Sir BN's best of 2014 list . . .

  1. - As I did last year, I will post a number of albums, mostly reposts from the two N&N threads.

    Starting with the most fascinating colaboration between two Danish artists:
    Svævninger can perhaps best be translated to "Floatings"

    This album is maybe the most significant Musique Concrete / Electronica release from Denmark, ever !
    - An album that belongs in the history books.

    - " . . . . Despite an age difference of 51 years, Else Marie Pade and Jacob Kirkegaard speak a similar musical language and are prominent listeners and communicators of sounds that we tend to overhear. For the first time these two pioneers are collaborating on a new work: SVÆVNINGER investigates the variations that one can hear when sound waves collide. Both artists have previously worked on this phenomenon; Jacob Kirkegaard in his work Labyrinthitis (2007) and Else Marie Pade in her work "Faust Suite" (1962). For their new joint piece SVÆVINGER, they remixed some of Pade's early (and hitherto unreleased) sound experiments with some of Kirkegaard's recordings from his own ear, thus leading the audience straight into the undiscovered labyrinths of their own hearing."
    Important Records

    - "Else Marie Pade (b. 1924) is one of the pioneers of electronic music in Denmark. From the beginning of the 1950s, she, in close co-operation with technicians and assistants on Radio Denmark, produced a substantial amount of concrete and electronic music, partly in the shape of independent works for radio broadcasts, partly in the shape of accompaniments to various radio dramas. She started taking private lessons in composition from both Vagn Holmboe, Jan Maegaard and Leif Kayser. It was in 1952 that Pade discovered the means by which she could bring into being her universe of sound. The impulse came from a broadcast on Radio Denmark about Pierre Schaeffer, the originator of the new movement within the French field of electronic music: musique concrète. After visiting Schaeffer in 1952, Pade began to study the concrete aesthetics of music and the technique behind it. In the latter half of the 1950s, Pade, together with Lauridsen, organised an interimistic electronic sound studio at Radio Denmark, where one could work with both concrete and synthetically produced sound material - a synthesis which was also a prominent issue in the new Italian sound studio, Studio de Fonologia Musicale, where people like Luciano Berio, Henri Posseur and John Cage were working. From 1957 until the middle of 1960s, Pade experienced a productive period in which she created a long series of electronic works and thereby made a name for herself, both in Denmark and to a certain extent in international electronic circles."
    Dacapo Records



  • edited March 2015
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      A Google translate from French:
      - "Music on Mars throws the listener in thirty years , the legendary red planet with compositions imagined to be experienced on site by future listeners who have traveled 50 million kilometers. A work of his fiction led by composer Michel Redolfi with the complicity of six adventurous soloists including instrumental and vocal range is already bordering unheard territories: Terry Riley,
      Thomas Bloch, Didier Malherbe, Pierre Chaze , Nelly Lacoste and Christoph Harbonnier ( Lightwave ) .

      A new space, new ways of listening and probably new music :
      The project aims Music on Mars today is to compose the music playlist to listen there tomorrow , in a Martian station or under a helmet on rides of discovery. The six soloists, including veteran of the current American music Terry Riley team up to imagine Michel Redolfi music possible group advancing to new artistic boundaries .

      Electroacoustic compositions early album evoke the journey to the Red Planet in a cinematic style (including a tribute to Méliès ) before atmospheric sequences progressively install the theme. Of stringed instruments of all ages and singing Râga weave delicate relationship with the memory of the Earth while electronics gives the depth of field needed to escape listening.
      Authentic sounds from space as well as transmission probes regularly punctuate the progress of the work. Documentary base is from the archives of NASA and ESA ."

      - Signature / Radio France

      " I made the album Music on Mars as a collection of musings for solitary walkers in the distance. "
      - Michel Redolfi.

      Michel Redolfi - Composer, creator of “Underwater Music” @ Emusers.
  • edited March 2015
      1. Played by a live group, "Metal Machine Music" sounds even wilder and more frenetic, and zeitkratzer's act of fandom moves "Metal Machine Music" into a context where, perhaps, it always belonged: as an avant-garde piece of bristling minimalism rather than a rock musician's bizarre experiment.
        - New York Times, USA
        zeitkratzer directed by Reinhold Friedl
        Frank Gratkowski, clarinets | Matt David, trumpet | Hilary Jeffery, trombone | Reinhold Friedl, piano | Marc Weiser, guitar | Maurice de Martin, percussion | Burkhard Schlothauer, violin | Anton Lukoszevieze, cello | Uli Phillipp, doublebass.

        - "About 10 years after their first, critically acclaimed performances of Lou Reed’s adventurous album, zeitkratzer presents an audacious new interpretation of this 20th century avant-garde classic. Here, for the first time ever, all four parts of Metal Machine Music played by zeitkratzer on one recording! Seriously "clangorous"!

        This new version of Metal Machine Music is even more transparent, instrumentally pure and radical than the shortened 2007 release; Live recordings from concerts in Rome and Reggio Emilia, Italy, mixed and mastered by Rashad Becker. A real sound experience!

