When I opened the mailer that contained Vicious World Plays the Music of Rufus Wainwright, I questioned the prudence of this recording decision before I even had the shrink wrap fully removed. I mention this just in case your anti-muzak instincts are already telling you something similar. For those open-minded enough to wait until you actually hear a bit of it before making such a judgment call, well, you’re less jaded than I am.
The history of music might finally get properly rewritten thanks to the first-ever integral recording of John Cage’s complete cycle of Imaginary Landscapes which is paired with two different performance of the contemporaneous and similarly forward-sounding Credo in US.
With her recent CD Shark In You, composer Du Yun unleashes a recording with an ultra-visceral sensibility that ropes the listener in through its attractively bizarre sonic landscape.
As the Artistic Director of the American Modern Ensemble, Robert Paterson knows the players like the back of his hand, and it shows in pieces that seem tailor made to the ensemble’s strengths.
Austin, Texas-based composer Graham Reynolds’s The Difference Engine: A Triple Concerto does not waste notes getting your attention and it keeps a firm hold on it. His language is evocative and direct: It is as if Reynolds is delivering to your ear a mysterious and ambiguous tale in sound—wildly open to interpretation, of course, but it’s a page-turner nonetheless.
Aaron Siegel’s 2009 Science is Only a Sometimes Friend, for eight glockenspiels and organ, is a continuous ecstatic sonic event that mesmerizes, transfixes, and transports.
Sometimes “soundtrack” CDs can invite a degree of skepticism, in that often the music composed for film or video does not stand alone as effectively as when paired with its accompanying medium. However, the second release from Austin, Texas-based composer and sound artist Mike Vernusky is an example of such a format that does not suffer from being presented as audio alone. This is a collection of music composed both for film and “electro-theatre,” defined as music for live actors with electronic sound, which creates a vivid radio play-like journey through sculptural forests of sound.
Chambers took his experience of these gravesites, particularly a visit to The Old Burying Ground in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, and set a collection of epitaphs and new poems reflecting the suffering and the peace he found there.
The music for Spark of Being lies in a unique area between music improvised for silent film and movie soundtrack, a new space that makes this collaboration and its results magical.
One-time Philip Glass Ensemble saxophonist Dickie Landry’s own music from the 1970s, which is finally available again in a re-issue both on CD and LP, is a fascinating amalgam of minimalism, free jazz, and psychedelia that shows the omnivorousness of the music of Downtown Manhattan in its heyday.