Sir BN's Best Of / Notable Albums Of The Year 2017 list . . .

edited January 2018 in whirling dervish
Same procedure as last year . . .

- In an attempt to to highlight some of the most signifficant releases for me, with the usual caution that, at another time and day, the list and the sequence would shurely be different.
- Not to mention all the albums under my radar, I have'nt had the time or capacity to dig into.

So for what it's worth, here is the first batch.

Commissions by Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, David Crowell, Tawnie Olson and Paola Prestini

Vision Into Art Records 2017

Ian David Rosenbaum

- "Praised for his “excellent” and “precisely attuned” performances by the New York Times, percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum has developed a musical breadth far beyond his years. He made his Kennedy Center debut in 2009 and later that year garnered a special prize created for him at the Salzburg International Marimba Competition.

Mr. Rosenbaum joined the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program in 2012 as only the second percussionist they have selected in their history. He has appeared at the Bay Chamber, Bridgehampton, Chamber Music Northwest, Music@Menlo, Norfolk, and Yellow Barn festivals. Highlights of the 2016-2017 season include the world premiere of Quixote, an evening- length theatrical work with music by Amy Beth Kirsten and direction by Mark DeChiazza, a visit to the Adam Chamber Music Festival in New Zealand, and world premieres by Andy Akiho, Christopher Cerrone, Thomas Kotcheff, and Polina Nazaykinskaya, among others. In the fall of 2016, Mr. Rosenbaum will release his first solo album, Memory Palace, on VIA Records. It features five commissions from the last several years and includes collaborations with Brooklyn Rider and Gina Izzo. Mr. Rosenbaum is a member of Sandbox Percussion, HOWL, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Foundry, and Novus NY. He has recorded for the Bridge, Innova, Naxos, and Starkland labels and is on the faculty of the Dwight School in Manhattan. Mr. Rosenbaum endorses Vic Firth sticks and mallets."

Ian Rosenbaum performs Christopher Cerrone's Memory Palace




Co-composed by Lao Luo and Bang on a Can founders Michael GordonDavid Lang, and Julia WolfeCloud River Mountain is an edgy cross-cultural collaboration between the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the extraordinary Chinese vocalist Gong Linna, whose dynamic voice covers a vast canvas of sonic colors. Linna has drawn comparisons to Björk with her adventurous range, embracing Chinese folk, pop, and avant-garde art music with a sure-footed confidence that transcends borders. 

On Cloud River Mountain, she sings in both Mandarin and English over the groove-driven melodies and lush soundscapes of the All-Stars, weaving ancient Chinese storytelling together with Western songwriting in a raucous musical mix. Inspired by the verses of classical Chinese poet Qu Yuan, these seven songs channel the mystical stories of the past and merge them with the churning, clanging sounds of the future.

- Cantaloupe Music


Composers: Daníel Bjarnason, Þuríður Jónsdóttir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir (Amiina), Anna Þorvaldsdóttir, and Hlynur A. Vilmarsson). 
- "Can you hear a country in its music? Does Venice echo in Gabrielli’s buoyant antiphonies? Can you glimpse Bohemia in the lyrical effusions of Dvorak and Smetana? Does the United States of America sound like Copland’s heartland or Ellington’s Harlem? Like Peter Garland’s desert, or John Luther Adams’s tundra? There can be no definitive answer; every traveler usually brings personal baggage. I reckon that I do sense Iceland’s mutable skies and rugged terrain in the slow-moving luminosity of Thorvaldsdottir’s Dreaming. Likewise, the static/chaotic duality in Daníel Bjarnason’s shivering, rumbling Emergence evokes awesome powers coalescing in some act of primal creation. Thurídur Jónsdóttir’s Flow and Fusion, with its seamless blend of acoustic and electronic sounds, conjures the ineffable chiaroscuro of Iceland’s sky."
- Sono Luminus - WQXR Review
This CD premieres ten works from David Lee Myers, the “Darwin of electromagnetic lifeforms."

The album’s content spontaneously emerged from Myers’ self-designed, hand-built conglomerations of elaborately interconnected sound processing devices, with no external audio input. Some call the results “sounds from the ether” (hence this album’s title).

The CD’s music is distinctive and enticing. We hear an hallucinatory trip to a Martian jungle; irregular bongos overlaid with frog-croaked arpeggios; a rapidly sputtering, helium-inhaling synthesizer; a demented organ, gasping for life; all concluding with the placid atmosphere of dorsal streaming, tinged with calming panpipe-like chuffing.

- Starkland - Bandcamp

"My sound works are the result of capture, selection, processing and combination.  Essentially, I do not create sounds or compose, but allow latent or unseen forces and processes to present themselves via simple technologies.  I select the methods, set the stage, and as the phenomena emerge I of course introduce my own aesthetic judgements to the mix.  Therefore the sounds which are presented are neither completely random science nor the gesture of an artist's hand, but something between the two, and I believe this to be the most effective approach toward evoking meaningful impressions of unseen worlds." 

Collaborations with other artists have included Asmus Tietchens, Tod Dockstader, Ellen Band, Marco Oppedisano, Thomas Dimuzio, Gen Ken Montgomery, Alexander Ross, and VidnaObmana.

The One Ensemble's new album 'Saint Seven'. A through-composed 40 minute piece of post-punk orchestral folk, featuring accordions, bass clarinets, cello, percussion, guitar and voices.

Saint Seven, played in the round by The One Ensemble, is a dramatic hybrid of voices and instruments that seamlessly interweaves elements of experimental, folk and classical chamber music. Challenging conventional approaches to performance, this epic acoustic quartet is shot through with a rare theatricality.
The One Ensemble is a Scottish-based quartet comprising cello, clarinet and bass clarinet, guitar, accordions, percussion and vocals. Working collaboratively, this highly individualistic group creates songs and compositions that weave esoteric narratives around joyous centres, chameleon-like in its ability to move between various genres without losing its unique identity. Incorporating Eastern European traditions with a distinctly Anglo-Scottish twist, classical chamber music, minimalism and the experimental avant-garde into a heady brew, their music is otherworldly, magical and unmistakable. Individually and together the members of The One Ensemble are artists who draw on hidden folk heritages and influences from diverse European musics whilst retaining a distinctly contemporary sound of their own.

To be continued . . . the plan is about 20 to 25 albums followed by some honorable mentions, reissues and stuff from the vaults.


