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. (Links to Amazon, where used, do not imply endorsement.)
These listings are not comprehensive—nor could they be! To submit a forthcoming recording for consideration, email information to email@example.com.
An Exclusive Premiere from Astral Spirits
A few weeks ago in this column, National Sawdust Log spoke with Nate Cross, founder of the ecstatic-jazz and experimental-music label Astral Spirits, about extensive plans surrounding the fifth anniversary of his endeavor. Among the details discussed: a much-anticipated new release from Amirtha Kidambi and Lea Bertucci. Highly esteemed composer-performers with utterly distinctive approaches to sound production and organization, the two artists recently have been collaborating on a fascinating joint venture, described by the label thusly:
The duo of Amirtha Kidambi on vocals and Lea Bertucci on tapes and electronics finds new territory in extending the sonic possibilities of the human voice through electronic manipulation and improvised tactics. Taking a more integrated approach than simply filtering voice through electronic processing, Bertucci manipulates Kidambi’s voice through tactile methods with tape machine, including manual speed control, by physically touching the reels as Kidambi’s live voice is fed through the machine. Kidambi reacts in turn with a vocal arsenal of timbral techniques, creating a literal visceral feedback loop of noise, processed, and polyphonic voices.
Influenced equally by jazz, Carnatic, and western classical vocal techniques, the duo takes a thoroughly freely improvised approach. Their pieces command form through looped repetitions, stark dynamic and textural contrasts, slowly unfolding melodic motifs among harmonic beds and a formidable mind-meld in reactivity between Kidambi and Bertucci. For the astute listener, the explorations may conjure a real-time version of postwar musique concrète or the groundbreaking experiments of live electronics pioneer Pauline Oliveros’ tape improvisations. Their forthcoming album Phase Eclipse, featuring studio improvisations along with a full live concert from The Kitchen, will be released on Astral Spirits in November, 2019.
What results is a music that’s simultaneously visceral and cerebral, intellectual and spiritual, and unlike anything else you’ve heard… which is why we’re so pleased to offer an exclusive preview of Phase Eclipse, available now to preorder on the label’s Bandcamp page. (A super-limited red-foil cassette edition is almost gone; a standard cassette edition and downloads are also available.) Astral Spirits has provided us with “Live at the Kitchen,” a cathartic live performance from January 24, 2019, dedicated to the memory of Ellen O’Meara, a much-loved composer and performer who had passed away a week before. For good measure, we’re also including a video recording of the performance, so that you can see for yourself what went into making this music.
Via email, Cross described how Phase Eclipse came to be:
Phase Eclipse took shape surprisingly quickly and simply. Lea emailed me earlier in 2019, and I remember just getting excited seeing her name as the sender. Then, finding out it was a duo with Amirtha Kidambi, I was immediately sold on the idea. That the music was tied into the idea of tape was also an easy sell on me. Bertucci’s physical manipulation of Kidambi’s voice in real time via tape machines, and then Kidambi’s voice reacting to said manipulations, was this beautifully simple and complex cyclical idea. Then, taking all that and putting said music onto an actual cassette tape was a coup that made me feel like it fit on Astral Spirits perfectly. Once I actually heard the material, I was blown away. I sort of had an idea of what to expect, but it just obliterated my preconceived notions in that perfect way you always hope for.
This was truly one of those rare and delightful instances where everything just fell into place easily. Phase Eclipse reminds me of the pure joy and fun of why I started a label in the first place.