        After their first performances in 2002 (documented on the 2007 CD release on Asphodel) zeitkratzer gave Reed’s album a new thorough listen and transcribed the sounds to create an acoustic score for the ensemble to play live. Those familiar with the oft-criticized two-disc album might wonder how they pulled this off, but they did and their interpretation of the work brought it to the attention of a wider audience. It is therefore partly thanks to the zeitkratzer version that Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music has been rediscovered as a classic of the Twentieth Century. It was at the live performance with zeitkratzer in Berlin, that Lou Reed spoke for the first time in public about the musical details of his composition, in an interview with Diedrich Diedrichsen.

        zeitkratzer was clearly ready for the challenges of performing Metal Machine Music live, and drew packed houses for their presentation of the work. This confirmed their assertion that rock’n’roll as serious contemporary music has been ignored for too long, in too arrogant a way. The relentless sound forces the mind to put aside its preconceptions about what music is supposed to sound like, or feel like, or look like. The brain starts to implode, or explode, or dissolve Zen-like into the controlled chaos of the performance, discovering a strange exhilaration, accepting an invitation to explore the outer reaches of texture and timbre, to experience a sonic freedom that’s rare in any art form. These recordings from the

        Metal Machine Music has become even more intense and worked out during the ten years of zeitkratzer playing it live at numerous international festivals – contemporary music festivals, noise festivals, improvisation festivals, - it’s impossible to limit this music to one genre. Metal Machine Music has gained a new quality of clarity, sound transparence and musical intensity. Real radical contemporary chamber noise music! These recordings from the Festival Romaeuropa in Rome and the Festival Aperto in Reggio Emilia (2012) present zeitkratzer not only at their very best, the splendid mix by Rashad Becker also reveals new aspects of this 20th century avant-garde classic!" - - €music
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      Kurt Budé : clarinet, bass clarinet, alto and tenor saxophones, percussion.
      Nicolas Dechêne : electric and acoustic guitars
      Daniel Denis : drums and percussion
      Dimitri Evers : electric bass, fretless bass
      Antoine Guenet : keyboard
      Nicolas Denis : drums and percussion on « Très Affables »
      Hugues Tahon : trumpet on « Rêve Mécanique », « L’Espoir Perdu » and « Phosphorescent Dream »
      Adrien Lambinet : trombone on « Rêve Mécanique » and « L’Espoir Perdu »

      - "I wanted this 13th album to open the band's music to other directions, different sound and musical structures, different from the ones that had been in use for years.

      I think it is necessary and crucial for a group to question itself now and then.

      The old form was stagnant and did not give the impression of change, and the consequences were increasingly demotivating. So there was no choice, I felt I had to take the difficult decision to break up the group. Luckily I had met Nicolas Dechene and Antoine Guenet who could contribute with freshness and new energy to this next incarnation of UZ.

      I wanted the future of Univers Zero's music to have less noise than before and to obtain new energy in a more rock and electrical orientation, and integrated with guitar.

      Mixing Kurt Bude compositions with mine, forms an excellent rich diversity in fusion. Each track on the disc has its own identity and its own color.

      I really think this CD has reached maturity, and after 40 years of existence I can truly say UZ is again taking an important step . And never forget Didier de Roos who mixed this CD, contributed to the sound, and as always, elevated the music to higher levels.

      - Daniel Denis
      Youtube""If Stravinsky had a rockband, it would sound like this . . .".
  • edited September 2016
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      - "Mark O'Leary has always been inspired by the work of Stockhausen and Ligeti created at the Experimental Electronic Music Studio in Cologne.

      This music is in conception a sample of the sonic workshop Mark has been engaged in for a while and is his first rhythmic oriented electronic music project and with the aforementioned petit homage the title just had to be Elektronische Musik.

      It took a lot of work before stasis was achieved and a concept with rigour cultivated. (For one does consistently strive for the Rigour of the Oxford Senior Common Room)

      Before deciding on the music, eschewing hubris, a couple of shows were performed featuring some of the tracks that would ultimately make it to the recording and indeed the denouement was the benevolent approval from several key people in the music industry, and thus the necessary confidence to make the transition into this paradigm was cogent.

      The music is imaginative and even within the genre has disparate contours and colours.

      Mark sent the original tracks to Daniele Santini (TIBProd. Italy owner) and Daniele exhibiting a fingerspitzengefühl for the sine qua non remixed the tracks adding some subtle ingredients that concomitantly gave the music a propitious propulsion with gravitas.

      The titles themselves, allude to a motley array of diverging characters, some fictional, some created and some yet to be, one can peruse upon the hypotheses in total and probably decipher.

      One could attain absolution for believing in the existence of the Neo Kantians of Paraguay, it is an enchanting thought and in ones struggles to keep on keeping on is an inspirational motivation.

      The rhythmic timbral nuances of a helicopters rotors, that moment in a movie after a dynamic sequence where the main character may become a bit more introspective and we know and revere Sundance, but who is the Mississippi Kid, a degree of cartesian reductionism is necessitated perhaps.

      The minimal techno infused rhythmic pulsations of Kinetisch lend itself to a Berlin trajectory but Be Water My Friend is for Bruce (not being pejorative, one principally, with several others also very worthy).

      The recording process was arduous, recording, re-recording, reverse engineering, restarting over, a crystallization process, one can correlate it to a more oriental process rather than western linear process, the wheel turns and returns to its start point and then turns again.

      Marks path is a kind of sonic heuristic work, one is trying to discover rather than learn, because learning, sometimes can just be duplication, when your looking for something with integrity you have to find it yourself, shape it yourself and it isn't all in an intellectual sphere, one also does have to be sentient, you do want the audience to connect."

      Tibprod Italy

      Born: October 20, 1969 Instrument: Guitar

      - "Mark O'Leary was born in Cork City Ireland.Being mainly auto didactic on guitar he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 17 to study at Musicians Institute,from where he later graduated. He has presented his music in 29 countries and has played at some of the worlds top Jazz festivals and contemporary Jazz venues.

      He has toured Europe as a member of Canadian Pianist Paul Bley's trio,he has performed in duo with Jack DeJohnette,in a jazz trio with Yes/King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford, in duo with Han Bennink,composed and performed classical music with Cikada string quartet,collaborated in an all electronics setting with Sound Artist Gunter Muller, Erdem Helveciouglu and Jakob Riis,in a free improvisation combo with Evan Parker and Sunny Murray, performed in concerts with Anders Jormin and Audun Kleive, played Norwegian folk music with Nils Okland, Swedish folk music with Mats Eden, Jazz with Uri Caine, he has performed in seperate projects with trumpeters Axel Dorner,Kenny Wheeler, Thomas Heberer and Jeff Kaiser. He has the distinction of having played in duo with Paul Bley, Bobo Stenson and Matthew Shipp. In 2004 he toured Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro with Vasil Hadzimanov and Marco Djordevic. He also toured in Macedonia with Guitarist Toni Kitanovski and Drummer Alexander Sekhulovski. He also represented Ireland in the Athens European jazz festival.