  • edited January 2018
    Batch 2:


    Russell Greenberg, percussion; David Shively, cimbalom; Dan Lippel, acoustic guitar; Taka Kigawa, piano; Jennifer Choi, violin; John Popham, cello
    Keeril Makan (b. 1972) composed his longest instrumental work to date, Letting Time Circle Through Us (2013), on commission for the New York City-based ensemble Either/Or, with whose musicians Makan has worked intimately over the course of many years and on several projects. The larger trajectory of Makan's musical explorations has not been a linear one, so this close collaboration was invaluable in arriving at the final recorded realization of the project.A near-constant in Makan's work is his use of the power of expectation and disruption via the establishment, continuation, variation, and interruption of musical cycles, whatever their content. Repetition and recurrence, periodicity - whether of rhythm or of complete musical fragments - change things, are capable of completely upending the listener's expectation of the syntax and flow of an idea, and thus of its expressive significance within a piece. Related to this are parallels between musical periodicity and the cycles we experience in life - sunrise/sunset, the phases of the moon, the seasons, and other, including perhaps more personal patterns - that are reflected explicitly in Indian and Indonesian musical traditions.These patterns or recurrence are acknowledged, at least obliquely, in Letting Time Circle Through Us, Makan's most direct and extended engagement with cyclic structures and periodicity. To quote his brief description of the piece, "The friction between two contrasting types of music creates the emotional journey of Letting Time Circle Through Us. From the foundation of a single note, stable music emerges that repeats throughout the piece. Between these repetitions, singular, novel musical events occur which contrast with the initial stability. Over time, these singular events darken, while the repetitions of the opening music strain to move past the stressful interruptions. Eventually the desire for a return to stability merges with the reality of continual change, and the tension of the piece dissipates."
    - New World Records.

    Keeril Makan

    Either/Or Ensemble
    - More Keeril Makan at Emusers here and here

    "The Godfather Of Minimalism"


    - Editions Mego is proud to present the latest opus from legendary British composer, actor, sound designer and all round fine human Simon Fisher Turner. Giraffe is a new major work which blurs the lines between sound design and song, machine severity and narrative sentimentality. Subtitled ‘living in sounds and music’ Giraffe take the listener through a vast journey where an abstract clacking of unknown origin rubs up against a melancholic electronic sequence. ‘Life sounds’ were captured with a portable hard disc recorder and i-phone and appear alongside contemporar sound design. Emma Smith provides the narrative on ‘Slight Smile’ whilst electronic machines grind amongst background industrial klang in ‘Mud Larks’. 'Save As' revolves around a beautiful simple piano motif which soon folds into an unnerving field recording and drone combination.

    Giraffe is a document of interior and exterior duality. A living space where machines and the surrounding world collide, a sonic landscape where musical and nonmusical elements are placed on an level hierarchy. The alchemy of these constituent parts results in the magic of Giraffe, one where the symbiotic sequence of events highlights a unique approach to sound as rapturous matter in whatever form it takes."


    "This album is a bit different than other music I created. The tracks on this album were created as the audio background for an audiobook. That audiobook contains stories about my hometown. As the stories are pretty dark (full of murders, breakouts, explosions, arrests by communist regime), the music is sometimes dark and disturbing, too. The music on "Stories of an Old Man" are reworked versions and they are a bit darker, full of ambient, experimental sounds and even some techno pulses.
    Also it is worth mentioning that the album was mastered by Michał Wolski, so you can be sure that there will be many beautiful noises and tape hiss! ENJOY."

    -  as an artist consequently introduces field recordings and electroacoustic sounds into his compositions which are the combination of the melodic ambient, guitar sounds and sometimes noise. He cooperated with many artists from USA, Canada and China. His latest compositions can be described as organic ambient with the elements of noise and field recordings. He has cooperated with many artists from the USA, Canada and China. Grzegorz is the co-founder of ChoP project where he concentrates his efforts on multicultural collaboration between artists from China and Poland. Together with Zen Lu, Grzegorz collaborated with British film director Isaac Julien on his project “Better Life” (“Ten Thousand Waves”). Grzegorz cooperates with many labels like Preserved Sound (PL), Etalabel (PL), Twice Removed (Australia), Dynamophone (USA), Post Label (CZ), Soft Recordings (FR), Twin Springs Tapes (USA), OHM Resistance (USA). Grzegorz performed during many festivals, such as Unsound Festival (PL), Shanghai Electronic Music Week (CN), Ambient Festiwal in Gorlice (PL), Ambient Park (PL), and Firmament Festival (PL), Festiwal Ambientalny (PL) and ChoP Festival, Shenzhen and Hong Kong (CN).


    Paola Prestini
     - "An astrophysicist searches for his wife in the stars. As the cosmos unfolds, the birth, life, and death of a star trace the couples loss of their child. With stunning images from the Hubble Space telescope, the space-inspired cantata culminates in a five-minute virtual reality film that launches the audience into an immersive voyage through the universe. Starring Nathan Gunn and Jessica Rivera. Written by Royce Vavrek, Film by Eliza McNitt, conducted by Julian Wachner. Through his narration, New York Times best-selling author and eminent astrophysicist Dr. Mario Livio explains the larger celestial implications at stake, placing the characters’ story within the grand scheme of the cosmos. In a final gesture, this family-friendly performance incorporates virtual reality cardboard headsets, simulating an immersive voyage through the universe, expertly created by The Endless Collective, a leading VR FX firm, with a 360-degree soundscape developed by Arup, the global leaders in acoustic and sound design. This mesmerizing live experience, co-produced by VisionIntoArt/National Sawdust, Beth Morrison Projects and Arup, reflects Livio’s poignant themes and the powerful realization that humans discovered, explore, and continue to expand the understanding of the universe, and man’s place in it. Commissioned by Jill Steinberg. Original commission by Bay Chamber Concerts for A New Frontier 2013. The Hubble Cantata is supported in part by generous individual donors, Time Warner Inc. in collaboration with 150, an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


