Categories
Music

[Music] Charles Wuorinen’s 80th with Goeyvaerts String Trio

American composer Charles Wuorinen passed away a couple of days ago.  Here is a sample of his compositional prowess, along with a rather well-done interview.  He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for the purely electronic piece, Time’s Encomium.  Rest in peace, Charles.

Categories
Music

[Music] John Zorn’s ‘Naked City’ Reviewed for 30 Year Anniversary — Avant Music News

Source: Treblezine. Naked City is free jazz, at least some of the time. Free jazz didn’t just expand on the premise of jazz, it blew it to pieces, usually with the power of a lot of breath blown into a tiny reed. The free jazz Naked City is most indebted to is Albert Ayler, who […]

via John Zorn’s ‘Naked City’ Reviewed for 30 Year Anniversary — Avant Music News

Categories
Music

[Music] Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch – Époques

This was an accidental discovery, found browsing Youtube for new music, and it looks like luck was on my side today, as I would probably have not found out about Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, a French pianist who has enthralled me this evening.

On her Bandcamp website, there is an incredibly detailed essay with notes discussing the album and its creation.  The paragraph which caught my attention follows:

Compared to Emilie’s 2015 debut, ‘Like Water Through The Sand’, the feel of the new album appears generally darker and grittier, though in an organic way. It’s more grounded and less cold, with the piano recorded using warmer microphones and preamps. The string writing uses more extended playing techniques, such as bow overpressure on viola and cello, and multiphonics on bass guitar. Emilie also explains that “although the piano has always been a way of expressing how I feel and I wanted to create pieces that featured melodies, I wanted to use the fact the piano is a percussive instrument that can handle strength, rhythm and force just as well as gentle, intimate playing.” This powerful, emotive physicality is clearly audible on tracks like ‘Redux’, ‘Fracture Points’ and ‘Époques’. There are other pulsating/ rhythmical elements running through the record – from chopped up field recordings of waves (‘The Only Water’) to looped bowed bass guitar in ‘Ultramarine’, and the effects applied to the piano throughout ‘Morphee’.

Though seminal artists like Max Richter, Dustin O’Halloran and Jóhann Jóhannsson should be seen as reference points, Emilie has carved a niche of her own on her sophomore release.  All praise to 130701 and FatCat Records for releasing yet another gem.

Categories
Music

[Music] Various Artists – Cuneiform Records: The Albums of 2019

Readers might be cognizant of the fact that I never post things that I don’t like, so you won’t find me writing anything negative.  With that being said, there are some labels who simply never let me down, and when a new release arrives from them, I’m more than happy to give them an open ear.

Steve Feigenbaum has captained Cuneiform Records for as long as I can remember, and 2019 was another amazing year for them.  This compilation highlights the best releases.  From the label’s Bandcamp site:

This special “Name Your Price” compilation album features creative and mind bending music throughout the course of 11 tracks all of which was released by Cuneiform Records in 2019.

We invite you to listen to ‘Cuneiform Records: The Albums of 2019’ and explore the wide spectrum of music we recently released over the year. Each track by each artist is unique; we invite you to sample all. And then, if you’ve not already done so, we encourage you to listen the full albums by the artists who most appeal to you

Categories
Music

[Music] Tijana Stanković – Freezer

Tijana Stanković is a composer from Serbia who offers a work played on a prepared violin and vocals.  From her Bandcamp site on LOM Records out of Slovakia:

Freezer is an album of raw and emotive improvisations by Serbian violinist-vocalist Tijana Stanković. Her chosen theme, the proverbial ‘freezer’, makes for a stark setting, serving as both a musical metaphor and literally the echoey meat freezer in Bratislava where the music was created and recorded. “Freezer is a place of cruelty and hope,” Stanković says. “It is a metaphor – an inner place where thoughts and feelings wait to be addressed.”

