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 email@example.com.
Some of the records that arrive this week warrant an instant if cautious endorsement: Listen to a bit of sound-art storyteller Matthew Revert’s obliquely seductive The Honey Dodger or the exemplary Black Truffle anthology of voice-synthesis works created by electronic-music innovator Paul DeMarinis from the late ’70s up to 1995, and you’ll know immediately if it’s right for you, so consistent and singular are these releases. Others, like Michael Pisaro’s magnum-opus box set Nature Denatured and Found Again and Wadada Leo Smith’s ambitious oratorio Rosa Parks: Pure Love, demand prompt attention but resist snap judgement, requiring time to absorb and process fully.
And then there’s the latest album by Yarn/Wire, which for anyone who appreciates excellent performances of inventive new compositions can be summed up in three works: Get this, now.
Since you’re reading a column about new recordings, though, a concise explanation is warranted. The basic idea, summarized last month in a National Sawdust Loginterview with founding member Russell Greenberg, goes like this: Yarn/Wire is a busy, versatile, insatiably curious quartet made up of two pianists (Laura Barger and Ning Yu) and two percussionists (Greenberg and Ian Antonio). Owing to its unorthodox instrumentation, once the group got past the staple works by Béla Bartók, George Crumb, and Luciano Berio that comprise the essential repertoire for its lineup, it had to begin the process of assembling its own canon.
Yarn/Wire/Currents represents one major thread of the quartet’s myriad activities. The series was conceived after the group collaborated with an impressive range of creative artists – composers in the conventional academic sense, but also sound artists of wildly divergent backgrounds – to generate eight new pieces during an Issue Project Room residency. Continuing to work with now-former Issue artistic director Lawrence Kumpf in his new nomadic curatorial venture, Blank Forms, Yarn/Wire extended its commissioning program over subsequent seasons, germinating more than a dozen new pieces.
In explaining Yarn/Wire’s urge to document its new creations for public consumption, Greenberg cited the steady stream of recordings produced by Donaueschingen Musiktage, a German festival. “When I was in college, I remember going to Amoeba Records, and there would be this section of the Donaueschingen concerts,” Greenberg told interviewer Brad Cohan. “It was before you could really get stuff streaming really easily, so it was a way for the world to find out about a lot of new music during this festival. When we started commissioning and working with people in this kind of close way… I was like, ‘This could be a way for people to find out about composers who are doing really interesting stuff that they might not find out about otherwise.’” The advent of Bandcamp, with its capacity for making recordings widely available on a pay-what-you-will basis, provided an ideal vehicle for the fledgling initiative.
The fifth entry in the Yarn/Wire/Currents recording series – or sixth, counting Vol. 0, a collection of pieces produced during the original Issue residency – illustrates the value of the entire undertaking. The new album, available in a variety of download formats (including lossless) and on made-to-order CD, features two pieces recorded at a Blank Forms concert in 2017: molten trees, by the Austrian composer and improviser Klaus Lang, and different furs, by the American bassist and composer Michelle Lou.
Whether intentional or serendipitous, the pieces make excellent disc mates, Lang’s slow-moving, sonorous expanse of ringing and rumbling tones neatly complementing and contrasting with Lou’s edgy tiger’s tread rhythm and itchy tactile sensations. Both works reflect their composers’ abiding concern with the way listeners perceive time. And, while the music works perfectly well as an aural-only experience, Yarn/Wire has posted videos of the performances on YouTube, as well.
Finally, mark your calendar for May 14, when Yarn/Wire presents its next Currents concert at Zürcher Gallery (33 Bleecker St.). The program includes the New York City premiere of Calibration Circle by the Chicago-based composer and sound artist Olivia Block, as well as a new piece by Ithaca, NY percussionist and composer Sarah Hennies.