    - Vision Into Art   -


    - More Paolo Prestini at Emusers



    Vocals and instruments: Amanda Palmer and Edward Ka-Spel
    Violins: Patrick Q. Wright
    Singing saw: Alexis Michallek
    I CAN SPIN A RAINBOW marks the first full-length collaboration between Palmer and Ka-Spel, founding member of visionary Anglo-Dutch psychedelicists The Legendary Pink Dots and one of her greatest artistic heroes. I CAN SPIN A RAINBOW is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Palmer, an avowed fan of Ka-Spel and the Legendary Pink Dots since discovering their psycho-theatrical, multi-textural work in her teens. As noted in her best-selling 2014 memoir, The Art of Asking, the LPD have long been an inspiration to Palmer, their deeply connected relationship with fans as important to her life and work as their fearless autonomy and impossible-to-pigeonhole musical approach.
    Recorded largely on Ka-Spel’s computer, I CAN SPIN A RAINBOW is a truly collaborative effort, “a spiritual experience,” says Palmer, in which both artists’ stories, song fragments, poems, and lyrics became wholly meshed with loops, melancholy piano playing, melodic beds, and strange rhythms. The results range from the enchantingly minimal The Clock at the Back of the Cage and the album-opening Pulp Fiction mysterious and strange with a luxurious theatricality that conjures both of its creators’ prior oeuvres while also opening a curtain into a heretofore unheard shared sonic world. Sensing the need for strings, the pair enlisted frequent LPD collaborator Patrick Q Wright, who contributed violin tracks from his studio in Italy. Alexis Michallek, Heap’s longtime studio assistant, contributes singing saw to Beyond The Beach.
    “We merged our songwriting heads and poetic worlds to make a new universe,” Palmer says. “We would sit in Imogen’s house drinking cups of tea, bemoaning the state of the upcoming election, binge drinking in the UK, the refugee crisis, our internet addictions, frightening news we had read, our relationships… and then we’d distill all of the ingredients of our fears and conversations into song form. The Rainbow metaphor – which is also a nod to the ‘spinning beach ball of death’ on a Mac – was a wide-open image that kept popping up as a recurring theme on the record. It’s both dark and light at the same time. To me, the songs are simultaneously frightening and comforting, like a thunderstorm heard from a living room.”
    “Making this record with Amanda felt a little like discovering a twin you didn’t know you had,” says Ka-Spel, “until a mysterious email lands in your inbox at a particularly auspicious moment. Some things are just meant to be…”

    - Cooking Vinyl


    - To be continued . . . .
  • Some good stuff here.... thanks!
  • soulcoal said:
    Some good stuff here.... thanks!
    - Five more:

    Composers: Caroline Shaw, Hans Thomalia, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen
    Anna Thorvaldsdottir, David T. Little
    Santa Radniece, Lewis Spratlan

    - "A substantial double album that never loses sight of the human voice at its heart, Seven Responses from Philadelphia’s superlative choir, The Crossing, began as a project to explore the topic of suffering. Seven extraordinary composers were asked to respond to one of the cantatas of Dieterich Buxtehude’s 1680 oratorio, Membra Jesu Nostri (The Limbs of Jesus). Performed by The Crossing and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the resulting pieces are diverse and uniquely personal yet together create a whole body of work that has an uncanny logic and leaves a powerful impression. One to remember.

    Hailing from Denmark, Latvia, Germany, Iceland and the USA and including two Pulitzer Prize winners (Caroline Shaw and Lewis Spratlan), the composers have produced works that cover a broad swath of styles. Hans Thomalla calls on the wind instruments to play multiphonics, blurring our perception as the choir shimmers around their distorted pitches, while Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s piece moves from violent string effects to prayerful contemplation in a fully synthesized color palette. David T. Little creates a sonic bath of low, reverberant tones and chants, broken by the hammering of brake drums and the power of an electric guitar and drums piercing the mystical atmosphere. And Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen -- who passed away just two days after the premiere of his “Ad cor” -- crafts three movements that come together, overlap, and form a whole in the final movement, in an astonishing amalgamation of form and content. Lewis Spratlan teams with poet Paul Kane to create a modern cantata that recalls Ancient Greek tragedy in its treatment of the chorus and soloists. Here, ICE is lush and descriptive, providing the aural backdrop on which the story of the suffering, dying earth is played out in lyric, sometimes sorrowful, at other times exhilarating, colors. Hope, warning, and lament, all wrapped in his facile, powerful musical language."
    - Innova Recordings 

    - "The Crossing is a professional choir dedicated to expanding the contemporary choral music experience through commissions, collaborations, community, and performances that are characterized by a distinctive unity of sound and spirit. . . . . .

    (David T. Little)


    Grant Cutler - Self Portrait

    Grant Cutler - Chris Campbell - Michelle Kinney - Jacqueline Ultan - Sara Pajunen
    Jef Sundquist - Michael Lewis - Aby Wolf

    - "We tend to think of the past as what happened, the present as what’s happening right now and the future as what’s to come, but the truth is that we are constantly engaged in the work of refashioning and recontextualizing the past. For composer and musician Grant Cutler, that process is at the center of his work. Self Portrait is Cutler’s third album for innova, following 2012 in 2011 and his collaboration with composer and producer Chris Campbell (Schooldays Over ) in 2013. As with those albums, the mechanism of composition is not effaced from the final work, but integral to it. Working with acclaimed musicians including Michael Lewis (Bon Iver, Andrew Bird, Gayngs), Aby Wolf, Sarah Pajunen, Michelle Kinney and Jacqueline Ultan (Jelloslave) and others, Cutler recorded artists improvising to delayed recordings of themselves, a kind of sonic déja vu where memory and experience blend together in an evolving present. Slowly evolving colors wash over the listener; as though placing a mic in front of a fresh Rothko. In this way, this Self Portrait becomes a portrait not just of Cutler but of all the musicians involved, and even becomes an act of memoir, an active reimagining of the self. Weaving together the capsules of time created by the musicians, Cutler pulls the tangent together into a long, circling recollection. This allows the music to become landscape, story, and document all at once. At first, the music here might sound spare, but repeated experiences with it peel back layers and reveal the beating human heart beneath it. Sound becomes a memory, cut up and rearranged in the retelling, then recorded again as a new memory, beginning the process over again."

    Innova Recordings - Emusic

    Grant Cutler


    Leyland Kirby - We, so tired of all the darkness in our lives

    "It's free because I mean it and you're worth it. Give it all or nothing."
    Sounds created by Leyland Kirby.
    Artwork by Ivan Seal.
    Audio mastered by Stephan Mathieu.
    - "These days it feels like it's at an all time low for positive outcomes.

    The music here is free for you to download or to pay for. It's your call. It's not free because I place no value on this work. It's free because I mean it.

    It shows a slightly different side and production value to previously released works. These are the tracks I've personally revisited most in the past four or five years. They have all helped me out. I'd like to think you don't see this as throwaway work. It's been collated carefully.

    Production wise I think it's more in focus and it gives some indications to early influences. It goes somewhere, it goes nowhere, there are drawn out synths, drums, piano and drift. It's about the fact that not everything need be angry, distorted or bombastic to show defiance. It's every bar stool I've sat on and am yet to sit on. It's me throwing myself down stairs again and again because I'm as sick of things as you are.

    If it's not released now then this work just sits on a drive for even longer gathering digital dust which I feel is a shame. Maybe you will find some solace in the sounds if your mood is right or you need them. Maybe one track hits home, maybe more do. Hopefully it can help here and there.