      He has also worked in a trio with ex Weather Report/Jaco Pastorius Drummer Peter Erskine and Palle Danielsson. He has also collaborated with the innovative percussionists z'ev, Alex Cline ,Hans Kristian Kjos Sorensen and Terje Isungset.He has also collaborated with Stale Storlokken in contemporary trio using church organ and with John Herndon of Tortoise in the Underground Jazz Trio.

      He has also worked in different projects with Slava Ganelin and Alexander Tarasov of the Ganelin trio fame also in a UK based group with Mark Sanders and Joe Williamson of Trapist. He has toured in the exciting group Zemlya with Eyvind Kang and Dylan Van Der Schyff and also with Dylan and Wayne Horvitz. In conjunction with Alliance Francaise he performed in a trio with Henri Texier and Aldo Romano. He also played in a trio with Jon Christensen and Terje Gewelt He has played in Poland with drummer Michal Miskiewicz and Tomasz Szukalski and with the Oles brothers Bartlomiej and Marcin. He has also played with the Aka Moon rhythm section of Michel Hadzigeorgiu and Stephane Galland. He has also colloborated in trio with Stefan Pasborg and Peter Friis Nielsen as well as working with other Danes Jacob Anderskov and in duo with Kresten Osgood."

      - All About Jazz..
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      - "Truffaz, a Swiss-born jazz trumpeter, and Murcof, a Mexican producer of classically-tinged IDM, techno and ambient, first started performing live together in 2006, and in 2008 they released an album called Mexico. This one, coming next month through Mundo Recordings, is actually a three-headed project: Enki Bilal, the well-regarded French comics artist and filmmaker whose work is often focused on themes of war and dystopia, has taken care of the album's visual art.

      Being Human Being looks to be a heavy listen. Here's a few lines from the lengthy text that came with the press release: "[The album] suggests to us that being human and being a human being are not necessarily the same thing, but that human be-ing, with its delicate balance of sensuousness, violence, ethical sensitivity, ugliness and grace, is still being sketched out." It'll come on double vinyl, CD and digital formats.

      This will be the third release on Mundo Recordings, which launched earlier in 2014 and has so far put out an EP and album from veteran US producer Stewart Walker. On the Murcof front, news of the upcoming collaborative album comes shortly after this announcement from The Leaf Label, home to his highly sought-after solo studio LPs. The label will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year with some vinyl reissues, and fans can offer input, via a poll, on which records (from Murcof and the likes of Caribou and Roll The Dice) they think should get the treatment."

      - Resident Advisor
      - Mundo Recordings - Bandcamp.
  • edited March 2015
    1. Oh yes, speaking about remarkable colaborations:
      (as "we all know", Edward Ka-Spel is the prime mover of The Legendary Pink Dots-:-)

      Are You Receiving Us, Planet Earth ?!
      - "“Are You Receiving us, Planet Earth?!” is the first effort composed by Edward Ka-Spel & Philippe Petit, both playing various instruments and electronics. Their exchanges ran over the course of two years trying to create something which would meet their usual aesthetics and at the same time bering them to newer territories.

      The seeds were sown on exotic stringed instruments by Philippe on sultry nights in Marseilles.Long wandering instrumentals ,sometimes angular, sometimes mysterious ,always operating in their own peculiar universe.
      Through the medium of cyberspace ,these landscapes were delivered to Edward Ka-spel in London, who detected hit potential, at least with the inhabitants of the planet Glurg,and duly added vocals plus other underlying, utterly disturbing elements.

      There was a logic forming in this voyage , although by the time EK delivered his interpretation back to PP,the dark matter was literally dripping from the project.Philippe added the final touches ,leaving the inevitable question…
      Planet Earth- are you receiving us? It’s been a while…Planet Earth, are you, in fact, STILL THERE???"

      - Rustblade

      Philippe Petit : a musical travel-agent @ Emusers.
  • edited September 2016
    1. And this one on New Amsterdam Records, (#8 on Nereffid's list). - Here's what RonanM writes about it:
      - "What strikes you rapidly is the contrast between the electronics and the sheer humanity of the pianist. The tone, the nuance and phrasing of Vicky Chow's astounding performance contrast with the mechanical exactitude of the electronics. And listening to her tumble endlessly through complex high-speed patterns, there is a sense of ballet, of muscular energy, of willpower. With the electronics, it's just mechanical repetition. Chow emerges as human - daring, singing, dancing in a way that circuits will never, never emulate."
      - "Surface Image is the new album-­length composition for solo piano and 40-­channel 1-­bit electronics from composer Tristan Perich and pianist Vicky Chow.

      Surface Image is a stunning marriage of Perich's inspired electronic aesthetic and Chow's nuanced yet fiercely virtuosic playing. It's a landmark release for Perich, being his first major release focusing solely on his work, as well as his first large-scale piano composition. Chow's dynamic performance is swept up in a sublime flurry of dazzling 1-bit sounds, simultaneously entangling and unraveling over the hour long journey. The line between electric and organic is artistically blurred, as the simple hand-wired electronics fuse with the individual notes of the piano on the same, expansive plane.

      Through a string of groundbreaking works pairing acoustic instruments with hand-made 1-bit electronics, Tristan Perich has transformed the way in which traditional forms of composition can be enhanced and reinvigorated by the aesthetic simplicity of math, physics, and code. Perich's name splashed onto the scene with 2004's 1-Bit Music (the first album ever released as a self-contained microchip embedded in a jewel case) and since then his 1-bit compositions (like 2010's 1-Bit Symphony) have flourished: growing steadily in size, scope, and ambition.

      Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has been described as "brilliant" (New York Times) and "one of the new stars of new music" (Los Angeles Times). She has premiered works by a slew of iconic composers - from Steve Reich to Bryce Dessner - and is a member of New York's preeminent Bang on a Can All-Stars. Chow also recently created an arrangement of The Rite of Spring for solo piano, of which she gave multiple performances during the centennial celebration, including a live streamed performance from WNYC's The Greene Space on May 29th, 2013 - the exact day the work was premiered in Paris 100 years earlier.

      Surface Image premiered on February 19, 2013 at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY. During live performances, Chow's piano can be seen nested in a sea of cables and circuit boards, each powering one of the 40 loudspeakers hand-wired by Perich to serve as his electric orchestra. The immense work was later later recorded at EMPAC's sound studio, helmed by producer Argeo Ascani, mix engineer Jeffrey Svatek, and recording engineers Stephen McLaughlin and Svatek. The enormous scope and power of Surface Image's live aesthetic is captured in vivid detail by this recording, which places the listener at the center of Perich and Chow's sublime cacophony."


      image image.
  • edited March 2015
    1. One more gem from the past year:

      - URBAN SAX is the fruit of a long acoustic and architectural research that began in 1973 when Gilbert Artman, the band’s Creator, Composer and Choreographer made the town of Menton, in the south of France, reverberate with strategically-placed 16 saxophonists. Over the years, from projects to projects, the band increased to its present form : 30 saxophonists, 10 chorus singers, 3 percussionists, 1 bass player and 2 dancers.
      URBAN SAX can be augmented by local participants from Dance and Music Schools. This has no limit ; the band has sometimes numbered 200 !
      Whenever it’s possible, Gilbert Artman likes the band to be joined by some musicians issued from different musical horizons. To give you a few examples, the band was joined in Jakarta by Balinese dancers and Gamelan musicians, in Vancouver by some Native American drummers and Scottish pipers, in Turkey by some sufis, in Tokyo by some traditional Japanese drummers...
      URBAN SAX has been invited all over the world to perform in great events such as the inauguration of plazas, theatres, monuments..., opened and closed countless festivals, played in prestigious places (castles, caves, churches...), “redefined” truly urban environments like subways, factories, electric power stations..., and has been asked to participate in numerous Conventions.

      - Each site is carefully checked out beforehand so that its full spatial and acoustic potential can be realized. That’s what Gilbert Artman calls “Acoustical Town Planning”: to take over a space of environment and fill it with sound and movement. This concept he created is unique. It’s during Gilbert Artman’s visit that are decided the human and technical needs, the necessary authorizations and the running of the show.
      Each performance of URBAN SAX is different ; Gilbert Artman works each time on a choreography specially adapted to the event and its location.

      - Each performance is spectacular because the band literally invades the location. Some saxophonists are climbing down buildings, others are on the rooftops, behind the windows, some are arriving in helicopters... Everyone wears earphones and thanks to the transmitter, Gilbert Artman can be very precise his being, say, 200 meters from the musicians, who in turn might be 100 meters from each other.
      The spectator is always surrounded by images and sounds and very often, there are some dancers and musicians suspended above him. URBAN SAX recreates the urban landscape and forever changes the relation between the people and their town.

      More Urban Sax @ Emusers
  • edited March 2015
    1. Also:
      Bobby Previte - Terminals
      - Featuring: Zeena Parkins, Greg Osby, Nels Cline and John Medeski

      - "Drummer, composer, bandleader and improviser Bobby Previte is known for his voluminous contributions to New York’s legendary downtown experimental music scene – an immensely fertile period in the 1980s that saw the likes of Steve Reich and Philip Glass breaking new ground with Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time, Bang on a Can and many more.

      Now with nearly four decades under his belt as a creative force behind the drumkit, Previte has assembled a dream team of musicians from the jazz, indie rock and classical worlds to create TERMINALS, a luminous project consisting of five concertos for percussion ensemble and soloists, each inspired by the schematic-like terminal maps that Previte has noticed in airports around the world. The eternally adventurous So Percussion accompanies throughout, as Nels Cline (Wilco), Zeena Parkins, Greg Osby and John Medeski (Medeski Martin & Wood) take turns in the forefront to deliver an electrifying part-composed, part-improvised workout spanning two vinyl pieces.

      In the liner notes to the LP, pressed in a deluxe double-gatefold package, Previte breaks down the influences that inspired the project. “Terminals is a collision between, and a celebration of, two worlds. In cliche?d terms: the precise, unflappable, ‘classical’ percussion ensemble meets the wild, uncontrollable, ‘jazz’ master improviser in the forum best suited to such a meeting, the concerto – a schizophrenic word whose etymology is much debated but in Italian means to ‘join together,’ while in Latin means to ‘contend.’ These two worlds happily co-exist in my mind. This is the country in which I live.”

      Cantaloupe Music -
  • edited March 2015
    1. One more:
      - "Natura Morta, "dead nature" or "still life". This album can be understood as a powerful study of the minute details of the art of electro-acoustic composition, as much as the Renaissance "nature morte" were a masterful display of the artist’s skill in portraying the glow of a ripe fruit, or capturing the light beaming on a vacant chair.

      Six tracks, to be listened to as two long explorations in the art of variation and repetition. Layers of drums and percussions intertwine with synth waves making the portrait come to life, detail after detail, until a complex figure emerges from the white canvas. The constant, unsteady sounds, wavering noise, swirling cymbals, and distant feedback gently pull the listener into the picture, letting them enjoy every detail of this beautifully staged compositions.

      Recorded at EMS studio, Stockholm, ZKM in Karlsruhe and at the legendary Funkhaus in Berlin, this album mixes influences from both Italian minimalism and the electro-acoustic contemporary scene. Somewhere in between the electronics of Keith Fullerton Whitman, the percussive repetitions of Jon Mueller, and the atmospheric sensibility of Pan-American."