Marco Bosco – Metalmadeira (Les Giants; reissue of 1983 Arco Iris Empreendimentos Artisticos release)
Bryce Dessner – Tenebre – Moses Sumney, Ensemble Resonanz (Resonanzraum)
Morton Feldman – Patterns in a Chromatic Field – Mathis Mayr, Antonis Anissegos (Wergo)
Ernest Hood – Neighborhoods (Freedom to Spend; reissue of 1975 Thistlefield release) Devonté Hynes – Fields – Third Coast Percussion (Çedille) Daniel Lentz – Ending(s) – Twilight String Orchestra/Nicholas Deyoe (New World) Bill MacKay and Katinka Kleijn – STIR (Drag City; related article here) Nathan Alexander Pape & Patrick Breiner – Ground Air (Astral Editions) Regular Music – Regular Music (Klanggalerie; reissue of 1985 Rough Trade release) Enjott Schneider – Mozart & Beethoven Meeting Yin & Yang – performances by Juliana Koch, Wu Wei, and the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra/Simon Gaudenz (Wergo) Christopher Tignor – A Light Below (Western Vinyl) Micaela Tobin – A Vast Room (a wave press; physical release Oct. 21) Matthew Welch – The Upside Down World (for Glenn Branca) (Kotekan)
(☆ – newly listed this week)
Komeshi Trio – The Master Speaks Thrice (Astral Spirits)
Cassandra Miller – Bel Canto; Traveller Song; Tracery: Hardanger; Tracery: Lazy, Rocking – Juliet Fraser, Plus-Minus Ensemble (all that dust) Tim Parkinson – piano music 2015-16 – Mark Knoop (all that dust) Georgia Rodgers – A to B; Late lines – Serge Vuille, Séverine Ballon (all that dust) Karlheinz Stockhausen – Kontakte – George Barton, Siwan Rhys (all that dust)
Ilia Belorukov & Vasco Trilla – Laniakea (Astral Spirits)
Colin Fisher Quartet – Living Midnight (Astral Spirits)
☆ Michael Formanek Very Practical Trio – Even Better (Intakt)
Nick Fraser/Kris Davis/Tony Malaby – Zoning (Astral Spirits)
☆ Clemens Gadenstätter – Semantical Investigations – performances by Ernst Kovacic, Klangforum Wien/Etienne Siebens, Ensemble Modern/Sian Edwards, Ensemble Nikel, L’Instant Donné, Krassimir Sterev, Yaron Deutsch (Kairos)
Jan Garbarek/Hilliard Ensemble – Remember me, my dear (ECM)
Guerilla Toss – What Would the Odd Do? (NNA Tapes; related article here)
Michael Harley – Come Closer – compositions by John Fitz Rogers, Stefan Freund, Carl Schimmel, Fang Man, Reginald Bain, Caleb Burhans, and Jesse Jones (New Focus)
Jim James, Teddy Abrams, Louisville Orchestra – The Order of Nature (Decca Gold; related article here)
Per Störby Jutbring – The Thief Bunny Society (Hoob)
Petros Klampanis – Irrationalities (enja-Yellowbird) Matana Roberts – Coin Coin Chapter 4: Memphis (Constellation) Saariselka – The Ground Our Sky (Temporary Residence) ☆ Howard Skempton – Man and Bat; Piano Concerto; The Moon Is Flashing; Eternity’s Sunrise – Roderick Williams, James Gilchrist, Tim Horton, Ensemble 360 (First Hand) ☆ Chris Speed Trio – Respect for Your Toughness (Intakt) Kathleen Supové – Eye to Ivory – compositions by Mary Ellen Childs, Guy Barash, Nick Didkovsky, Randall Woolf, and Dafna Naphthali (Starkland) ☆ Martino Traversa – Hommage – performances by Hae-sun Kang, Livia Rado, Ciro Longobardi, and Ensemble Prometeo/Marco Angius (Kairos) ☆ Saadet Türköz/Elliott Sharp – Kumuska (Intakt) ☆ Stefan Węgłowski – From 1 to 7 – Yeyoung Sohn, Marcin Dylla (Kairos)
☆ Julian Anderson – Poetry Approaching Silence – Nash Ensemble/Martyn Brabbins (NMC Recordings)
☆ Joanna Bailie – Artificial Environments – Plus-Minus Ensemble (NMC Recordings)
Ka Baird – Respires (RVNGIntl.)