Though a dedicated free improviser, Stanković’s background in folk and Ethnomusicology puts her in touch with an ancient emotional syntax. Her key tools – violin and vocals – both yearn with an organic and creaking fragility, tied irrevocably to old cultures. As a means to express, they offer boundless possibilities (something Stanković has long explored in a vast array of collaborative groups, ensembles, and projects), but locker herself in the Freezer, on these recordings Stanković gains access to some potent introverted sonic realms, putting them in stasis to keep them at their most genuine, honest, and revealing. “To freeze,” she explains, ”is to preserve.”

Each of the four lengthy improvisations captured on Freezer takes its aesthetic to a logical endpoint. For example, ‘From dust and shine’ is a trip into gentle bow strokes over jarring and fragile violin strings, droning and grating between ethereal half-melodies and gentle moans. Stanković’s violin can at times evoke a creaky wheel as much as a musical instrument.

Though very much locked away in her own world of free and idiosyncratic music, the melodic character, stark sentiments, and heterophony of Balkan folk also play an important role. Closing track, “salty words” has Stanković meditate loudly on a trembling violin string repetition, wordlessly vocalizing a vast spectrum of inner angst.

Freezer is the culmination of Stanković’s abilities as both instrumentalist and improvising, coalescing her experience into a uniquely personal statement, aptly captured to tape in a freezer. Living until recently in Budapest, Stanković is now based in Belgrade.

“I would like to dedicate this release to my dearest friends who were there for me when I needed them the most.”

Be patient with this release. It will grow on you.

Categories
Music Uncategorized

[Music] Musique Machine Reviews — Avant Music News

Source: Musique Machine. Pita – Get On Viv Corringham – On the Hour in the Woods The Residents – Refused Hula – Shadowland Yann Novak – Slowly Dismantling Transtilla – Transtilla II Uno Actu – Splendeurs Putrides Sabotheur – Self Titled The Telescopes – Stone Tape

via Musique Machine Reviews — Avant Music News

Categories
Uncategorized

[Music] Richmond Avant Improv Collective – Chance Operations

As I finally had a long stretch of time where I could actually enjoy hearing whole albums again, I decided that RAIC would be Album Number One today.  What a revelation this one has turned out to be!

According to the collective’s Bandcamp website for this release, “Chance Operations was inspired by John Cage’s “Silence.” RAIC often brings together musicians who normally would never play together. For Chance Operations, twenty musicians from a wide range of backgrounds- jazz, rock, noise and world music, some with backgrounds in improvisation and some without – came together at Etching Tin Studios in Richmond, Virginia. The musicians’ names were written on different ping pong balls and then placed in a sealed container. In a separate container were balls with the number for the ensemble ranging from a duet to a sextet.”  Chance operation, indeed.

The album itself makes for eerie listening.  There is one track which stood out for me, “Irrigating An Arid World,” where shrieks, wailing and very sparse instrumentation make one feel like they are on a heavy hallucinogenic trip.  The spirit of John Cage having a heavily spiked mushroom tea with Sun Ra and, maybe, Cathy Berberian or Diamanda Galás, permeates this album.  The group have a new album coming soon, and I’m already looking forward to hearing much more from them.

Categories
Uncategorized

[Interview] Alessandra Celletti

73255366_518700922304409_2270642290479333376_n

A few days ago, I had the honor of interviewing Italian pianist Alessandra Celletti, one of the most creative composers active today.  I came to know her work thanks to an old business partner named Michael Sheppard, who became her champion until his passing a few years ago.

Without further ado, here is Alessandra:


 

Though I know you from our conversations, can you tell us about yourself? Who you are, your background?

I’m a musician, and naturally I love music. But, first of all, I love life. I love nature, the sea, the trees and the flowers, I love all people and animals as well. I like to come upon new things. The relevance of music is that it gives meaning and emotion to everything. I’ve been playing the piano since I was six. The piano is my life, but I also adore singing. Singing is happiness. I have a classical education, but I am too curious not to look for other musical experiences, so I’m always looking for something new.

What inspired you to be a composer and pianist?

I’ve always played the piano. I started my career as a pianist playing classical authors: Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Ravel… but at some point I felt the desire to transfer my personal emotions into music by composing myself. It felt like a natural passage.

Which composers or art movements have left a lasting influence in your compositions?
Erik Satie is my first love and I think of him as one of my milestones. I was swept away by the purity and freedom of his search. Then, I appreciate the intelligence and lightness of John Cage. But I am also into punk music, electronics, rock and, sometimes, even pop music. I love painting and the commixture of colors. For me, music is also color. Not for nothing my last album is a blue vinyl titled #cellettiblue, inspired by my favorite color. Blue, for me, is the color of freedom. Just look at the sky and you’ll understand.

How do you go about planning for and making a new album?

I had several producers for my previous albums: here in Italy, in England but also in America. I was lucky enough to have Michael Sheppard of Transparency as a producer. It was a very special human and artistic relationship and I miss him so much. Before he died, he told me that he would be in every note I played and sung… and, indeed, I can feel his presence. I want to make you party to a secret: I always think of Michael when I compose a new melody. Right now I don’t have a record label that produces me, so for my new project I resorted to Musicraiser’s crowdfunding. I really like this personal contact with my audience

What inspired this latest album?

To put it simply, my love for animals. I’m working on six songs dedicated to the animals that had a special role in my life, tangible or symbolic. Among these is Pedro, a cat to whom I am connected in a magical way. And a donkey that I fantasize becoming my husband… And, last but not least, my mother, who I consider the sweetest and most wonderful of all the animals that filled my life. It is, obviously, an affectionate dedication to the person who gave me life and who flew away just a few months ago.

73458719_2678058518881227_9109541513586540544_n

Are you collaborating with anyone else these days in terms of live performance or studio collaborations?

Yes: a while ago I’ve discovered Paola Luciani and I’ve literally been bewitched by her animations. Luckily for me, this internationally recognized artist hasn’t lost the purity of her artistic expression, so I proposed a collaboration, to which she graciously agreed.
Now she’s drawing and animating her paper clippings according to an age-old and very peculiar technique. Ath the moment she is working on the donkey song and she will soon finalize the animations for the little cat Pedro (or maybe for a little bird)…

How do you feel about the state of the music business?

It seems so difficult for artists to get exposure outside of working with a major label.

How do you manage to do so well?

I simply dedicate myself to what I do with commitment and love, thinking of people with affection and trust. And – this will probably surprise you – I’m even confident in the future of music. Modes and media change all the time: vinyl, cd, streaming… but, basically, nobody can live without music.

73172186_2442017065916172_8992000808589459456_n

What projects are you working on? What should be expected to see from you in 2020?

As I said, I am working with Paola Luciani on the “Love Animals” project and I very much hope to be able to make it with Musicraiser’s help. Then, I’d like to do a lorryload of concerts and play my piano and sing these sweet songs to everyone. Even if they are dedicated to animals, they are all love songs.

https://musicraiser.com/it/projects/15090-love-animals

Categories
Uncategorized

[Music] Kosta T – слухач

Konstantin Trokay (Kosta T) is a violinist out of Perm, Russia.  His music meanders in a pleasant way, something like a walk through a dark forest.  There are plenty of twists and turns, and some are not always gentle.  Intriguing.

Categories
Uncategorized

[Music] Stéphane Clor & HJ Ayala – Motoco

Listening to what I would assume is microtonal guitar work (if my friends would be so kind as to correct me, I would be much obliged) proved to be a very rewarding expeience.  HJ Ayala, a friend of this blog, collaborates with cellist Stéphane Clor in this release clocking in at just under 40 minutes.  This is a quiet release, but the interplay between guitar and cello seems to intricate that it managed to hold my attention throughout.  I’m already a fan of Ayala’s guitar playing, so I’m not surprised he continues to release improvisational music of such great quality, but it’s nice to see him collaborate with Clor, whose work I had never heard until today.  A recommended disc.