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.
It's the most wonderful time of the month! For this program, John Schaefer presents the pick of the piles. There's music from Madagascar, Ethiopia, Poland, and India, to name a few. Listen to Malagasy blues from Lala Njava, somkething from Mulatu Astatke's latest featuring Fatoumata Diawara, and Polish folk music singers accompanying themselves with kitchen instruments. There's also a brand-new selection from the forthcoming "Red Hot & Fela" compilation as done by members of TV on the Radio, Kronos Quartet, and Stuart Bogie, the musical director of the broadway show, "Fela!" And more.
The thumb piano, which in Zimbabwe, is called “mbira,” in Uganda, “kalimba,” in the Congo, “likembe,” – is an instrument made of a wooden board to which staggered metal keys have been attached. We’ll have an hour of music involving the thumb piano for this New Sounds program, from a gentle song by Arthur Russell, interpreted by Jens Lekman to the Kronos Quartet, to the psychedelic electronic music in the Congotronics series of records.
Hear song and dances in the music of Southern Italy on this New Sounds. There’s music from Enzo Avitabile* together with the band Botari, using traditional percussion - that of barrels, wine casks, and scythes. We'll also hear to a requiem incorporating the accelerated ecstatic drumming of Alessandra Belloni, with its roots in pre-Christian music. Then, listen to music from Taranta Power, harnessing the taranta, or tarantella, one of the world’s great surviving ecstatic trance traditions. Plus, music by Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, featuring kora master Ballaké Sissoko, and more.
There’s music inspired by Sci-Fi books & film for this New Sounds program. Listen to the internet opera and sonic book by Mendi & Keith Obadike, “The Sour Thunder,” which consists of two simultaneous stories; Mendi traveling with a friend to study Afro-Dominican culture and tracing the slave trade through the Dominican Repulic, and that of a state called Solaika Dast, where scent is the method of communication. There’s also recent music by Londoner Pete M. Wyer, his “Planet 49,” a response to the Danny Boyle film, “Sunshine” about a mission in 2057 to set off a nuclear bomb to reignite our dying sun.
This New Sounds offers music from a few of the eight member Common Sense Composers Collective (San Francisco/New York City-based.) From a collaborative recording with the New Millennium Ensemble, listen to a lovely work with some sighing glissandos, “Alternative Music” by Randall Woolf. Also from the collective, there’s a chamber music work by Carolyn Yarnell, “Lapis Lazuli.” Plus, hear music by Canadian composer and guitarist Tim Brady, featuring electric guitar, electronics and the Penderecki String Quartet.
For this New Sounds, we’ll listen to a rendering of of Steve Reich’s early classic piece, “Drumming” by the music producer Chris Hughes (Tears for Fears, Adam & the Ants) from a reissue of the well-kept “secret” 1994 record, "Shift." It’s an homage to Reich, where Hughes reworks “Drumming,” shifting its interlocking patterns and their evolutions to different sound sources – mesmerizing gamelan sequences, and loops and other melodic percussion.
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.
This New Sounds program explores the impact that the subgenre known as “glitch” music has had on the new music world. Listen to Daniel Wohl’s piece, “Glitch,” as performed by the Calder Quartet interacting with electronics from a New Sounds Live in collaboration with the Ecstatic Music Festival.
This New Sounds is the companion program to last night's show, where we'll not be limited to English-language poets. Look forward to texts by Rumi (Persian poet and mystic), set by Philip Glass. Also, listen for poetry by Pablo Neruda in a setting by Osvaldo Golijov. Plus, music by 17th century Alevi-Bektashi poets, as rendered by the band Niyaz and their vocalist Azam Ali, and more music with poetry by Pablo Neruda, and perhaps text by Rainer Maria Rilke, and more.
From the classical art songs of Schumann and Schubert that used as their text words by great poets of the day to brand-new Appalachian blues music just recorded by Martha Redbone set to works of William Blake, this New Sounds program explores poetry in song. Sample from Redbone’s new album, “The Garden of Love - Songs of William Blake” and its hollered melodies, lullabies, and folky mountain takes on the Romantic 18th century English poetry.
This New Sounds explores music that plays with ideas of texture, drone and space. Hear Norwegian composer/drummer Erland Dahlen conjure dark experimental soundscapes mostly based around his Slingerland Rolling Bomber drum kit from World War II. Dahlen plays with an arsenal of electronics, small percussion, and even a saw, overlaying them into haunting and hypnotic atmospheres, enhanced by the drum tones of the rosewood drum kit.
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.
For this New Sounds, it's an hour of Muslim world music. Listen to rare archival footage of the Fez Festival in Morocco recorded by John Schaefer in 2001, along with a live performance by the Mojdeh Ensemble from 1994. Plus, music from the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (& Party), from a live performance in our studios, recorded in 1993.
There’s plenty of music built around cello(s) and violin(s) on this New Sounds program. We’ll start with a polyrhythmic work from Clogs, a quartet containing guitarist/composer Bryce Dessner and composer/arranger/string performer Padme Newsome. Then, listen to music by Bryce Dessner for the American cellist Zach Miskin. Based in Paris, Miskin intends to “push the limits of the cello.” He wants “to take the instrument out of its classical ‘box’ and travel with it through beautifully crafted loops and overdubs, solo passages in songs and in samples, while of course exploring the exotic territory of improvisation.” We’ll hear more of his musical deviations in another work by Nick Zammuto (the Books.)
