That’s how I will always remember Leo Kraft: in the thick of it. He was always engaged. He didn’t just show up to life, he participated fully. And his music was never “easy”; he cared too much about music and the art of listening for it to be “easy.”
What music most appropriately captures the zeitgeist of 2002? Steve Reich’s Daniel Variations (created in response to the shocking February 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal’s South Asia Bureau Chief Daniel Pearl) was not composed until 2006, but another Reich work, his apocalyptic Three Tales (created in collaboration with Beryl Korot) immediately stands out in my mind.
Described as a “musical exploration game inspired by synthesizers,” FRACT OSC places you in an abstract neon landscape somewhere between Myst and Tron, and the environment is peppered with various kinds of music-making machinery. You’re in a world literally made of sound.
When looking back at 2001 for its musical significance, all I can say is that music is ultimately what kept us going when the events of September 11 unfolded in New York City.
It seems there are two ways to negotiate our complex, diverse, and global web of music-making: Either jockey the heck out of everything, as if it is all free gain, or retreat to the rooted, familial plane, and herd with your local community.
If you don’t know what Y2K is, be thankful, even though it inspired some interesting music.
One thing that hasn’t changed in all these years has been our goal to always be inclusive of the broadest range of music that could be considered “new” American music whether it was notated, improvised in a club, assembled in a studio, or found sound.
May 1 marks NewMusicBox’s 15th anniversary! To celebrate the occasion, we decided to stop looking forward toward new music for a moment and instead consider the lessons of what we’ve heard so far.
Composer Dave Malloy took NYC musical theater by storm with his Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, but his path to Off-Broadway success began in San Francisco’s experimental theater community—and he’s holding on tightly to that non-traditional approach.
Matt Pakulski, the founder of new Chicago record label FPE, discusses his wide-ranging tastes, his approach to the curation and creation of musical objects, and the label’s first release—an album from Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble.