On the Record is a weekly column meant to round up details about new and pending recordings of interest to the new-music community: contemporary classical music and jazz, electronic and electroacoustic music, and idioms for which no clever genre name has been coined, on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, digital-only formats… you name it.
This list of upcoming release dates is culled from press releases, Amazon and other online record stores, social-media posts, and similar resources. Dates cited correspond to U.S. release of physical recordings where applicable, and are subject to change. These listings are not comprehensive—nor could they be! To submit a forthcoming recording for consideration, email information to email@example.com.
Into Orbit with Scott Worthington
The bassist and composer Scott Worthington is a mainstay of the feisty, burgeoning Los Angeles new-music scene: a much-admired interpreter of his own music as well as works by other composers, a valued creator whose music has a signature luminosity, an in-demand sound engineer, and the co-founder of wasteLAnd, a crucial concert series. On bass, he’s participated in estimable recordings of music by John Cage, George Lewis, Katharina Rosenberger, Nicholas Deyoe, and others; among his solo recordings, Wandelweiser Bass is a choice offering, featuring pieces by Antoine Beuger and Eva-Maria Houben.
Worthington’s elegant compositions have been the focus of two albums to date, both on the invaluable L.A. label Populist Records: Even the Light Itself Falls, a gorgeous trio for clarinet, bass, and percussion redolent of Morton Feldman’s slow-paced splendor (which I wrote about for The New York Times in 2014); and Prism, a haunting collection of solo and quartet pieces recorded alone and multi-tracked.
Next week, Worthington will add to his discography a third recording devoted solely to his music: Orbit, due March 19 from the French publisher IIKKI. The 37-minute album, available in vinyl and digital formats, includes three compositions: A Time That Is Also a Place, for flute (played by Rachel Beetz) and recorded sounds; Interlude, an electronic work; and A Flame That Could Go Out, for two five-string electric basses.
Like the four previous releases from IIKKI, the music on Orbit has an intended counterpart in a book of photography – here, a collection of moody black-and-white images by the Italian photographer Renato D’Agostin. The album and book are available separately, but are intended to complement one another. Both LP and book are hand-crafted, hand-numbered art objects crafted with high-quality materials and processes, produced in strictly limited quantities.
The founder of IIKKI, Mathias Van Eecloo, is better known for his other label, Eilean Records, a cherished, adventurous imprint that releases recordings of category-defying ambient and electronic music, on artfully designed limited-edition CDs and in digital formats. A former art student who has worked extensively in black-and-white photography and slide projection, he also makes his own music under a handful of pseudonyms, principally Monolyth & Cobalt.
Where founding Eilean had provided Van Eecloo with the means to make a modest living while sharing music that moved and excited him, Van Eecloo said via email, IIKKI was conceived as a more elaborate channel for bringing together his two artistic passions. Both imprints, he added, reflect his own abiding zeal for beautiful physical objects—books and records alike. Working on a project with Worthington came about when he listened to Even the Light Itself Falls after reading a review on Fluid Radio, and then inquired whether the bassist might be interested in producing a physical edition of that digital-only recording.
Worthington politely declined that idea, but agreed to explore the possibility of creating a new project involving a visual artist of Van Eecloo’s choosing. In a separate email exchange, he explained that Van Eecloo sent him a batch of D’Agostin’s photographs for consideration.
“I agreed that the aesthetic seemed to be a good pairing, and briefly thought about writing the album from scratch, but the timeline was too short (he emailed in September about a March release),” Worthington said. “So I ended up picking pieces of mine in response to the photos and recording them. I wrote the central interlude specifically thinking about the photos I had been sent and as a way to give the album a nice flow. I never directly interacted with Renato, but his photos informed my musical choices for the album.”
“When I heard the works, I was totally convinced,” Van Eecloo said. “More than that, when I listened for the first time to his works with Renato’s photos, it was obviously, for me, a perfect match, a wonderful one.”
As of this writing, just one track from Orbit is available for advance audition on Bandcamp: the quietly gripping A Time That Is Also a Place can be streamed in its entirety. But for anyone who wants to hear more before investing in vinyl, a SoundCloud preview stream includes excerpts from all three works, edited and segued in seamless sequence.
And for those who want to see more of D’Agostin’s photography than the handful of images included on the Bandcamp page, a promotional video posted on Vimeo allows you to flip through the entire book virtually. The soundtrack for the brief video is drawn solely from A Time That Is Also a Place. But if you listen to the SoundCloud preview before watching, you might find it surprisingly easy to intuit a correspondence between the book’s images, grouped into three sections, and the album’s three pieces.
“I’m not sure exactly how Renato and Mathias picked the photos for the book,” Worthington said. “While there are some from the set Mathias sent me, many are new to me. I know he waited for Renato to approve the musical pairing, too.” But, he adds, “the book itself has the album track names almost as chapter titles, so I imagine there was some thought about which photos to place with each piece.”