      Miasmah - Soundcloud

      Andrea Belfi (born 1979)
      - "is an Italian electro-acoustic musician and composer.[1] He began playing drums at the age of 14. From 1995 to 1998 he's been involved in numerous punk bands. He studied art in Milan, before becoming involved in experimental music in 2000. He's been member of electronic outfit Medves (with GIuseppe Ielasi, Stefano Pilia, Riccardo Wanke & Renato Rinaldi), the duo Christa Pfangen with Mattia Coletti, the trio Rosolina Mar.

      From 2002 he's been collaboration with a wide range of artists like: Carla Bozulich, Mike Watt, David Grubbs, Stefano Pilia, Aidan Baker, Simon James Phillips, BJ Nilsen, Ignaz Schick, Mattia Coletti, Å, Attila Faravelli, Machinefabriek, David Maranha, Attila Faravelli, Giuseppe Ielasi, RCF, Riccardo Wanke, Renato Rinaldi..
  • edited March 2015
    1. - And most certainly this one:

      Talea Ensemble, Jim Baker, conductor; JACK Quartet;
      Huck Hodge, piano, melodica & computer

      - "The music of Huck Hodge (b. 1977) draws extensively, if obliquely, on experiences from his northwestern American heritage. Uniquely Northwestern light patterns act as an inspiration in much of his music - the way that a piercing slant of light, breaking through a dreary Seattle cloudscape, casts an intense, otherworldly chiaroscuro on the landscape - the ethereal yellowness of the light in bas-relief against the yawning darkness of the sky. These stark contrasts in light and dark find their way into his striking combination of pure and dissonant harmonies, widely spaced orchestrations and vast, diffuse timbres. The works on this CD, written over a period of half a dozen years, display a breadth of conception that is refreshing to encounter in such a young composer while also indicating the process of rapid development that has characterized his trajectory so far.

      Certainly, the music is engaging on a very immediate level: many of the sounds are strikingly new, not only in themselves but in the originality of their combinations. You may never before have heard the melodica, for example, as a concert instrument; you have definitely never before heard it subjected to live processing in ensemble with an amplified string quartet. Many of the novel performance techniques incorporated into his scores are designed to negotiate pathways between definite pitch, indefinite pitch, and noise. Even more important to Hodge than the immediacy of sonic impression, however, is the idea that gives rise to a piece in the first place, which he speaks of as the "extra-musical": not for the sake of constructing some kind of program, but rather as a matter of "uncovering some essential formal or expressive quality that can be reconstituted in music." The sources of such ideas are as various as his compositions: literature, philosophy, visual art, even the natural world have all served in this capacity at one time or another"

      New World Records
      Ale?theia - Huck Hodge @ Youtube

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      John Luther Adams on Become Ocean:

      - "If you stop and think about the oceanic dimension of music, there’s this implication of immersion. We came from the ocean, and we’re going back to the ocean, right? We’re made up mostly of water, and life on earth first emerged from the seas. And with the melting of the polar ice caps and the rising sea levels, we may become ocean sooner than we imagine.

      Eventually we begin to realize that we’re part of something much larger than ourselves. Become Ocean embraces this idea, but gets its title from something much more personal for me. Back in the late ’70s, John Cage wrote a mesostic poem called “Many Happy Returns,” in honor of his dear friend—also my mentor and friend—Lou Harrison. He compares Lou’s music to a river in delta, with all these different influences and currents, coming together in a big beautiful sweep of music. And in the last line of the poem, Cage writes, “Listening to it, we become ocean.” I’ve always been struck by what a beautiful image that is.

      So now, a little history: some time ago, I was commissioned to compose a piece for the Seattle Chamber Players. Then a few years later, the Seattle Symphony and their music director Ludovic Morlot approached me, and asked if I would be interested in composing something for the Symphony. Part of Ludo’s vision for the orchestra is to bring it into the 21st century, and to put a special emphasis on new music, so of course I was thrilled at the possibilities.

      One idea that I suggested was to build on the sound world of an earlier piece I’d composed called Dark Waves, which is a 12-minute piece for large orchestra and electronic sounds. To my surprise and delight, Ludo was very interested. I was calling it “Dark Waves on steroids,” and I knew early on that I wanted to take that oceanic sound and expand it into a much larger timeframe. So the result was Become Ocean."

      - Cantaloupe Music - Soundcloud - Bandcamp

      - "Called "one of the most original musical thinkers of the new century" (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), John Luther Adams is a composer whose life and work are deeply rooted in the natural world.

      Adams composes for orchestra, chamber ensembles, percussion and electronic media, and his music is recorded on Cold Blue, New World, Mode, Cantaloupe, and New Albion.

      A recipient of the Heinz Award for his contributions to raising environmental awareness, Adams has also been honored with the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University "for melding the physical and musical worlds into a unique artistic vision that transcends stylistic boundaries."

      JLA's music is heard regularly all over the world. The Chicago Symphony, the Radio Netherlands Philharmonic, and the Melbourne Symphony have performed his Dark Waves for large orchestra and electronic sounds. Inuksuit for up to ninety-nine percussionists has been performed in New York City's Morningside Park and at the Park Avenue Armory, as well as many other outdoor venues throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

      Adams is the author of Winter Music (2004), a collection of essays, journal entries and reflections on his life and work in Alaska. The subject of his second book is The Place Where You Go to Listen (2009) his installation at the Museum of the North that translates geophysical data streams into an ever-changing environment of sound and light. The Farthest Place (2012), a book-length critical study of JLA's music, includes essays by Kyle Gann, Steven Schick, Glenn Kotche and many other prominent musicians and scholars.

