It's that time of the month again for the new releases show on New Sounds, despite the fact that it's All Hallows' Eve. John Schaefer carefully sorts through the stacks, bins, and boatloads of new CDs which have come across his desk over the past month to present some of the finest (and scariest) new releases. He'll pick the lentils from the ashes to present the cream of this crop.
This New Sounds program highlights some unexpected global collaborations- including but not limited to- Uzbeki bluegrass, musicians based in Italy who meld North African and Bollywood music, and Mardi Gras marching bands coupled with Argentinean tango flair. Listen to a Creole tango from the Boston-based Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, who regularly ride the party train down to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
From the recent New Sounds Live at the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, listen to more music by this year's Pulitzer Prize winning composer Caroline Shaw. Hear works for both of her groups, the brilliant chamber band ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble) and the vocal acrobatics of the octet Roomful of Teeth, performing the work that won the Puliitzer: Partita for 8 Voices. And more.
Hear an hour of global jazz on this New Sounds program, with unlikely combinations of instruments and worldwide influences colliding in unexpected and striking ways. Listen to pianist and composer Vijay Iyer's "Playlist For An Extreme Occasion," an eight-part work written for Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. It began as a musical interaction between sheng, tabla, and gaita, which evolved into an intricate suite for piano, gaita, percussion, tabla, sheng, violin, viola and cello. (Vijay Iyer is also the recipient of the 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called "genius" grant.)
We’ll hear the re-shaping and reworking of centuries-old music on this New Sounds. From New York composer Charles Wuorinen, we’ll hear some of his very early works (from 1962) - pieces recomposed and reworked from a German cathedral Songbook – three of the six of his “Bearbeitungen uber das Glogauer Liederbuch.”
"Post-classical Chamber Music" might be described as music that grows out of the “Classical” tradition but strips it down to the bare essentials. We’ll hear from the Belgium-based composer Sylvain Chauveau with music for piano and a couple of strings. Also, listen to music from the Italian pianist/composer Ludovico Einaudi, along with something from the German composer Max Richter’s record “memoryhouse.” Plus, new music from Christian Frederickson and the late Jason Noble (formerly of Rachel’s), for a live performance/video installation, called “The Painted Bird (Part II): Amidst.”
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma has fingered Irish music and its Celtic fiddling of being the connection between American folk music and classical music. In the North Sea region, the influence of the Scandinavian tradition with its Norwegian farmers and Vikings permeated the Celtic culture, more in Scotland than in Ireland. The roots-web is even more tangled than that once the Italian contribution to the development of the violin is considered (Antonio Stradivari in Cremona.) For this New Sounds program, listen to the shared musical territory between Celtic, Scandinavian, “early music,” & Appalachian fiddle music.
Hear new music from Uri Sharlin & the DogCat Ensemble on this New Sounds program. It’s a mixed breed (groan) group featuring guitar, accordion, and percussion trio that infuses Israel and Brazil into New York. Its members collectively have pedigrees from traditional Irish music, the Klezmer scene and orchestral music as well. Perhaps also hear music from Tribecastan and/or the Montreal-based chamber jazzers Esmerine, who most recently collaborated with Turkish musicians. Plus, a few other like-minded hybrid ensembles and more.
From the recent New Sounds Live at the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, listen to music by this year's Pulitzer Prize winning composer Caroline Shaw. Hear works for both of her groups, the brilliant chamber band ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble) and the vocal acrobatics of the octet Roomful of Teeth. Plus, hear a surprise work featuring just Caroline Shaw herself -her voice and violin, with loops and processing - called "Study for Othmar Ammann." And more.
For this New Sounds, hear music from the duo Moon Ate the Dark, which is Anna Rose Carter (piano) and Christopher Brett Bailey (treatments.) Carter provides soft peals of piano and Bailey weaves them together with dark washes of reverb, and other subtle electronic processing. There's also glitchy ambient music from Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto along with music from the Hilary Hahn & Hauschka release, "Silfra." And more.