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.
Sample an hour of global music, some rooted in traditional instruments, and some music that brings the west aboard as well. Listen to some frenetic Turkish Roma (gypsy) music by the virtuoso Cüneyt Sepetçi & Orchestra Dolapdere, along with music from the nomadic Tuareg people of the Sahara desert. Then, there’s music recorded on the border of Cameroon and the Congo, as well as something from the star-studded outfit Rocket Juice & the Moon - featuring Damon Albarn, Tony Allen, Flea, Fatoumata Diawara and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Plus, brand-new music from Ethiopian jazzer Mulatu Astatke and something new from Syrian singer and dabke artist Omar Souleyman. And more.
Listen to some post-rock music on this New Sounds program. Hear a collaborative film score by the Austin, TX band, Explosions in the Sky, who, together with David Wingo, have made the soundtrack to the independent film “Prince Avalanche.” It’s a step back from the dramatic swells of the “Friday Night Lights” era and never builds to those crescendos, yet still works as a piece of aural cinema.
Listen to music by pianist/composers in a nocturnal vein on this New Sounds program. There’s music from the Berlin-based pianist and piano-builder Davide Martello, who may be best known for showing up with his hand-made grand piano during the protests in Taksim Square to "inspire politicians through music." Also, listen to music from Italian pianist/composer Ludovico Einaudi along with music by the late Dutch composer Simeon Ten Holt.
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.
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 "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.
You probably don’t speak Udmurtian. Or Vepsian. Or Ivorian, Karelian Finnish, or Livonian. They are all Finno-Ugric languages – relatives of Finnish and Hungarian – that are spoken in what was the former Soviet Union. Overwhelmed by Russian, they have not survived as well as Finnish, Hungarian, or even Estonian. Some only have a few dozen speakers. That’s why musicians like Veljo Tormis, the group Hedningarna, and Markku Ounaskari & Samuli Mikkonen have become so interested in the folk songs of these people. We’ll hear these songs in arrangements for chorus, rock band, and jazz ensemble on this New Sounds.
Listen to as much brass band music as we can handle on this New Sounds program. From Egypt to Rajastan, from New Orleans to Benin, there's party music aplenty. Hear music from the soundtrack to the film "Brasslands," documenting the pilgrimage of New York-based Zlatne Uste to the 50th annual trumpet competition in a tiny Serbian village, Guča. Then, listen to the Gangbé Brass Band from Benin and their unexpected collaboration with the Belgian band Jaune Toujours.
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.
Hear music made using noise gates on this New Sounds program. How does it work? Basically, when open, a gate allows you to hear the sound behind it, but when closed, you don’t. (Here’s a handy tutorial about gates.) Listen to music from A. Leroy (Dick Connette) as he takes a recording of a Mardi Gras Indian song and through the use of gating, turns it into a rhythm track. Also, hear Joshua Fried’s musical shoes, as played with drumsticks in the service of Linda Fisher’s piece, “Big Mouth,” featuring cartoon music and sound effects, from a live performance recorded back in 1990.
As host John Schaefer observed about the previous show, it was dominated by music from men, so to keep the air fair, this New Sounds program contains works by women. Preview the forthcoming record by Juliana Barwick, “Nepenthe,” featuring countless fragments of her voice electronically layered to create soaring choral music. Then, listen to selections from a song cycle by Leah Kardos based on themes of technology, loneliness and the human condition. All of the texts have been taken from a few years of collected spam emails.
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.”
Composer Darcy James Argue thinks big. His band, The Secret Society, is a 17- or 18-piece ensemble (there were 18 this time) brass-heavy big band, with electric guitar, bass, keys and drums. The band was formed to play Argue’s music, but in our New Sounds Live concert at Merkin Hall, on February 24, 2011, that changed. In an appropriately big way. The band presented world premieres by three different composers – none of them named Darcy James Argue. Tonight, we’ll hear the first performances of “Three Fragments” by award-winning, big-brained jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer, and “Lock The Door, Swallow The Key,” a stomping work from the gifted young Canadian composer Nicole Lizee.
Philip Glass’s piano works have had a longstanding and widespread influence – on the so-called Post-minimalist composers, but also on musicians working in the electronic dance world. One of them is Francesco Tristano, who brings electronica’s repeating motifs back to the piano in his solo piece “The Melody.” We’ll hear that, as well as several of William Duckworth’s “Time Curve Preludes,” often considered the first major Post-minimalist work, and a work from the late Canadian composer Ann Southam directly inspired by Glass’s piano works.
For this New Sounds, listen to music inspired by El Camino, the ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, thought to be the final resting place of the Saint James. There’s music from the late Canadian violinist Oliver Schroer, who took the journey to “Finis Terra” (the end of the earth) on foot. He wrote pieces about it and took field recordings.
Hear new blues on tonight's New Sounds, including music from the likes of Bobby McFerrin and the recent record "Spirityouall." McFerrin takes two lines from Psalm 25, "'You know my eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare," and turns them into a deeply bluesy spiritual. Also, listen to arrangements of Skip James and Charlie Patton blues by Chris Thomas King and the Soldier String Quartet.