New This Week
John Adams – Roll Over Beethoven – Philip Moore, Joseph Havlat (LSO Live)
Lucian Ban & Alex Simu – Free Fall (Sunnyside)
Paul DeMarinis – Songs without Throats (Black Truffle) ☆ Eli Keszler – Empire (Shelter Press) ☆ M. Lamar and the Living Earth Show – Lordship and Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman (Negrogothic) Hugh Marsh – Violinvocations (Western Vinyl) 9T Antiope – Nocebo (PTP) Jessica Pavone – In the Action (Relative Pitch) Michael Pisaro – Nature Denatured and Found Again (Gravity Wave) ☆ Matthew Revert – The Honey Dodger (Thalamos) Brandon Seabrook and Philip White – Shock Breakout (Anticausal Systems) ☆ Wadada Leo Smith – Rosa Parks: Pure Love (TUM) Wing Walker Orchestra – Hazel (eyes&ears)
Casey Anderson – ghostses – Bent Duo (a wave press)
Lisa Bielawa– Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser – performers include Kronos Quartet, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Magik*Magik Orchestra, American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, PARTCH, and others (Orange Mountain Music) ☆ The Flying Luttenbachers – Shattered Dimension (ugEXPLODE/GOD) ☆ Karl Fousek – In the Forest (Second Editions) ☆ Nicholas Phillips – Shift – compositions by Reena Esmail, Gabriela Lena Frank, Whitney George, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Libby Larsen, Angelica Negron, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Ingrid Stolzel (Panoramic)
Ryuichi Sakamoto – BTTB – 20th Anniversary Edition (Milan) ☆ Carl Stone – Baroo (Unseen Worlds) David Torn/Tim Berne/Ches Smith – Sun of Goldfinger (ECM) ☆ Byron Westbrook – Voice Damage (Psychic Troubles)
Sam Ashley & Werner Durand – I’d Rather Be Lucky Than Good (Unseen Worlds) Caleb Burhans – Past Lives – performances by Simon Jermyn, JACK Quartet, and Duo Harpverk (Cantaloupe Music) Yevgeny Kutik – Meditations on Family – compositions by Timo Andres, Kinan Azmeh, Christopher Cerrone, Andreia Pinto Correia, Paola Prestini, Gity Razaz, Joseph Schwantner, and Gregory Vajda (Marquis Classics) Joe Martin – Étoilée (Sunnyside) NbN – trios (self-released) Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir – Vernacular – compositions by Páll Ragnar Pálsson, Þuríður Jónsdóttir, Halldór Smárason, and Hafliði Hallgrímsson (Sono Luminus)
Beat Circus – These Wicked Things (Innova)
June Chikuma – Les Archives (Freedom to Spend) ☆ Helen Grime – Woven Space – London Symphony Orchestra/Simon Rattle (LSOLive) ☆ William Hooker – Cycle of Restoration (FPE) ☆ Mary Lattimore & Mac McCaughan – New Rain Duets (Three Lobed)
Tobias Meinhart – Berlin People (Sunnyside) Typical Sisters – Hungry Ghost (Outside in Music)
☆ Fennesz – Agora (Touch)
Henryk Górecki – Symphony No. 3 (“Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”) – Beth Gibbons, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra/Krzysztof Penderecki (Domino)
Amirtha Kidambi’s Elder Ones – From Untruth (Northern Spy) Logan Strosahl Spec Ops – Sure (Sunnyside)
Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society – Mandatory Reality (eremite)
This week's tally of memorable things National Sawdust Log editor Steve Smith has stuck in his ears includes selections featuring Alvin Curran, Linda Catlin Smith, Lea Bertucci, and Chris Forsyth.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Playlist-May-27-2019.jpg5002000Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2019-05-27 03:00:222019-05-28 16:15:57Playlist (Blinking at a star).
This week's tally of memorable things National Sawdust Log editor Steve Smith has stuck in his ears includes selections featuring Rew, Christian Wolff, Ellen Arkbro, and John Zorn.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Playlist-May-20-2019.jpg5002000Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2019-05-20 18:00:232019-05-21 17:28:31Playlist (Something like a bird).
Ahead of Linda May Han Oh's National Sawdust show May 16, watch a video premiere from her new album, 'Aventurine,' which finds the bassist, composer, and bandleader celebrating creativity and evolution.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Oh-banner-3.jpg8001500Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2019-05-15 12:00:282019-05-15 13:54:27Video Premiere: Linda May Han Oh