Albums

NewMusicBox Mix: 2014 Staff Picks

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Before we close the file on 2014, New Music USA staff members have chosen some of their favorite tracks from the past twelve months for this edition of the NewMusicBox Mix.

Sounds Heard: Christian Wolff—Pianist: Pieces

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In Wolff’s music, one might say that the implied history of each piece, the fact of its composition, its notation, its interpretation and performance, is elevated to the point where it is not just present, but it is, in fact, how the piece is experienced. Every sound is a reminder of its own origin.

Sounds Heard: No Lands—Negative Space

No Lands: Negative Space

Negative Space is the first full length album of electronic musician/sound artist Michael Hammond’s recording project No Lands; it features nine electronic works that combine song format and ambient soundscape—the work of, as Hammond states in the liner notes, “Three years and a hurricane.”

Sounds Heard: Michael Ching—A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Michael Ching’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is resolutely tonal, frequently extremely tuneful, and sometimes borders on pop. Yet it is radical and totally unexpected. There are no instruments in the orchestra, every sound is made by voices. It sounds nothing like what you might imagine an opera based on Shakespeare would sound like. And yet it totally works.

Sounds Heard—On Shattering, Burning, and Diverting with Passion

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Though Zwilich, Brouwer, and Shatin are only three of many distinguished female composers, they serve as important models of the different ways a successful career as a female composer can look. Each composer has something wildly different to offer to the contemporary music scene with new CD releases.

Sounds Heard: Dan Becker—Fade

Dan Becker—Fade

This selection of chamber works composed between 1993 and 2008 suggest that Becker has an “on/off” switch resulting in either intensely energetic music, or in work of concentrated repose. There isn’t a lot in-between, but clearly such extremes suit the composer.

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