“I trust in my feelings, and when I love a sound or a visual artist, I ask them,” Van Eecloo said of his curation and matchmaking processes. “For IIKKI, I try to see upstream in my head who can be paired with who, what it will create. Then, if they are connected and agree to work together, I let them move forward. Let’s say that IIKKI is a bridge!”
Orbit is due March 19, 2018, on IIKKI in vinyl and digital formats, with or without a corresponding book of photography; pre-ordering is available now via Bandcamp. The Byrne:Kozar Duo will perform Scott Worthington’s composition SILENCE (every spell is muted) at the National Opera Center in New York City on April 21 at 7:30pm; details here. Worthington will perform in the world-premiere live realization of Wolfgang von Schweinitz’s Cantata, or You are the star in God’s eye, presented by wasteLAnd and Microfest at REDCAT in Los Angeles on May 23 at 8:30pm; details here.
New This Week
Ensemble Musikfabrik – Kreutzungen – works by Vassos Nicolaou, Johannes Schöllhorn, Gérard Grisey, Dieter Mack (Wergo)
Brian Ferneyhough – La Terre est un Homme – Olivia Robinson, Jennifer Adams-Barbaro, Cherith Millburn-Fryer, EXAUDI/James Weeks, ensemble recherche, BBC Symphony Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins (NMC Recordings) Rafael Anton Irisarri – Sirimiri (Umor Rex) Kohl – Learned Ethics/Imposed Ethics (Umor Rex) LogarDecay – FRGL (Umor Rex) Sarah Nemtsov – Amplified Imagination – Ensemble Adapter, ensemble mosaik, Sonar Quartett (Wergo)
Jordan Pal – Into the Wonder – Gryphon Trio, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra/Arthur Post (Analekta) Wang Lu – Urban Inventory – International Contemporary Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Moderne (New Focus) Scott Miller – Raba – Laura Cocks, Dan Lippel, Ensemble :U (New Focus) Lucas Niggli – Alchemia Garden (Intakt) Aruán Ortiz Trio – Live in Zürich (Intakt)
Sergio Sorrentino – dream: American Music for Electric Guitar – works by John Cage, David Lang, Jack Vees, Elliott Sharp, Alvin Curran, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, Larry Polansky, and Van Stiefel (Mode) Various artists – Phantom Images – improvisatory electronic works by Katherine Young, Chris Mercer, Charmaine Lee & Sam Pluta, and Aaron Cassidy (Huddersfield Contemporary Records) Philip Venables – Below the Belt – Melinda Maxwell, Phoenix Piano Trio, Ligeti Quartet, David Hoyle, London Sinfonietta/Richard Baker (NMC Recordings) Byron Westbrook – Confluence Patterns (Umor Rex)
(☆ – new addition this week)
☆ Scott Worthington – Orbit (IIKKI; see story above)
Arild Andersen – In-House Science (ECM) Karl Berger – In a Moment – Music for Piano & Strings (Tzadik) Jakob Bro – Returnings (ECM) Caroline Davis – Heart Tonic (Sunnyside) Yuko Fujiyama – night wave (Innova) Kyle Gann – Hyperchromatica (Other Minds) Anne Guthrie – Brass Orchids (Students of Decay) Ah Young Hong – a breath upwards – vocal works by Milton Babbitt and Michael Hersch (Innova) Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Barton – Music and Poetry of the Kesh (Freedom to Spend; related Log article here)
Hong Chulki/Will Guthrie – Mosquitoes and Crabs (Erstwhile) Toshiya Tsunoda/Taku Unami – Wovenland (Erstwhile) Christian Wolff/Antoine Beuger – Where Are We Going, Today (Erstwhile)
Mary Halvorson – Code Girl (Firehouse 12) Invisible Anatomy – Dissections (New Amsterdam) Olivier Messiaen – Catalogue d’oiseaux – Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Pentatone) Rempis/Piet/Daisy – Throw Tomatoes (Astral Spirits) Gyan Riley – Sprig (National Sawdust Tracks) Sonar with David Torn – Vortex (RareNoise) Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is a Reptile (Impulse!)