Listen to mostly unconventional string trios involving Malagasy zither, South Indian violin, West African kora, Chinese erhu, guitars of all sorts, banjo and much more. First, hear a new collaborative trio record from Ralph Towner, Wolfgang Muthspiel, and Slava Grigoryan who are respectively, an American 12-string guitarist, an Austrian electric guitarist, and a Kazakhstan-born, Australia-based classical guitarist. Also, listen to an electric guitar work from the French guitar trio Philharmonie, in addition to a trio of Chinese erhu, Hindustani mohan vina, and American banjo. Then, folk-rock meets Carnatic music (South India) on a record from acoustic guitarist Martin Simpson, together with David Hidalgo on bajo sexton, and Viji Krishnan on violin. That, and more.
It’s a Balkan Brass Battle Royale on this New Sounds between two of the best Balkan Brass bands - Boban I Marko Markovic Orchestra from Serbia, along with Fanfare Ciocarlia from Romania. Fresh from a worldwide tour, listen to these two notorious outfits blow each other away, and play nicely together on a few tracks as well. More is just better!
For this New Sounds, we'll dive into music from South America, with much of it from Brazil & Argentina. We’ll hear some selections from the compilation from the Red Hot organization: “Red Hot and Rio,” Vol. 2, including music from Caetano Veloso, remixed by Prefuse 73, David Byrne with Caetano, and Beirut performing a Caetano song, "o Leaozinho."
Hear the Ghanaian-rooted Afrofunk band KonKoma, (now based in the U.K.), along with recent releases and/or reissues of music from South, East, and West Africa. Sample selections from Zambian miners and minstrels, music from street musicians in Malawi, and some gorgeous acoustic Afropop from Mali.
Listen to Electroacoustic music, old and new on this New Sounds program. There’s minimalist droney dream-pop from the Montreal-based outfit Saltland - which is largely cellist Rebecca Foon (of Esmerine), as well as music from composer Ingram Marshall’s haunting multimedia work “Alcatraz.” There’s also music from the Austin-hatched drone duo Stars of the Lid alongside scores for the Werner Herzog films "Aguirre" and "Nosferatu" by the German band Popul Vuh. Also, listen to some deeply unsettling and rather doomy electroacoustic work from Montreal artist Tim Hecker, and more.
Hear music for multiple electric guitars, including acoustic guitar [played by Dominic Frasca – single string processed through a laptop to sound like different instruments – namely three or so electric guitars. Listen to guitarist Dustin Wong and his very staccato overlapping parts, drawn from singing in rounds in primary school in Japan, and what might be the musical ancestor of such ideas - Pat Metheny playing Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint.
Hear music from the duo, White Canvas, whose world of sound moves between song, avant-garde and improvisation, with vocal lines over guitar-based soundscapes. The title of their record is taken from texts by the Sufi mystic and poet, Jalaluddin Rumi - “There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Also, Jocelyn Montgomery (Miranda Sex Garden) and David Lynch arrange music by the 12th-century abbess Hildegard von Bingen. Listen to Montgomery’s sublime renditions from a recording called Lux Vivens. And more.
Drummer Dave King (he of the Bad Plus) is also a pianist who leads the Dave King Trucking Company - what he calls his "Americana project." It's rock-based jazz married to traditional American folk music, or at least classic Nashville sounds of the '60s and '70s. We'll sample some of this record - "Good Old Light" on this New Sounds.
Dustin O’Halloran is an American pianist/composer based in Berlin, whose approach to solo piano music is geared to avoid being lumped into either the buttoned-up classical tradition or the vapid noodlings of new age. He has developed an introspective, cinematic, perhaps “post-classical”/”post-rock” sound, which feels atmospheric, emotive and melodically direct.
For this New Sounds, hear some loping Tamashek guitar music from the brand new record, "Aratan N Azawad" by the North Malian band, Terakaft, and some new music from the South Malian Vieux Farka Touré, with his father, Ali Farka Toure. Then take a listen to some jazzy big band music from Volker Goetze, featuring Ablaye Cissoko on kora.
It’s an all-acoustic program of music on this New Sounds, including music from Colin Jacobsen & the Silk Road Ensemble, violinist Hilary Hahn, and guitarist Kevin Hufnagel. If Hufnagel’s name sounds familiar, it could be because we heard from his ambient record “Transparencies” previously on New Sounds, or perhaps more likely, it is because of his work as a guitarist in Dysrhythmia, Gorguts, and Vaura, (largely metal outfits) among others. But on his latest release, “Ashland,” he has made a record of captivating and thoughtful instrumental miniatures built around the baritone ukulele, both prepared (with wooden file, hair elastic and sewing needle in the strings - nod to John Cage) and unaltered.
