Episode #2937

Ambient Electroacoustic Music

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Hear some ambient electro-acoustic music by composer, pianist, and self-taught studio manipulator Jon Hopkins on this edition of New Sounds.  Hopkins' music toes the lines between many genres, merging digital dance-trance coldness with shimmering deep textures. 

Also, listen to some ambient electronica from the Alaska-based John Luther Adams.  Adams has recently moved away from electronics and into more acoustic chamber music but on "The Place We Began," he goes back to his own beginnings with tape music. Plus, there's some barely-there stasis music from Alva Noto/Ryuichi Sakamoto, and more.

PROGRAM # 2937 Ambient Electro-Acoustica (First aired on Fri. 5/15/09)





Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ensemble Modern


H,J broken line 1, excerpt [1:30]

Raster-Noton R-N 096 available via Forced Exposure

John Luther Adams

The Place We Began

At a still place [12:30]

Cold Blue 0032

Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ensemble Modern


Transition, broken line 1 [6:30]

See above.

Jon Hopkins


The Low Places [6:30]

Domino DNO227CD
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Chas Smith


Ghosts on the Windows [12:00]

Cold Blue 0029

Daniel Lanois


Todos Santos [5:30]

Anti 86767** *

Comments [2]

Whitney Eisenwinter

In reference to comments made re the Lanois piece: a lap steel guitar is simply that, a solid body electric steel guitar of various number strings played on the lap. The very same instrument on legs is called a console or non-pedal steel guitar. A pedal steel guitar stands on four legs with a rack of foot pedals spanning the front two. Each pedal affects the pitch of determined strings to create either chord changes or melody lines while moving a steel bar across the strings. Knee levers do the same thing on different strings, or for a different set of pitch changes. It can be played standing up, although rarely, but is mostly played sitting down, never in the lap, for obvious reasons.

Jul. 03 2011 12:21 AM
Stephen from New York

Despite the fact that I am very warm to music described these days as "genre-bending" or that "toes the lines", there is something about this kind of description that does not settle well with me, because for me it seems that in "new music" or "contemporary classical music" this sort of description should already be a given. I mean shouldn't each composer and piece that deserves the term "new music" already defy such descriptions rather than sound like a regurgitation or improvisation over the same or practically the same musical structure. The fact that each composer or even piece that deserves the term "new music" should have at least on some level something unique and unheard of before without lines or genre seems to be a given. The sort of mindset obsessed with genres seems to be more akin with popular music, which despite its good points and gigantic development, and despite the fact that "new music" has tons to learn from it, is in my mind intrinsically limited and fundamentally warped in that it is basically improvisation over a pre-existing structure rather than composition and creation of new musical ideas. I think it simply needs to be said in this wonderful blossoming or renaissance of new music that we are experiencing, especially in NY, that we need to be careful of distinguishing music which is integrally courageous and unique and with fresh ideas, from popular music wearing a different hat. And the very fact that there is an obsession with "genre" and "lines" these days makes me worry about the integrity of critics and composers because as I said, I feel like this kind of mindset shows a real limitation in one's perception of music.

Jul. 02 2011 08:29 AM

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