    I still greatly believe in the value of music and of true independent music. This is in spite of the constant devaluing of music by big business and streaming services. I'm not creating work to help push cans of energy drink or to look for cheap clicks on playlists or to get involved in scenes.

    The bottom line here is if you have no coin right now then this one is on me with pleasure. If you can support the work then this is great too. It's always a lot of hard work and a dream.

    I've been hard at it lately with The Caretaker work so now I afford myself a night out finally sinking the odd whisky or two down at my favourite Krakow bar, Propaganda. It's been a good while since the last time.

    I'll raise the whisky glass in there for us all. You know the score."
    - JLK xx

    As one of the most socially conscious young composers in contemporary classical music, Ted Hearne has drawn on a multitude of influences to create Sound from the Bench—his first project for Cantaloupe Music.

    Written for the supple, ethereal voices of Philadelphia’s world-renowned chamber choir The Crossing, the four works presented
    here tap into themes as varied as racial divides (Privilege), government secrets (Ripple), love and its dark permutations
    (Consent), and corporate personhood in the eyes of the US Supreme Court (Sound from the Bench).

    The title piece also features the edgy electric guitars of Dither’s Taylor Levine and James Moore, as well as the rhythmic flourishes of percussionist Ron Wiltrout. Taken as a whole, this is some of Hearne’s most wide-ranging and adventurous work—a siren call that resonates with unusual passion in these politically charged times.
    - Cantaloupe Music - Emusic
    More The Crossing at Emusers
    More Ted Hearne at Emusers

     Composer-guitarist Steven Mackey and composer-percussionist Jason Treuting's (So Percussion) their first collaborative album, Orpheus Unsung, released October 6 on New Amsterdam Records.

    Orpheus Unsung
    -  is an hour-long narrative for solo electric guitar (Mackey) and drums (Treuting) that traces the Greek myth of Orpheus in the underworld,casting Mackey's electric guitar as the disembodied voice of the legendary musician, poet, and prophet Orpheus.
    Mackey's virtuosic and exposed performance portrays Orpheus as he seeks to reverse fate and regain his irrevocably lost love, Eurydice, through the power of his divine musical gifts.
    According to legend:
    Orpheus marries his true love Eurydice. Following the wedding, Eurydice is bitten by a snake and dies. Orpheus cannot bear this and embarks on a perilous journey to the underworld with the aim of bringing her back. Orpheus’s musical gifts are supreme, animals, plants and even stones move in order to better hear him sing and play his lyre. He sings his plea to the ruler of the underworld who does allow him to take Eurydice back with him under the condition that he not look back to check to see if she is still there. When Orpheus crosses the threshold back to the surface he can no longer resists and he looks back but Eurydice has not yet crossed and she is immediately drawn back to the underworld, gone forever. Orpheus mourns but eventually comes to terms with his loss. Later, a mob of Thracian women in a Dionysian Orgy rip Orpheus apart. Dismembered, his head and lyre float down a stream, his head still singing and his lyre still playing, until they rest at the head of the stream and become an oracle.

    Although Orpheus's tale is slim, it feels expansive. The story encompasses huge mysteries and complex truths about separation, loss, love, will, weakness, and perhaps most compellingly, the artist’s dream embodied by Orpheus himself: of creating expression so persuasive, clear, and powerful that it might even alter the immutable, and stand against death.

    The concept of Orpheus Unsung was first developed as an opera without words by Mackey and filmmaker, designer, choreographer and director Mark DeChiazza, with Mackey composing the score with Treuting. The project was co-produced by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Liquid Music Series and Guthrie Theater, and premiered in June 2016 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in a production conceived, choreographed and directed by DeChiazza and featuring performances by Mackey, Treuting and an ensemble of three dancers.
    - New Amsterdam - eMusic

    - More Steven Mackey at Emusers here, here, here, here and here.

    To be continued . . .
  • - Another five:


    The project from the Michigan powerhouse GVSU New Music Ensemble features new work from the slashsound collectiveAdam Cuthbért, Matt Finch,
    & Daniel Rhode, on the Innova label:


    The New Music Ensemble at Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI) has established itself as an innovator and incubator within the new music community. Founded in 2006 by Director Bill Ryan, the ensemble has commissioned over 60 new works, toured extensively, and received wide recognition for its recordings of both Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians, and Terry Riley’s In C. These albums have been on year-end best-of lists at WNYC, Time Out Chicago, the Washington Post, the New York Times, LA Weekly, and many others.

    In its 11 years, the program at GVSU has developed a proud and supportive culture. Realizing a longtime goal of an “100% homegrown project,” Ryan, who also teaches composition at GVSU, turned to program graduates: Adam Cuthbert, Matt Finch, and Daniel Rhode after continuing to follow the work of the three composers on their recently formed experimental collective, slashsound.Return is a forward-looking electro-acoustic vision. The 15 tracks are a lush and explorative marriage of electronic and acoustic sounds and gestures, in what Cuthbert describes as “electronic chamber music.” While rooted in the initial notation provided by the composers to the ensemble, recordings of this material were then used by the composers as the raw material (or “samples”) for the album. Despite creating something completely new out of the source material, the traditional composer/performer foundation provides an undeniable intimacy and warmth.
    - ; -  Emusic  -  Innova Recordings




    Oiseaux-Tempête - AL​-​'AN ! الآن

    With this ambitious project partly recorded in Beirut with local musicians and featuring Mondkopf, Charbel Haber, Sharif Sehnaoui, G.W. Sok, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Oiseaux-Tempête have achieved a far more complex work, richer in texture, the intertwining of acoustic elements with electronica, roaming and shaking the foundations of this almost labyrinthian personal opus of an album. As ever, the group realises both the immersive and also the total physicality on the record.
    The third part of a journey that commenced in 2012. A two part - aesthetic and political - proposition. How to build something that speaks of the present, that transcribes it, mirrors it, opens discourse and questions, and provokes the sharing of experience that conjures away this contemporary malaise of powerlessness and, in turn, opens doors to a common future?

    The destination, Beirut - the very heart of, what perhaps it's most famous historians named, the "storm zone". With 17 different communities and all the cultural and religious fusion that that implies, its common frontiers with Syria and Israel, streams of Palestinian and Syrian refugees, the stigmata from a 15 year civil war still very much in the air, this enclave that opens onto the sea appears to be a concentrated amalgamation of all the political challenges that are faced by the Middle-East.

    Above all though, was the music. The chance to collaborate with two members of Johnny Kafta Anti-Vegetarian Orchestra, guitarist Charbel Haber (Scrambled Eggs, The Bunny Tylers) and percussionist Sharif Sehnaoui (Karkhana, Alan Bishop, Okay Temiz) presented itself. As always, working with urgency, spontaneity and without pre-written material, they found themselves performing in the local improv scenes or in the studio with Charbel, Sharif, Ali El Hout and Abed Kobeissy (Asil ensemble for contemporary classical Arabic music, Two or the Dragon), Pascal Semerdjian (Postcards) and the oud player Youmna Saba. Each arrived at their own unique language, creating the terms of a dialogue rooted in the present and without set rules. These recordings from the Tunefork studio and made inside the flat they're renting in Mar Mikhael (only a short walk from the port where the refuse of the city piles up), would give birth to the early sketches of what can now be heard on AL-'AN! . Back in France, in Brittany and in Paris, the sessions were completed at Kerwax and Magnum Diva studios with drummer Sylvain Joasson (Mendelson), electronic musician Mondkopf, the soprano saxophone of Stéphane Rives and the vocalists Tamer Abu Ghazaleh and G.W. Sok. 

    As a seismograph it measures. Aware to the heart beat, of the hypnotic pulse from the analogue machines to the explosion of matter and matters. And in the same way, AL-'AN ! remembers. Memories in the far more intimate form of the travel diary, each track the capturing of a moment, brief sketches, the first notes the faint outlines of a specific atmosphere, the chords building little by little the heavier lines of a coherent edifice, an innate sense of structure beneath the apparent fragmentation. The keystone reveals itself only as the journey ends, the final side of the record, in the form of the epic 17 minutes of "Through The Speech of Stars" resolving in the misty haze of " À l'Aube".
    AL-'AN ! proceeds from a logic of abundance, from the diversity of character to the binds that give it its structure. Not only because this opus is blending the Arabic, French and English languages, and in doing so constructs a dialogue between Europe and the Middle-East. But also because it safeguards moments of wondering (« I Don't Know What Or Why (Mish Aaref Eish w Leish »), of self doubt, of nocturnal reveries, of times of fervour and of compact and condensed energy. The feeling of tension and confinement is mirrored in the open spaces of the night beneath a blanket of stars. Silence responds to the heat of noise, urban chaos greeting endless space, creating moments of calm which on previous albums had been only hinted at. Sacred songs (In "Carnaval" the echo of the track "Wa Habibi" from Fairuz, captured from a street corner on a Holy Friday can be heard) give way to secular poems. The words of Mahmoud Darwish his own voice on "The Offering" and his words, taken from "The Red Indian's Penultimate Speech To The White Man" ,resonate on "Through The Speech Of Stars". The speech of the political, an articulated language ,finds its counterpart in the anonymous scream or the sound of singing birds. Like a chorale, AL-'AN ! blurs the origins. It embraces this "Now!" the living and the dead, the world and us, the misery and the bliss of being. Here and now. One thing is certain: the story of the night that OISEAUX-TEMPÊTE paints is one that moves towards the day, and is one in which Eros still has words left to say.
    Sub Rosa - Emusic - More at Emusers




    Tim Hecker - Love Streams

    Hecker’s newest opus, Love Streams, takes as its cue from the avant-classical orchestration and extreme electronic processing of his previous full-length, 2013’s Virgins, but shaped into more melancholic, ultraviolet hues.  Its power accrues as it unfolds.  Inspired by notions of 15th century choral scores transposed to an artificial intelligence-era language of digital resonance and bright synths, the album was assembled gradually, with layers of studio-tracked keyboards, choir and woodwinds being woven into the mix, then molded and disfigured through complex programming.  The effect is similar to hearing some ancient strain of sacred music corrupted by encryption.  Hecker admits to thinking about ideas like “liturgical aesthetics after Yeezus and the“transcendental voice in the age of auto-tune” during its creation.
    - 4AD
    # 19
    Pioneer of contemporary harp practice and performance Zeena Parkins’ new LP Three Harps, Tuning Forks & Electronics will be released by Good Child Music January 27th, 2017. A sought-after collaborator, Zeena Parkins has worked with Björk, John Zorn, Nels Cline, Yoko Ono, Matmos, So Percussion, and Thurston Moore among many others.  As a bandleader and solo artist, she has released a staggering catalog stretching back to the early eighties.Her latest work, Three Harps, Tuning Forks & Electronics, represents a return to her most essential form, while extending her unique voice and musical language into the world of concert music. A translation of the music written for her 2008 collaboration with choreographer Neil Greenberg entitled Really Queer Dance With Harps, Three Harps transforms her original improvised score into a stand alone, composed piece anchored in Zeena’s pioneering use of “extended technique.” Utilizing the entire apparatus of the harp and various objects to create and process sound, Zeena and two additional harpists elicit a tangible sense of movement from their unusual processes, resulting in a harp record unquestionably like no other.Three Harps, Tuning Forks & Electronics was co-produced by Zeena Parkins and Lawson White (David Lang, John Zorn, Gil Scott-Heron, Bryce Dessner, Alarm Will Sound, So Percussion, Victoire / Glenn Kotche) and will be released digitally, on CD, and Vinyl January 27th, 2017 by Brooklyn label Good Child Music. Three Harps is slated to be the first in a series of releases by Zeena Parkins on the label.

    - Good Child Music

    - Emusic




     - "After his highly acclaimed „A Requiem For Edward Snowden“ LP, Matthew Collings returns with a collaboration with Swedish sound artist Dag Rosenqvist. „Hello Darkness“ is dark and it is bleak and it’s fragmented. It feels like those days when you want to just annihilate everything, and then stare at a river. It demands your attention. It sounds like it’s breaking from the inside. It’s serious. And not.Rosenqvist & Collings started their work on „Hello Darkness“ already back in 2012, right after they had released the Wonderland EP (on Hibernate Recordings). There really were no guidelines or rules for what they were going to create, they just wanted to make music together, and surprisingly it came naturally, and felt pretty good…This turned out to be one of those collabs that are kind of off and on. At times both were too busy with other things, and so sometimes months would pass between working sessions. And when they picked it up again, most of the times they had basically forgot where they left off, having to retrace their steps, remember things, re-create ideas, trash ideas that didn’t work, misplace tracks and sounds only to add them to songs they weren’t meant to be a part of. Rosenqvist & Collings worked destructively from processed stereo tracks with botched fade-ins, scrapping entire sessions and adding new layers and sounds of all kinds, letting it go in any directing it needed to, adding different time signatures on top of each other, turning sounds and entire tracks inside out and upside down. They found a freedom to go in any direction they wanted to, free from what they’ve done before, free from any expectations on both each other and from anyone else.Despite all of this, there is a humour to the album. There’s something tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing. This was also one of the reasons they choose to go with the title of the album, which is – in all honesty – slightly over the top. This was also the commission when creating the cover design. No holds barred, no restrictions.The title is of course “borrowed” from the Simon & Garfunkel track The Sound of Silence, a fact that probably doesn’t make them any cooler. Thinking about it now, Matthew Collings second album was called Silence Is A Rhythm Too. Coincidence? Some say there are no coincidences."