      Adams has taught at Harvard University, the Oberlin Conservatory, Bennington College, and the University of Alaska. He has been composer in residence with the Anchorage Symphony, Anchorage Opera, Fairbanks Symphony, Arctic Chamber Orchestra, and the Alaska Public Radio Network, and he has served as president of the American Music Center.

      Born in 1953, Adams grew up in the South and in the suburbs of New York City. He studied composition with James Tenney and Leonard Stein at the California Institute of the Arts, where he was in the first graduating class (in 1973). In the mid-1970s he became active in the campaign for the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and subsequently served as executive director of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.".
  • edited March 2015
    1. And these two, released simultaneously:

      Edvard Graham Lewis - All Over
      - - "Editions Mego is proud to present the first recordings by Edvard Graham Lewis released this century. Having made his name in legendary punk/experimental outfits Wire, Dome and He Said Lewis has developed an exceptional voice with ceaseless exploration of a wide variety of musical forms.
      'All Over' is a song based album that resides amongst the cracks between narrative and song, sound and music. Cloaked in an atmosphere of beauty and paranoia 'All Over' conjures the spirit of Wire's experimental pop trajectory whilst simultaneously exploring a multitude of sonic possibilities. Gritty mechanical operations support Lewis' wry human observations in a uniquely disturbing melange of punk, industrial, techno and pop. A dream logic plays throughout 'All Over' courtesy of Lewis' odd lyrical content being set with all manner of disorientating sound and rhythm.
      All tracks were written and composed between 2003-13 in parallel with the works included on ‘All Under’. Several contributors generously collaborated at distance from LA, Japan, Scotland, Italy, Germany, UK and Sweden furthering this catchy excursion into the unstable grid of the 21st Century.
      'All Over' is a major amalgamation of music, media, man and mind."

      - Editions Mego - Soundcloud - Bandcamp
      Brainwashed review

      - "Edvard Graham Lewis, or Graham Lewis (born Edward Graham Lewis, 22 February 1953), is an English musician currently living in Uppsala, Sweden.

      Lewis is the bassist with punk rock/post-punk band Wire, a band formed in 1976. On Wire’s first studio album Graham Lewis was credited as Lewis; he continued to be known by this abbreviation; however some subsequent record credits give his full name.

      He worked on various other music projects, usually of a more electronic and experimental nature, such as Dome (with fellow Wire member B.C. Gilbert), Duet Emmo (with B.C. Gilbert and Daniel Miller), P’o, Kluba Cupol, Ocsid (with Jean-Louis Huhta), Where Everything Falls Out (with Kenneth Cosimo and Anna Livia Löwendahl-Atomic), He Said Omala, and Halo. His solo projects have been He Said and Hox.

      Graham studied textiles at Middlesex Polytechnic in London in the early seventies. He later switched to fashion but formed the band before he was able to have a substantial career in this world. The time at art school was very influential on his later music as he was able to go and see a range of bands (usually pub bands) including Kilburn And The High Roads, Ramones, Dr Feelgood etc."

      Edvard Graham Lewis - All Under
      Soundcloud - Bandcamp

      - "The companion album, All Under, takes a far more abstract direction in comparison, for the first half dropping the beats and vocals for dissonant electronic textures and odd effects in an overall sound that fits well with the more difficult Dome moments with Bruce Gilbert. "All Under (Film Score)" drifts from an industrial scrape to a modular synth twinkle into pure DSP crunch in just under six minutes; all the more impressive considering it was recorded live with just a sampler and effects. The "All Under (Installation Loop)" version is significantly longer and more skeletal, at first hollow and drifting, then mixed with sharper feedback and pinging electronics that upset things nicely.

      Graham takes the remaining half of the album in even odder directions. "The Eel Wheeled" is a spoken word piece: a surrealist tale of espionage backed by Lewis' heavy mangling of a standard sound effects library, with a second half that progressively becomes unhinged in the most brilliant way. The lengthy "No Show Godot" has some hints of the sound that defined All Over, but in a sprawling, 18 plus minute expanse. Initially opening as drifting ambient piece with a slight acerbic edge to it, it becomes more abrasive via stuttering passages of noise that ends up locking into an oddly skewed rhythmic structure. This moves into an overt, electronic drum circle type pounding and mostly untreated vocals.

      Given the length of time since the last full-fledged solo release from Graham Lewis, I had high expectations for All Under/All Over. Considering the fact they were recorded over the past decade, it makes sense that these two cover the gamut of his previous styles as a series of ideas and snippets that benefited from the time Lewis took to polish and expand. With one half encompassing dissonant and experimental electronic music that has a uniquely powerful penchant for pop hooks and memorable vocals, and the other hinting back to his earliest experiments with music and noise, the two albums are inseparable sides of the same coin. They both also clearly show that nearly 40 years into his career, Graham Lewis is an artist unlike any other in the quality and uniqueness of his work."

      Creaig Dunton @ Brainwashed.
  • edited March 2015
    1. Also this stunning album from New Amsterdam Records:
      - "In addition to Third Coast Percussion, the album features instrumental contributions from Eileen Mack (Newspeak, Victoire), Mellissa Hughes (Newspeak, John Zorn), Andrew McKenna Lee (The Knells) and Toby Driver (Kayo Dot, Secret Chiefs 3). David T. Little himself provides snare drum, claps and Ableton Live programming on the record. Andrew McKenna Lee, who has previously worked with Daniel Wohl, William Brittelle and The Knells, mixed Haunt of Last Nightfall."

      - "The work of American composer David T. Little does not shy away from difficult topics. Whether it’s in his operas (a recent commission came from the Metropolitan Opera’s MET/LCT new works program) or with his Orwell-inspired ensemble Newspeak, Little uses the juxtaposition of blunt force and subtle textures to explore themes of power, truth, corruption, and desperation. Haunt of Last Nightfall is no different.

