russian Orthodox Church where only voices are allowed. Silvestrov uses voice and chorus to create bell-like effects, which happens to be the exact thing that Estonian composer Arvo Part’s known for - tintinnabuli. We’ll hear works by Part as well.
For this New Sounds, we'll hear the grim and gripping classic "O Death," sung by the legendary bluegrass singer Ralph Stanley, along with composer Oscar Bettison’s work by the same name. Bettison’s “O Death” is a seven-movement requiem masque which mixes saxophones, trombone, banjo and piano with jaw's harps, harmonicas, recorders, metal mixing bowls, melodica, flower pots and prepared wrenches. Bettison's recording of the piece is performed by Ensemble Klang, and features liner notes by Alex Ross.
Hear some long and winding music from Joanna Newsom's arresting and spectacularly arranged record, "Ys," for harp and voice. Also, there's Catalan, Spanish and Arabic poems set to music by Arianna Savall (yes, daughter of Jordi, THAT Savall) from her release "Bella Terra," along with works by Paris-based new-music harpist Hélène Breschand, from her solo effort "Le goût du sel." Plus, music that sneaks between the cracks of chamber music and noise from harpist Shelley Burgon and bassist Trevor Dunn, a tune from Bjork with harpist Zeena Parkins and more.
On this New Sounds, it’s all about horns, groove, and the urge to shake one’s money-maker. Hear the latest from Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, a Klezmer/Balkan/Brazilian/New Orleans-inspired collection “Carnival Conspiracy.” This record might help to temporarily reverse the social order, shake things up, and shock people into new ways of experiencing the world – along with bringing together the intellectual, the booty shaker, and the Hasid. Plus it’s fun!
Hear the startling sounds of horns...of the North...on this New Sounds. There's Alpine music for horns by the Russian composer Arkady Shilkloper, a member of the Moscow Art Trio, along with Danish composer Niels-Ole Bo Johansen's trombones and electronics. Not to be outdone, Hauschka, (aka German pianist/composer Volker Bertelmann), has been at it again. This time a playful collaborative “post-classical” record, “Salon des Amateurs,” with Calexico members John Convertino and Joe Burns, múm’s drummer Samuli Kosmine, and a guest spot by violinist Hilary Hahn.