One of the things I wanted to do during our summer hiatus is keep up the idea of the weekly Pick 3, where we suggest three recent releases that you might find worth checking out. Normally, we check in with a critic or one of our sister stations around the country, but today it’s just me, sorting through the tons of releases that have come in since we began the Soundcheck Summer Workshop last week.
1. Matthew Dear, “Her Fantasy.” A preview track from Matthew Dear’s next album, Beams, due in late August. Love the play of light and dark here: the party-ready rhythm track wouldn’t have been out of place on an early Kurtis Blow record, and the simple, repeating chord sequence adds a trancey electronica sound. But then come Dear’s multitracked vocals, reminiscent of Scary Monsters-era David Bowie, and suddenly the whole pop-song thing is upended.
2. Carla Kihlstedt & Matthias Bossi, "Merci Vielmal." Carla is probably best known as the founding violinist of the Tin Hat Trio, though she’s done many other things as well. Matthias played drums in Skeleton Key and Book of Knots. Both compose, sing, and play other instruments. They have a monthly subscription series/blog called Rabbit Rabbit Radio, wherein they write about what they’ve been up to (apparently June is Accordion Awareness Month) and release to their subscribers a new song. This one, the result of a Euro tour, mixes the various languages they heard into a softly alluring lullaby.
3. Hilary Hahn & Hauschka, “Rift.” A track from the album Silfra, the brilliant, completely unexpected pairing of one of classical music’s finest violinists with the German prepared-piano player and composer Volker Bertelman, who records as Hauschka. The results are in turn serene, surprising, and completely improvised – although structures materialize as the pieces go on, and they even revisit material in this track from earlier in the album. Watch for a podcast from them next week.