On the Record rounds 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Silkheart to your heart
Earlier this week, through a sidelong mention on a friend’s Facebook page, I learned of an amazing thing: Silkheart, the vital Swedish jazz label founded in 1987 by Lars-Olof Gustavsson and Keith Knox, had at some point earlier this month turned up on Bandcamp. Opening the page, I saw that dozens of the label’s releases were available for partial streaming, and for inexpensive purchase in a variety of digital formats, lossless included. Instantly I opened Twitter to spread the good news… but made the mistake of trying to find out why a certain former political operative turned media personality was trending.
Revolted, I closed my computer for the night—but then proceeded to buy a handful of albums I’d owned in physical form for decades, and to sample tracks from twice as many more. As disgusted and distraught as I’d felt just moments earlier, the music contained on these invaluable volumes immediately started to salve the ache and ease the distress. It’s just as Albert Ayler told us: “Music is the healing force of the universe.”
During the late 1980s and early ’90s, Silkheart was almost untenably busy, issuing album after album of must-hear material. Sometimes it was by a seasoned veteran, like the soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, the drummer Denis Charles, or the Sun Ra trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah.
Often it was a representative of the burgeoning New York underground that soon would be tagged ecstatic jazz: the saxophonists David S. Ware and Rob Brown, the pianist Matthew Shipp, the collaborative Other Dimensions in Music. Silkheart was in fact the first label to document the uncompromising saxophone enigma Charles Gayle.
And frequently Silkheart would champion some artist whose work sorely deserved wider attention: the under-represented, under-appreciated veteran saxophonist Charles Brackeen, or Dennis González, the Dallas trumpeter/poet/teacher/shaman who helped to bring Brackeen back to the bandstand and studio.
The pace proved unsustainable: by the turn of the century, Silkheart’s output had slowed to a trickle. Sometimes a year went by without a single release. Yet somehow the label endured; its latest release, Music for Six Musicians: Hommage à Olivier Messiaen, by the trombonist Steve Swell, was recorded a year ago, and arrived in stores and online on June 8.
Quite likely this ambitious recording was the catalyst that brought the entire catalog to Bandcamp in its wake. Whatever the case, the reappearance of so much soul-shaking music could not be more opportune.
Please excuse our absence
Having spent most of this week’s column writing in the first person, I’ll keep it up for a quick moment simply to apologize for the temporary, unplanned hiatus of “On the Record,” which was stated to be weekly and mostly was, until it disappeared completely in May. The facts are these: this column is very much a labor of love, one I’ve spent many enjoyable hours preparing. Unexpectedly, for a bit more than a month, those enjoyable hours were nowhere to be found. Other projects demanded higher priority: some out of necessity, and others due to circumstance. Still, I continue to believe that this column serves a useful purpose, and I’m committed to producing it again regularly. I hope you’ll stick around, and if you’re an artist or label operator, I renew my call for advance details of forthcoming releases.
New This Week
ARP – Zebra (Mexican Summer) Pascal Battus/Anne-F Jacques/Tim Olive – Trois Conseillers (Caduc.) Coppice – Green Flame (Caduc.) Crooked Trio – De Luxe (Barbès Records) Duo Noire – Night Triptych – music for two guitars by Clarice Assad, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Courtney Bryan, Golfam Khayam, and Gity Razaz (New Focus) Michael Leonhart Orchestra – The Painted Lady Suite (Sunnyside) Polyorchard – sextet | quintet (Out and Gone) Norbert Rodenkirchen, Robbie Lee, and James Ilgenfritz – Opalescence (Telegraph Harp) Jonah Sirota – Strong Sad (National Sawdust Tracks) Carl Stone – Electronic Music from the Eighties and Nineties (Unseen Worlds)
(☆ – new addition this week)
John Adams – Doctor Atomic – Gerald Finley, Julia Bullock, BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra/John Adams (Nonesuch) ☆ John Coltrane Quartet – Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!)
Kevin Hufnagel – Messages to the Past (Nightfloat/Translation Loss) Allen Ravenstine – Waiting for the Bomb (ReR Megacorp) John Zorn – In a Convex Mirror (Tzadik)
Melaine Dalibert – Musique pour le lever du jour (elsewhere) Biliana Voutchkova/Michael Thieke – Blurred Music (elsewhere)
Michael Hersch – Violin Concerto; end stages – Patricia Kopatchinskaja, International Contemporary Ensemble/Tito Muñoz; Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (New Focus)
☆ Forma – Semblance (Kranky) ☆ Jacob Greenberg – Hanging Gardens – music by Debussy, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern, with Tony Arnold (New Focus)
☆ Punch Brothers – All Ashore (Nonesuch)
Mary Halvorson – The Maid with the Flaxen Hair – A Tribute to Johnny Smith – duets with Bill Frisell (Tzadik)
Davy Mooney & Ko Omura – Benign Strangers (Sunnyside)
☆ Alex Jang – momentary encounters – Cristián Alvear, Heather Roche, Apartment House (Another Timbre) ☆ Cassandra Miller – Just So – Quatuor Bozzini (Another Timbre) ☆ Cassandra Miller – O Zomer! – Mira Benjamin, Philip Thomas, Apartment House, Charles Curtis, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Ilan Volkov (Another Timbre) ☆ Lance Austin Olson – Dark Heart – Terje Paulsen, Gil Sansón, Ryoko Akama, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Katelyn Clark, Mira Benjamin, John Lely, Anton Lukoszevieze (Another Timbre) ☆ Linda Catlin Smith – Wanderer – Apartment House (Another Timbre)
☆ Josh Modney – Engage – music by Sam Pluta, Taylor Brook, Kate Soper, Anthony Braxton, Johann Sebastian Bach, Eric Wubbels, and Josh Modney (New Focus)
☆ Various artists – Music from SEAMUS, Volume 27 – electronic music by Carter Rice, Brian Sears, Russell Pinkston, Robert Seaback, Samuel Wells, Nathaniel Haering, Jason Bolte, and Timothy Page (New Focus)
☆ Eric Moe – Uncanny Affable Machines – performances by Chen Yihan, Lindsey Goodman, Jessica Meyer, and Paul Vaillancourt (New Focus)
☆ Jeremiah Cymerman – Decay of the Angel (5049 Records)
Mikkel Ploug & Mark Turner – Faroe (Sunnyside)
Exclusively on National Sawdust Log, watch a gorgeous animated-collage video for "My Magic Dreams Have Lost Their Spell," the title track from a forthcoming LP by composer and cellist Nick Storring.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Nick-Storring.jpg8001500Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2020-02-26 13:00:212020-02-26 13:16:22New Music Preview: Nick Storring
This week's tally of memorable things National Sawdust Log editor Steve Smith has stuck in his ears includes selections featuring Carla Bley, Dave Douglas, Riot Ensemble, and Ludvig Forssell.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Playlist-Feb-24-2020.jpg5002000Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2020-02-24 21:30:202020-02-24 22:24:15Playlist (The Clamorous Choir of Birds).
This week in On the Record, the ingenious composer and vocalist Jennifer Walshe evokes the early history of Western music, aided by artificial intelligence. Plus dozens of listings for forthcoming releases.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Jennifer-Walshe.jpg600900Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2020-02-21 17:45:092020-02-21 17:45:09On the Record: February 21, 2020
This week's tally of memorable things National Sawdust Log editor Steve Smith has stuck in his ears includes selections featuring Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays, Jasmine Guffond, Vanessa Rossetto, and Reinbert de Leeuw.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Playlist-Feb-17-2020.jpg5002000Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2020-02-17 15:30:402020-02-17 15:54:09Playlist (Songs to Be Sung).