☆ Jennie Oh Brown – Giantess – compositions by Shulamit Ran, Carter Pann, Valerie Coleman, Misook Kim, and Augusta Read Thomas (Innova)
☆ Michael Byron – Bridges of Pearl and Dust – Ben Phelps (Cold Blue)
☆ Robert Carl – Splectra – Alison Bjorkedal (Cold Blue)
Kit Downes – Dreamlife of Debris (ECM) ☆ David Dzubay – all water has a perfect memory – performances by Orion String Quartet, Voices of Change, Miranda Cuckson, Barkada Quartet, Zephyr, Emily Levin, Indiana University New Music Ensemble, Simin Ganatra, John Rommel, and David Dzubay (Innova) ☆ Ayman Fanous/Frances-Marie Uitti – Negoum (Mode) Mary Halvorson & John Dieterich – a tangle of stars (New Amsterdam) Ted Hearne – Hazy Heart Pump – performances by Miki-Sophia Cloud, Saul Williams and Mivos Quartet, Ashley Bathgate, Ron Wiltrout, Diana Wade, Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, and Argus Quartet (New Focus) ☆ David Lang/Mark Dion – anatomy theater – Marc Kudisch, Robert Osbourne, Peabody Southwell, Timur, International Contemporary Ensemble/Christopher Rountree (Cantaloupe Music) Jenny Lin – The Études Project, Volume One: ICEBERG – compositions by Iceberg New Music and others (Sono Luminus) Maciej Obara Quartet – Three Crowns (ECM) ☆ Miles Okazaki – The Sky Below (Pi Recordings) ☆ Meara O’Reilly – Hockets for Two Voices (Cantaloupe Music) ☆ Matthew Sargent – Separation Songs – Eclipse Quartet (Cold Blue) ☆ David Sawer – Rumpelstiltskin – Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/Martyn Brabbins (NMC Recordings) ☆ Conrad Tao – American Rage – compositions by Frederic Rzewski, Julia Wolfe, and Aaron Copland (Warner Classics)
Gerald Cleaver & Violet Hour – Live at Firehouse 12 (Sunnyside) CUP – Spinning Creature (Northern Spy)
Dither – Potential Differences – compositions by Eve Beglarian, Gyan Riley, Paula Matthusen, Jascha Narveson, Joshua Lopes, James Moore, Ted Hearne, Taylor Levine, and James Tenney (New Focus) Nick Dunston – Atlantic Extraction (Out of Your Head) Julia Hülsmann Quartet – Not Far from Here (ECM) Keith Jarrett – Munich 1996 (ECM) Remy Le Boeuf – Assembly of Shadows (SoundSpore) Mareike Wiening – Metropolis Paradise (Greenleaf Music)
☆ Akiyama/Field/Vidic – Interpersonal Subjectivities (Astral Spirits)
Zosha Di Castri – Tachitipo – performances by Ekmeles, Talea Ensemble, JACK Quartet, Julia Den Boer, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Yarn/Wire (New Focus)
exclusiveOr – MODULES – performances with Architeuthis Walks on Land and International Contemporary Ensemble (Carrier) ☆ Mat Maneri Quartet – Dust (Sunnyside) Todd Marcus – Trio+ (Stricker Street) ☆ Dan Trueman – Songs That Are Hard to Sing – JACK Quartet, Sō Percussion (New Amsterdam) Eri Yamamoto Trio & Choral Chameleon – Goshu Ondo Suite (AUM Fidelity)
Robert Ashley– Automatic Writing (Lovely Music; vinyl reissue of 1979 release)
Robert Ashley – Improvement (Don Leaves Linda) – Varispeed with Amirtha Kidambi and Tom Hamilton (Lovely Music) ☆ Andrea Parkins & Matthew Ostrowski – Elective Affinities (Infrequent Seams) Pat Thomas, Dominic Lash & Tony Orrell – BleySchool (577 Records)
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.
This week's tally of memorable things National Sawdust Log editor Steve Smith has stuck in his ears includes selections featuring David Grubbs & Taku Unami, Ellen Fullman, Rachel Beetz, and Charles Wuorinen.