      Of the piece, Little says, “I think a lot about ghosts…of things that remain behind as the fleeting evidence of what once was. Since reading about El Mozote, I have been unable to get it out of my mind: how this village, innocent by virtually every account, was wiped out. Caught in the crossfire of a stupid ideological battle, its people now ghosts. What we know shapes us, and whether I like it or not, I now know this.”

      New Amsterdam Records - €music

      - "Hailed by The New Yorker as “vibrant” and “superb,” Third Coast Percussion explores and expands the extraordinary sonic possibilities of the percussion repertoire, delivering exciting performances for audiences of all kinds. Since its formation in 2005, Third Coast Percussion has gained national attention with concerts and recordings that meld the energy of rock music with the precision and nuance of classical chamber works.

      These “hard-grooving” musicians (New York Times) have become known for ground-breaking collaborations across a wide range of disciplines, including concerts and residency projects with engineers at the University of Notre Dame, architects at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, astronomers at the Adler Planetarium, and more. The ensemble enhances the performances it offers with cutting edge new media, including free iPhone and iPad apps that allow audience members to create their own musical performances and take a deeper look at the music performed by Third Coast Percussion.

      Third Coast Percussion is the Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. They have the honor of being the first ensemble at the University of Notre Dame to create a permanent and progressive ensemble residency program at the center. The ensemble performs multiple recitals annually as part of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Presenting Series season. Third Coast Percussion assumed the position of Ensemble-in-Residence at Notre Dame in 2013.

      The ensemble champions the awe-inspiring music of John Cage, Steve Reich, George Crumb, Arvo Pärt, Gérard Grisey, Philippe Manoury, Wolfgang Rihm, Louis Andriessen, Toru Takemitsu, and Tan Dun, among others. Third Coast has also commissioned and performed world premieres by many of today’s leading composers, including Augusta Read Thomas, Timothy Andres, Glenn Kotche, David T. Little, Marcos Balter, Ted Hearne, and ensemble members Owen Clayton Condon and David Skidmore. . . . ."

      More David T. Little @ Emusers.
  • edited March 2015
    1. One more:

      PRISM Quartet is:Timothy McAllister, Zachary Shemon, Matthew Levy, Taimur Sullivan
      - With guests: Tim Ries, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Jason Moran, Ben Monder, Jay Anderson, Bill Stewart, Francois Zayas and Richard Belcastro

      - "As a guiding force behind the omnivorous PRISM Quartet, Matthew Levy has been a musical midwife: helping to birth a large and eclectic repertoire of works built around the endlessly versatile sound of the saxophone quartet. But while championing so many of his colleagues, from the internationally renowned to the young and emergent, Levy has done a great disservice to a contemporary American composer with a distinctive voice: namely, Matthew Levy.

      People’s Emergency Center is a chance for PRISM to finally focus on Levy’s own music, which draws freely—and often surprisingly—from classical, jazz, world, and rock traditions. The album begins with a particularly instructive example. Under the Sun is a three-part suite scored for piano (the redoubtable Jason Moran), saxophone choir, percussion, and, in its third and final movement, the Indian sitar. In the opening movement, “Awakening,” a keyboard/percussion groove serves as the engine driving the rustle and hubbub of a… what? Are those birds taking flight and singing? Or is it the sound of the urban jungle yawning and stretching to life? Either way, the winds are overdubbed to form choirs of Philip Glass-style intensity, streaked through with jagged flashes of piano. With its striking collision of American Minimalism, the rhythms of Latin and African music, and the improvisation of jazz, “Awakening” is a major statement of intent at the start of the album.

      The album includes three works written just for PRISM, including “Lyric.” Levy’s voracious musical appetite apparently includes the French “Spectralists,” composers like Gerard Grisey and Tristan Murail, who create deeply-hued textures by analyzing the component parts of each sound and making those parts explicit, either by “splitting” the sound so that one or more of its overtones are audible, or reinforcing those harmonic components with other instruments. Working with this so-called “harmonic series” quickly moves the music out of standard Western tuning, and there are moments in “Lyric” that are both beautiful and unsettling—take, for example, the almost metallic ringing sound of the sax choir that ends the piece, a sign of mourning for the composer’s mother, in whose memory the work was composed.

      The recording also features four works, including Serial Mood, in which PRISM is joined by an all-star line-up of jazz artists. Serial Mood is a punning title: here, Levy manages to combine the twelve-tone technique of Arnold Schoenberg, whose early 20th century experiments set music free of the constraints of tonality, with the strongly tone-centered modes of classical Greek music. The first part, “Reflection,” features Rudresh Mahanthappa, whose alto solo is full of movement and quicksilver changes of tone color, over a backdrop of softly roiling saxes and some rather insistent bass and drums, courtesy of Jay Anderson and Bill Stewart. The second half, “Refraction,” rides on a fierce post-bop groove, but the texture clears out in the middle to allow notable solos by Ben Monder, Tim Ries, and Matthew Levy himself.

      - Innova Recordings - Soundcloud

      Matthew Levy
      - "has been hailed by the Saxophone Journal as “a complete virtuoso of the tenor saxophone” and by the New York Times for his “energetic and enlivening” performances. A recipient of composition fellowships from the Independence Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, he has scored four motion pictures, including PBS’s Diary of a City Priest, featured at the Sundance Film Festival. His music is highlighted on three PRISM recordings on Koch and innova; he has also recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Tzadik, and Grammavision; collaborated with a host of choreographers/dance companies, among them Peter Sparling and Scrap; and appeared as a guest artist with the Detroit Symphony and counter)induction. He holds three degrees from the University of Michigan, where he was a recipient of the Lawrence Teal Award, and has served on the faculties of the Universities of Michigan, Redlands, and Toledo. From 2000-2011, he served as Director of the Philadelphia Music Project at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage."
      More Prism Quartet @ Emusers.
  • edited March 2015
    1. Alright then, one more . . . from my favourite Chilenian band:
      Un Festin Sagital - Kosmodynamos
      - "New studio album by Un Festin Sagital as an edition of 50 numbered copies issued early October 2014. This edition includes original artwork by UFS and Armchair Migraine Journey plus a bonus 7" of UFS with guest Patrick Wright (ex Legendary Pink Dots) on two tracks and two collaboration tracks with UFS meets Armchair Migraine Journey and AMJ meets UFS.

