Sounds Heard: Vicious World Plays the Music of Rufus Wainwright

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.

Sounds Heard: John Cage—The Works for Percussion I

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.

Sounds Heard: Graham Reynolds—The Difference Engine

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.

Sounds Heard: Mike Vernusky—Music for Film and Electro-Theatre

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.

Sounds Heard: Dickie Landry—Fifteen Saxophones

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.

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