This week’s picks bring us a beatboxing classical flutist, an indie rock take on the civil war, and saxophones from Switzerland.
The Arte Quartett: Different Worlds (Marsyas Records)
The Arte Quartett is a sax ensemble from Switzerland. They play contemporary compositions, and an odd arrangement – often very odd – of Swiss folk songs, like “L’Hioba.” Their latest album, Different Worlds, begins with a moody invocation that features an unusual sound – an instrument called the trumpetsax. The Arte Quartett also brings together the Lebanese composer Rabih Abou-Khalil, essential New Yorker John Zorn, and founding minimalist and longtime fan of Indian classical music Terry Riley. – Picked by John Schaefer [Amazon]
Project Trio - Project Trio (Harmonyville Records)
Project Trio isn't your typical chamber ensemble. Yes, the trio of flute, cello and double bass honed its craft at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and it has a collective resume that includes stints with the Cleveland Orchestra and Houston Symphony. But the group sounds a little like what you would get if you crossed Jethro Tull with an Appalachian fiddler and an 1980s rap outfit. Project Trio, based in Brooklyn, was a viral hit on YouTube first, and it probably has a something to do with Greg Pattillo, the group’s virtuosic beatboxing flutist. It’s hard to fault the group’s sheer inventiveness, as in the old Guns ‘n’ Roses cover, “Sweet Child O’Mine.” - Picked by Brian Wise [Amazon]
Titus Andronicus - The Monitor (XL)
The health care debate seems to have divided America, but remember: at one point, the country was literally divided. The New Jersey punk band Titus Andronicus has released a concept album about the American Civil War… well, sort of. The album takes its name from the famous ironclad warship The Monitor, but this is no Ken Burns documentary. The turmoil of the Civil War morphs into personal emotions, the price of freedom – and a catharsis on the Garden State. History nerds disguised as music critics are giving this album big raves. – Picked by Joel Meyer [Amazon]