      Slowly the great ashen dynamo surges, spilling molten droplets of plasma and cosmic waste, each taking shape, coalescing into stars, planets, entire galaxies, drifting ever further away from the throbbing energy and boiling gasses that lie at the crux of all creation. A massive, disembodied heart that beats out a rhythm so impossibly slow - each pulse separated by an epoch, each quaver a thousand thousand lifetimes, burning and fuming with dark energies. This is power on an unimaginable scale, machinery vast and magnificent, spinning entire realities into existence. This is Kosmodynamos.

      "This record is a translation of Un Festín Sagital circa 2011, when, lashed by a complete lack of resources and without a place that sheltered our previous psych rock effervescences, we had to please ourselves with the quest for subtle and blunt emotions: the universe spoke to us with concealed voices, we had to be quiet and listen, and thus the small explosions of new born galaxies reached our instruments in a pure resonance adventure, following the modesty and beauty that we think this record communicates. This record is also a huge expression of motion, spinning wheels like the stars pounding in the heart of the sidereal enigma, oceanic and telluric."

      (by Albert Parra, finished by Fernando Pinto)
      Beta-lactam Ring Records - €music

      - "Un Festín Sagital born from a impro duo of Hammond and Drums, in the year 2002. Thier first album is called "Pharmakon", and was very well recieved in thier free download internet archive release, and in thier very limited edition of 40 copies. Then came "Epitafio a la Permanencia", this album was released through Beta-Lactam Ring Records, and have a even better reception, with very good reviews around the underground music scene (veterans of experimental music as Edward Ka-Spel, Aranos, Aaron Moore, have good opinions about our music).The band have released a big number of self produced cd-r and free downloads, but also more produced albums like "Sic Deus Dilexit Mundum" (through blrrecords) and "Bestias Solares" (released in a limited private press, and waitng for a official release).".
  • edited December 2015
    1. And this one, obviously:
    2. image     
    3. - Featuring:
      Ashley Bathgate – cello
      Robert Black – bass
      Vicky Chow – piano, melodica
      David Cossin – drums and percussion
      Mark Stewart – electric guitar, banjo, mountain dulcimer, jaw harp, harmonica, clogging, humming
      Evan Ziporyn – clarinets, harmonica, whistling, humming

      Anna Maria Friman
      Linn Andrea Fuglseth
      Torunn Østrem Ossum

      - "Inspired by her love for the music and lore of Appalachia, Julia Wolfe based her text for Steel Hammer (called a "wild hybrid" by the New York Times) on over 200 versions of the "John Henry" ballad, which has been recorded by everyone from Johnny Cash to Bruce Springsteen. A runner-up for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize, Steel Hammer features the alternately haunting and playful vocalizations of Norway's renowned Trio Mediaeval, and stretches the standard instrumentation of the Bang on a Can All-Stars with wooden bones, mountain dulcimer, banjo, clapping, clogging and much more.

      "Steel Hammer was inspired by my love for the legends and music of Appalachia," Wolfe explains. "It's a return to my musical roots in folk music, and when I wrote the piece, I looked to the breadth of musicianship in the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Trio Mediaeval was also a key inspiration, because they bring a beautiful pure sound and a real depth of emotion to the work. And last but not least, I was moved by the myriad of songsters, some known, some not-so-known, who filled my ears with their own personal versions of the John Henry ballad."

      Steel Hammer premiered in November 2009 at the University of Florida, and eventually made its way to Carnegie's Zankel Hall for its New York debut. Writing for the New Yorker, Alex Ross referred to the work as "...a musical archaeology of a familiar tale -- one that preserves, even enlarges, its central mystery." In exploring the subject of human vs. machine in the quintessential American tall tale, Steel Hammer evokes a swirling gumbo of folk, bluegrass, post-minimalist and classical motifs, each referring back to the other in a call-and-response ritual that breathes new life into the legend.

      Cantaloupe Music - €music

      - "The vocal ensemble Trio Mediaeval was founded by Linn Andrea Fuglseth in Oslo in 1997. For sixteen years, the three original members Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth and Torunn Østrem Ossum constituted the trio. In December 2013, Torunn left the group. Linn Andrea and Anna Maria are now joined by Berit Opheim, who has been singing with the ensemble regularly since 2010.

      The trio's core repertoire features sacred monophonic and polyphonic medieval music from England, Italy and France, contemporary works written for the ensemble, as well as traditional Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic ballads and songs, mostly arranged by the group members. During the last eight years, the trio has developed exciting collaborations with both individual musicians as well as larger ensembles/orchestras.

      Trio Mediæval's first CD on ECM Records, Words of the Angel, immediately reached Billboard's Top 10 Bestseller list and was made the Stereophile "Recording of the Month" in April 2002. Further releases on ECM followed in 2004 withSoir, dit-elle and in 2005 with Stella Maris. The first three recordings, produced by John Potter, consisted of medieval and contemporary works. In 2006, the trio started a long-term collaboration with the Norwegian percussionist Birger Mistereggen, and the long awaited recording of Norwegian ballads and songs, Folk Songs, was produced by Manfred Eicher and released in the Autumn of 2007. Folk Songs was nominated for the Norwegian Spellemannprisen and for a US Grammy Award for "Best Chamber Music Performance" the following year. Their latest recording, A Worcester Ladymass (2011), like the previous releases, hit the Billboard's Top 10 list, and was selected by the German Record Critic's Award as one of the best new releases in the "Early Music" category. . . . .
  • I'm getting close to a top 20, so:
    - To be continued . . . Maybe.
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