    - Denovali Records - Mathew Collings at Emusers.


    - To be continued . . .

  • More:


    Composers: Kinan Azmeh, Guy Barash, Missy Mazzoli, Raven Chacon
    Armando Bayolo, Cornelius Dufallo

    - "Violinist and composer Cornelius Dufallo began his “Journaling” concert series in 2009 as a way to document the work of living composers and contribute to a repertoire of 21st century violin music. In 2012, innova Recordings released Journaling, the first album created out of these concerts and now comes the follow-up, Journaling 2.

    Bringing together elements of electronics, extended techniques, chance techniques, and digital interactivity, the pieces here were composed by Kinan Azmeh, Guy Barash, Missy Mazzoli, Raven Chacon, Armando Bayolo, and Dufallo himself. Azmeh’s “How Many Would It Take” draws inspiration from the composer’s long visit to his home country of Syria; Bayolo’s “Tisch” takes off from Bach’s “Toccata in F Major”; and Dufallo’s “Reverie” expresses the unpredictable and often contradictory thoughts encountered in dreams."
    - Innova Recordings

    Cornelius Dufallo

    - "is an innovative composer and violinist, and a dedicated advocate of contemporary music. For the past two decades Dufallo has performed and promoted new music, as a soloist and as a collaborator. Dufallo has been a memeber of several notable ensembles, including the Flux Quartet (1996-2001), Ne(x)tworks (2003-2011), and ETHEL (2005-2012). Currently he is on the roster of the VisionIntoArt program, and he performs as a member of the Secret Quartet.

    In the performance of his own work, Dufallo was described as “an intensely introspective thinker who is committed to visual communication as he is to the purely musical” (Washington Post). His work with musical technology illustrates “how much amplification can expand the instrument’s palette. Far from robbing the violin of its beauty, electronics add textural elements and graduations of timbre that the acoustic instrument cannot approximate” (The New York Times)."



    Composers: Christopher Cerrone, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Ellen Reid, Daniel Bjarnason, Andrew McIntosh
    . . . . . For years LAPQ has been known for its skill in both championing and cataloging works by West Coast composers, with a specific focus on Los Angeles. With Beyond they explore the deep knowing that comes from making work with old friends. And broadly, the project signals a move for the Los Angeles contemporary music scene, a scene burgeoning out with global significance, and overflowing with artists actively seeking to create community.

    Beyond is a remarkable epic in which space and time are stretched on and on, over and past the horizon. Bjarnasson’s “Qui Tollis" spans an incredible arc, emerging from the contemplative space of the works around it, brimming with the bashes and tumbles of bass drums, and then seemingly too early, vanishes again into a lull and rhythmic groan. With “Fear-Release,” Reid takes us into a world of metallic voices, as if we’re listening to a rubbed piece of crystal from inside the gem itself. It’s rare that a piece of music seems to truly sonically shine, and Reid’s piece accomplishes this brilliance early and often.  Thorvaldsdottir’s “Aura” is the wind, the sand in the wind, and the wind chime hanging from the wood on the old falling-apart porch all at once. It speaks multitudes, and miraculously all upon the quiet edge of audibility. The expanse of McIntosh’s “I Hold the Lion’s Paw” is that of a twelve-hundred page novel, in which each page has less than a half dozen words. Its sprawl is scrolled out like a web in air, as the quartet communicates effortlessly with one another across a cavern of distance. In one moment they sit still in space, another they rattle endlessly like the earth; they arrive where we are, simply putting musical puzzle pieces together. With “Memory Palace,” Cerrone creates rooms of sound, each drenched in a subtle hue. In the rooms of this ever-expanding house we find ourselves drinking different air, buzzing with pop, hiss, and click, and lingering with a guitarist who could be inside the guitar itself.

    - Sono Luminus  -  Second Inversion review

    Los Angeles Percussion Quartet
    "There are more languages spoken in Los Angeles than in any other city in the world. It’s a transitive city. Most residents have come here to contribute to its cultural identity and have ended up calling it “home.” Los Angeles is a city where every industry, creative or otherwise, is fueled by the pursuit of personal creative dreaming. It’s clear then how the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet (LAPQ) created a community of composers and made them all local to the group’s music making and to Los Angeles itself, regardless of each composer’s city of origin.

    Is it language that makes someone at home in a given place? If so, the compositional languages of Anna Thorvaldsdottir,Christopher Cerrone, Ellen Reid, Daníel Bjarnasson, and Andrew McIntosh appear as interwoven and complex as Los Angeles itself. Their music similarly courses with chiming repetition, spectral near-silence, and the wearing away of time on objects so barely touched that they appear, in moments, as fragile as paper. These composers — from two drastically different continents — are brought together by LAPQ, despite their differences in origin, under one banner: friendship."

    - Soundcloud



    Steve REICH : Violin Phase
    Jesper NORDIN : Calm Like A Bomb
    Bernard PARMEGIANI : Pulsion-Miroirs
    Bernard PARMEGIANI : Jeu de cellules
    Bernard PARMEGIANI : Végétal
    Daniel TOSI : Gala II
    Georges APERGHIS : The Only Line

    - "Diego Tosi joined the Ensemble intercontemporain as a violinist in October 2006. He performs as a soloist in the world’s greatest concert halls and plays from the repertoires of all periods.
    He has made several CDs on the “Solstice” label, including works by Ravel, Scelsi, Berio and Boulez, which have won major awards. More recently he has recorded the entire œuvre of virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate and has just received Del Duca prize awarded by the French Academy of Fine Arts and the SACEM’s Enesco prize. Having been the unanimous choice for first prize at the Paris Conservatoire (CNSMDP), where he studied under Jean-Jacques Kantorow and Jean Lenert, he went on to train in Bloomington (USA) with Miriam Fried before winning the postgraduate Concours des Avant-scènes at the Paris Conservatoire. During his training Diego Tosi entered the most prestigious international competitions, including the Paganini in Genoa, the Rodrigo in Madrid, the Valention Bucchi in Rome, winning every time. As a young musician he also studied under Alexandre Bendersky and won many awards in various international competitions, including those of Wattrelos, Germans Claret and Moscow. Since 2010, he’s the artistic director of the festival Tautavel en musique."
    Disques du Solstice


    Colin Stetson – Alto & Bass Saxophones
    Greg Fox – Drums
    Shahzad Ismaily – Synths
    Toby Summerfield – Guitar

    EX EYE makes music of power, control, motion and intention; music composed with precise, clockwork intricacy and ecstatic abandon. It is hard, heavy music – aggressive, cathartic, and thrilling. The instruments fluidly exchange roles; melody, harmony, riff, engine, anchor, fuel.