Just how much music gets made in the desert, in Asia, Africa, Australian, and here in North America? This New Sounds program sets about to answer that question, but only skims the surface. Hear both an aboriginal and Euro-centric view of the Australian Outback, along with music from the great deserts of Asia and Africa. Listen to music from both the eastern and western Sahara; from the Niger-based Tuareg group Etran Finatawa as well as music from Sudanese folk singer and bandleader Abdel Gadir Salim. Also, hear music from the Khoi San people of the Kalahari Desert.
This New Sounds program stirs some more mixtures into the global music melting pot with traditional Macedonian folksong performed by Polish band with African name – Dikanda, and some Balkan brass band music from Boban Markovic. There’s also something from Hanggai, a Chinese band that combines traditional Mongolian overtone singing with Western rock and jazz.
Hear new music based on baroque forms like passacaglias, bourrees and courantes on this New Sounds. Hear a passacaglia from Caroline Shaw, the Pulitzer Prize-winning NYC-based composer from her “Partita for 8 Voices,” a suite of many dance forms. This winning work was written for the vocal group Roomful of Teeth, who are themselves something like a world music rock concert high wire act. There’s also a toccata for Indonesian gamelan, along with contemporary takes on the 400 year old Italian dance form - the passacaglia- from Danish lute player Rolf Lislevand, and more.
For this New Sounds, listen to some of the remarkable and unexpected collaboration between concert violinist and improviser Hilary Hahn & the German composer and keyboard player, Hauschka. They perform for us works for violin and prepared piano, based on their record, "Silfra," which was named for the crack in Iceland between the American and Eurasian continents where the continental plates meet and drift apart about 2cm per year. Interestingly, these live performances are different from the ones on "Silfra," because all of the pieces are improvised.
On this New Sounds, hear live performances by Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, along with the Todd Reynolds Quartet from the record release party for Monk’s ECM release, “Songs of Ascension,” recorded in May of 2011 in the Jerome L. Greene Space.
There's a new generation of musicians coming from classical or rock finding inspiration in olde English folksongs, love songs and murder ballads. It's another round of mining the old for the new, which hearkens back to the 1960's, when English outfits like Pentagle and Fairport convention looked back to traditional folk songs. For this New Sounds, listen to arrangements of folk tunes by Jim Moray, Emily Portman, and the Juice Vocal Ensemble, to name a few.
Sunda is the western portion of the island of Java, in Indonesia. For this New Sounds, listen to the music from both that region and from western bands like Tribecastan, the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan of Canada, from Sabah Habas Mustapha, a member of London group 3 Mustaphas 3, and much more. Hear music by Sasha Bogdanowitsch written for the group Pusaka Sunda. The work, “If There Be Rivers, All Will Blossom,” is for Gamelan Degung, the chamber-sized gamelan ensemble which usually features the suling (flute), and is about the importance of keeping faith in life, and maintaining creativity in hardship.
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steve Reich, one of the founding fathers of minimalism, and one whose influence is vast and wide over rockers, electronic musicians, choreographers and visual artists, also dubbed "the hippest composer alive," (Schaefer, 2006) celebrates his birthday today. To mark the occasion, we'll hear an hour devoted to Steve Reich & his music - the less well-known pieces.
This New Sounds program presents music from Mali, but focuses on recordings from 2012 (mostly), the year when the country was split by civil war & the Islamist takeover of the north; and the subsequent intervention by the French army and neighboring countries. Despite this period of violence, and the ban on music due to strict interpretation of Sharia law in the northern part of the country, there has been a whole bunch of incredible music, both imbued with defiance, and straight pleas for peace, making its way out of Mali. Hear new music from Rokia Traoré, who has temporarily relocated to Paris for the safety of her young son, during the Malian conflict. Also, listen to a prayer for peace from guitarist /singer/songwriter Sidi Touré (who is appearing this Saturday, 10/5 at BAM Cafe).
For this New Sounds, head to the north with music from Scandinavian composers, and works from Iceland. Listen to music by Swedish nyckelharpa innovator Johan Hedin from the record “Angel Archipelago," together with an all-star cast of Scandinavian music luminaries like multi-instrumentalist Ale Möller, accordionist Maria Kalaniemi, electronics man Frode Fjellheim, and horn player Jonas Knutsson.