Henry Threadgill 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg – Dirt… and More Dirt (Pi Recordings)
Clarice Jensen – For this from that will be filled – works by Clarice Jensen, Michael Harrison, and Jóhann Jóhannsson (Miasmah) Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints – Scandal (Greenleaf Music) Ashley Paul – Lost in Shadows (Slip) Quince Ensemble – Motherland – vocal works by Gilda Lyons, Laura Steenberge, Cara Haxo, and Jennifer Jolley (New Focus) Kristjan Randalu – Absence (ECM) Dan Weiss – Starebaby (Pi Recordings) Patrick Zimmerli Quartet – Clockworks (Songlines)
Anthony Braxton – Quartet (Willisau) 1991 Studio (hatOLOGY; reissue)
Duduka Da Fonseca Trio – Plays Dom Salvador (Sunnyside) Goldmund – Occasus (Western Vinyl) Silvan Schmid Quartet – At Gamut (hatOLOGY) Matthew Shipp – Symbol Systems (hatOLOGY; reissue)
Basil Athanasiadis – Soft Light – Shonorities (Métier) District Five – Decoy (Intakt) Duo Gazzana – Ravel / Franck / Ligeti / Messiaen (ECM New Series)
Joshua Fineberg – Sonic Fictions – Pascal Contet, Arditti Quartet, Argento Chamber Ensemble/Michel Galante, Talea Ensemble/James Baker (Métier)
Uli Fussenegger – San Teodoro 8 – Ernesto Molinari, Mike Svoboda, Martin Siewert, Uli Fussenegger (Kairos) Globe Unity Orchestra – Globe Unity – 50 Years (Intakt)
Andrew Hamilton – Music for People – Michelle O’Rourke, Juliet Fraser, Maxime Echadour, Crash Ensemble, Ives Ensemble/Alan Pierson (NMC) Alexander Knaifel – Lukomoriye – Oleg Malov, Tatiana Melentieva, Piotr Migunov, Lege Artis Choir/Boris Abalian (ECM New Series)
Mike McGinnis with Steve Swallow & Art Lande – Singular Awakening (Sunnyside) Maria Monti – Il Bestario (Unseen Worlds; reissue, LP/CD only) Luigi Nono – Como una ola de fuerza y luz; …..sofferte onde serene…; Paulo de Assis – unfolding waves… con luigi nono – Claudia Barainsky, Jan Michiels, SWR Experimentalstudio, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln/Peter Rundel, Léo Warinsky (Kairos) Wenchen Qin – Orchestral Works – Weiwei Lan, Wei Ji, Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien/Gottfried Rabl (Kairos) Edward Simon – Sorrows & Triumphs (Sunnyside) Karlheinz Stockhausen – Kurzwellen – C.L.S.I Ensemble/Paul Méfano (Mode) John Zorn – Insurrection (Tzadik)
Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog – WRU Still Here? (Northern Spy) Tigue – Strange Paradise (New Amsterdam/NNA Tapes) Nils Vigeland/Reiko Fueting/Daniel Lippel/John Popham – “…through which the past shines…” – solo and chamber works for guitar by Nils Vigeland and Reiko Fueting (New Focus)
Kyle Bobby Dunn/Wayne Robert Thomas – The Searchers/Voyevoda (Whited Sepulchre)
☆ Architek Percussion – The Privacy of Domestic Life – works by Adam Basanta, Taylor Brook, Duncan Schouten, and Beavan Flanagan (Centrediscs) ☆ Michael Gordon – Clouded Yellow – Kronos Quartet, Young People’s Chorus of New York City/Francisco J. Nuñez (Cantaloupe Music) ☆ Michael Torke – Unconquered – Philadelphia Orchestra/Cristian Macelaru (Ecstatic)
☆ Michael Blake– The Philosophy of Composition: Works for Violoncello and Piano – Friedrich Gauwerky, Daan Vandewalle (Wergo)
Roman Filiú – Quarteria (Sunnyside) Dave Holland, Evan Parker, Craig Taborn & Ches Smith – Uncharted Territories (Dare2 Records; related Log article here) ☆ Steve Reich – Live/Electronic Music (Analog Spark; vinyl reissue) ☆ Lisa Steich – pietà – Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra/Gregor Mayrhofer, hand werk/Niklas Seidl, Vokalensemble Kölner Dom/Eberhard Metternich, ensemble recherche, UT insieme vocale-consonante/Lorenzo Donati (Wergo)
Daniel Carter, William Parker & Matthew Shipp – Seraphic Light (AUM Fidelity) Rachel Grimes – The Doctor from India (Original Soundtrack) (Mossgrove Music)
Robert Honstein – An Economy of Means – Karl Larson, Douglas Perkins (New Focus)
Loadbang – Old Fires – works by Scott Wollschleger, Angélica Negrón, Taylor Brook, Paula Matthusen, William Lang, Jeffrey Gavett, and Reiko Fueting
This week in On the Record, The Necks defy expectation and categorization on 'Three,' their 21st album, new on Northern Spy. Plus dozens of listings for forthcoming releases.
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This week in On the Record: Bandcamp has responded to the current COVID-19 pandemic by waiving its fees for 24 hours, directing more money to artists and labels—here are some new and recent releases to buy today.