    Gathered at renowned, experimental saxophonist Colin Stetson’s behest in 2016, EX EYE consist of Stetson along with Greg Fox (Liturgy) on drums, Shahzad Ismaily (Secret Chiefs 3, Ceramic Dog) on synths and Toby Summerfield on guitar. Upon their formation, the group appeared at a series of prestigious festivals including Roskilde Festival (Denmark), Red Bull Music Academy (Montreal), CTM Festival (Germany), and Eaux Claires Fest (US).Their otherworldly live performances and hypnotically heavy rehearsal demos led to their signing with Relapse Records who will release the band’s self-titled debut album this June. Recorded live at EX EYE member Shahzad Ismaily’s Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn, NY (Blonde Redhead, Damien Rice, Okkervil River, Son Lux, Pussy Riot), the debut showcases a band that is without question the sum of its parts, as each player contributes not only their own particular technical prowess and expertise but also their signature compositional character. EX EYE make incredibly complex yet beautifully dramatic and emotive music which eclipses usual expectation of style or genre and takes the listener on a cathartic, thrilling journey to total transcendence.

    - Relapse - Emusic 

    (Colin Stetson at his very best !)



    - "Experimental Italian guitarist, electro-producer and sound designer  Eraldo Bernocchi joins forces with percussionist FM Einheit (a founder of the influential German industrial group Einstürzende Neubauten) and London-based cellist Jo Quail on Rosebud, a compelling mix of tranquil ambient sounds and pummeling industrial onslaughts. From the opening “Bloom,” an 11-minute suite that travels from evocative ambiance to caustic crescendo, to the closing theme “The Inquirer,” which emerges gradually over a haunting drone and builds to a hellacious distortion-laced guitar climax, Rosebud carries a dark, foreboding undercurrent while showcasing the trio’s uncanny group-think in the throes of organized chaos. . . . ."
    - “FM came up with most of the titles and we thought they were perfect,” he said. “The reference to Citizen Kane is there. The moment is now. Look at what’s happening everywhere — the media role, Trump, Erdogan, Brexit. The memories we more and more treasure as they slip from our fingers, the power abuse, the fake news of the web, the rise of populism. It’s all happening now!"
    - RareNoiseRecords



    - "Time, silence, light, reflection, and transcendence are all explored in Jane Antonia Cornish’s new album, Into Silence. A breathless fragility on the precipice of liminal space imbues the album’s six over-arching linear meditations; each work an inquiry into the transitory beauty of the unknown, through self-reflection and the conscious reorientation of perspective. These hallmarks of Cornish’s aesthetic experience, along with the exquisitely balanced unfolding of her material, all contribute to a highly expressive and brave musical narrative that is unafraid, and, once heard, cannot be unheard.

    The six works featured here are not only unified conceptually, but also through their instrumentation; each features a subset of an aggregate ensemble of violin, piano, four ‘cellos, and electronics. Throughout, Cornish brilliantly uses a carefully planned unveiling of instrumental sonorities to actuate and propel the over-arching design of the album’s broader narrative. 

    Memory of Time (solo violin and four cellos) explores a distant nocturnal pathos as the solo violin’s expressive presence floats, suspended, over the ‘cello ensemble’s irrevocable sighs. The titular Into Silence I incorporates piano and electronics into the sonic tableaux of the proceeding work, reorienting the seemingly unappeased yearning of the introductory material with a tender earthbound comfort. Scattered Light, scored for ‘cello alone, expounds an unbridled moment of cadenza-like virtuosity. As the harmonic rhythm increases and intensifies the work concludes in an evaporated calmness. Elegia returns to the sound-world and material of the album’s opening work (Memory of Time), now examined through the aperture of elegiac reflexivity. A meditation on solitude, Into Silence II, for piano solo, probes some of the album’s most inner-directed moments of isolation. Luminescence (scored for solo ‘cello, three ‘cellos, and electronics) is a culmination of the entire album’s exploration of liminality. The electronic component returns with an exquisite and arresting subtly of hushed empyrean filigree. A solo cello momentarily transforms the sighing motif of the opening into a hopeful upward reach towards transcendence. The work ends in deliquesce silence, and the album concludes with a return of the opening motif, exemplifying the elegant notion that silence is the path to transformation."

    - Innova Recordings.

    Jane Antonia Cornish is a British Academy Award winning composer who grew up in England and lives in New York City. In the world of film scoring, Cornish composed the music for many films, including the drama “Fireflies in the Garden”, starring Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds and Willem Dafoe. . . .



    Music for Saxophones, Percussion and Harry Partch Instruments
    Blue Notes and Other Clashes (2016) by Steven Mackey (b. 1956)
    PRISM Quartet and Sō Percussion
    Future Lilacs (2016) by Ken Ueno (b. 1970)
    PRISM Quartet, Partch, Derek Johnson, Stratis Minakakis
    Skiagrafies (2016) by Stratis Minakakis (b. 1979)
    PRISM Quartet, Partch, Stratis Minakakis

    - "We have developed some pretty sophisticated ways of using language to describe music. But music remains such a slippery, elusive thing that we often find ourselves approaching it sideways—through a kind of linguistic sleight of hand. We use the language of the eye to describe this language of the ear: the names of major musical movements were taken from the visual arts (Classicism, Romanticism, Impressionism, Expressionism, Minimalism). And the metaphor of color has been used, to great effect, to talk about music for centuries, at least. In fact, the ancient classical music traditions of India are built on this metaphor: the word “raga” literally means “color.”

    When the PRISM Quartet decided to commission a body of work built around the idea of musical colors, it seemed a natural next step for a group that has already created a substantial and diverse repertoire of music built around the almost infinitely variable sounds of the saxophone family. The sax has a long tradition in classical music, and rock, and even South Indian music; but its most famous players have been jazz musicians—from Coleman Hawkins to Charlie Parker to John Coltrane—whose sound was built around the so-called “blue” notes that are part of the fabric of jazz. So the members of the quartet had a deep connection with the idea of tone colors. But that wasn’t the Color Theory moment of genius. No, that came when PRISM decided to ask composers Steven Mackey, Ken Ueno, and Stratis Minakakis to write for the combination of saxophone quartet and percussion. There is no more kaleidoscopic palette in the instrumental world than in the percussion section—where over the years composers have placed such sonic oddities as bird calls, a record player, automobile parts, and the piano. Color Theory pairs PRISM with two percussion-based ensembles: Sō Percussion, the New York-based quartet whose definition of “percussion” is liberal enough to include teacups, twigs, and fuzz; and Partch, the California-based ensemble that plays mid-20th century instruments designed by Harry Partch, whose 42-note-to-the-octave tuning system operates with a completely different sonic palette."

    —John Schaefer at XAS Records / PRISM Quartet


    - "Black Mountain Songs is the debut album from the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus, out March 31.

    This expansive choral work celebrates and rekindles the utopian spirit of Black Mountain College, where iconic artists including Willem de Kooning, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, Josef and Anni Albers, Franz Kline, and Robert Rauschenberg converged and collaborated in the mid 20thCentury. Black Mountain Songs features works by Bryce Dessner (who also created the project), Richard Reed Parry, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw
    Jherek Bischoff, John King, Nico Muhly, Aleksandra Vrebalov, and a collaboration between Dessner and Tim Hecker. Black Mountain Songs is the studio recording of an evening-length stage work of the same name, which premiered to acclaim in BAM’s 2014 Next Wave Festival. The project was co-commissioned by the Chorus and BAM, co-curated by Dessner and Parry (of the rock bands The National and Arcade Fire), and produced by the Chorus. Dessner, Parry, and Shaw, along with the Chorus, perform on the album."
    - New Amsterdam - Emusic

    Brooklyn Youth Chorus

    - "is a collective of young singers and vocal ensembles re-envisioning choral music performance through artistic innovation, collaboration, and their distinctively beautiful sound.

    With an incredibly versatile range and repertoire, Brooklyn Youth Chorus combines intensive voice training and music study with exceptional performance experiences. Our artistic excellence and achievement has made us the go-to chorus for leading New York orchestras, popular recording artists and arts presenters.The Chorus’s trademarked Cross-Choral Training® method prepares singers with the skills and technique necessary to perform music from a variety of styles—classical to contemporary—traditional to commercial. With an emphasis on commissioning, the Chorus’s repertoire includes more than 70 original works and world premieres.Founded in 1992 by Artistic Director Dianne Berkun Menaker, Brooklyn Youth Chorus’s after-school program encompasses over 500 students in multi-level training divisions and advanced performing ensembles. In addition, students can enroll in a full complement of enrichment classes, individual lessons and summer camp. All students perform in the Chorus’s annual concert series, and our advanced ensembles appear regularly at prestigious venues—from Carnegie Hall to the Barbican Theatre. Advanced singers also enjoy opportunities for touring and recording"


    • Bass Clarinet, Contrabass Clarinet – Kristine Tjøgersen
    • Composed By – Michael Pisaro
    • Performer [Performed By], Electric Guitar [Godin And Moog Electric Guitars], Piano [Bowed Piano], Tape [Field Recordings] – Håkon Stene
    Håkon Stene and Kristine Tjøgersen announce a new album with music by Michael Pisaro due for release on June 6, 2017

    Imagine a breath that goes on forever; where everything is different yet everything the same. ‘asleep, street, pipes, tones’ is a remarkably beautiful electro-acoustic work by the eminent composer Michael Pisaro (born 1961, Buffalo, New York), whose seventeen short movements – organised according to the four groupings indicated by the title – last in total for just over one hour. Interpreted in this recording with great precision and delicacy by Håkon Stene and Kristine Tjøgersen, it presents us with a partially frozen sound world where small, even infinitesimal shifts of emphasis in an otherwise glacial rate of change appear to take on the dramatic status of major events. Observing the oscillations of sound waves as the piece’s file plays out, one might see a long flat plain suddenly interrupted by vertiginous skyscraper peaks before the shimmer of reverberation decays and we’re flat out on the plateau again, as if a mysterious metropolis of mile-high buildings intersected a vast expanse of sea-level swamp.

    The intensity of these sudden, transfiguring peaks – like a brief glimpse of colour or figuration seen against an abstract monochrome ground – is strikingly apparent, and one learns to regard them as a kind of gift from the composer to the listener, although there’s a different type of pleasure to be had from the steady, sustaining drones that form the figure’s ground. As the critic Ben Ratcliff wrote in The New York Times: "Michael Pisaro likes his music to develop as a slow-motion force, with adjustments of tone and pitch and instrumentation so long-brewing that you lose your awareness of the player’s hand and the composer’s will." Once we grow accustomed to the slow duration and rate of change, our ears begin to notice more and more detail, like eyes growing used to the dark and discovering new constellations in the night sky. And as the music begins to work on us, we in turn start to work on it, decoding more and more information as each listening-minute passes, or the experience is repeated by playing the piece again, and the associations we bring to it continue to deepen. In simpler words, it’s trippy.In time, as with prolonged exposure to the comparable, process-based works of artists James Turrell or Bill Viola, who also deal with both the minutiae of subjective perception and the big stuff of existential questions in their practice, we might think that all of human life is here: birth, existence, death, even the mystic stew of gases cooling to form the universe itself. This enlarged sense that one is engaging with something really profound is reinforced by the links between Michael Pisaro’s particular interests in the organisation of sound and what we might know about the music and philosophy of other cultures, especially the transcendent sense of time we encounter through the role of the tamboura drone in classical Indian music.By placing the listener at the very centre of his work ("What would it mean to experience the world primarily through listening?”, he writes in the notes to accompany this recording), Michael Pisaro is making the processes of how we receive and apprehend sound and music, his effective subject. Similarly, his interpreters in ‘Asleep, Street, Pipes, Tones' are given a degree of freedom that goes far beyond the normal boundaries separating composer and performer, becoming co-creators of what he describes as “a new realisation of the piece made for and with Håkon.”

    - Hubro

    Michael Pisaro at Emusers

    Håkon Stene at Emusers



    Ikue Mori - Obelisk

    Jim Black: Drums, Sylvie Courvoisier: Piano
                                                  Okkyung Lee: Cello, Ikue Mori: Electronics
    Universally acclaimed as a pioneer in live laptop electronics, Ikue’s signature style is still uniquely her own and has influenced two generations of laptop performers. Her new band project Obelisk is a super-band featuring three of the most acclaimed and original players in the Downtown scene—Okkyung Lee, Jim Black and Sylvie Courvoisier. Ikue’s startling compositions blend gorgeous melodies with hypnotic rhythms and evocative soundscapes. Strange and beautiful music from a legendary master of laptop improvisation!

    Ikue Mori

    That was it, Vault stuff and honorable mentions coming soon . . .

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