"An important reissue: Ellen Burmeister's performances are authoritative, and Starkland's remastering serves them well."
Read more about Starkland's Persichetti CD.
"An important reissue: Ellen Burmeister's performances are authoritative, and Starkland's remastering serves them well."
“It just occurred to me that in this era of micro-finance that we could create something where… anybody can participate, not just the most well-heeled or the people who are most used to giving. We’re all trying to engage people.”Various perks include: all voters will have their name listed in the score; send in 10 votes to get invited a special pre-concert reception; and the highest voter over 100 votes will have the piece dedicated to them.
"Like Laurie Anderson joining up with Philip Glass or Annie Sofie Von Otter collaborating with Steve Reich."Two years in the making, the CD consists of intricately composed, multiple layers of cellos topped by Amy’s distinctive and striking vocals; the songs range from intimate art-song ballads to electronics-based pop to Dadaist meanderings to lush symphonic arrangements. Sometimes the cellos are processed with electronic effects, other times heard in the expressive richness of their natural timbres.
- Audiophile Audition
- Vital Weekly
“Amy’s best work yet… She’s a massive talent whose work is always fresh and entertaining.”
- Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?
“Neuburg's new song cycle teeters beguilingly on the boundary between pop and avant-garde performance art, and to hear it complete and in sequence is to marvel at the grace and elegance with which Neuburg walks that tightrope.”Amy's vocals and electronics are accompanied by The Cello ChiXtet, comprised of Jessica Ivry, Elaine Kreston, and Elizabeth Vandervennet.
- San Francisco Chronicle
“Sheer genius from the most gifted and enterprising vocalist/composer/audio artist in the US since the heyday of Joan La Barbara and Meredith Monk… The effects are stunning… Essential.”The only CD devoted exclusively to Pamela's music, the recording offers some of her most widely enjoyed signature pieces. The New York Times writes the "acclaimed internationally" Z is "a wonderfully compelling performer with a lot of range." The New Yorker comments that "at the center of it all is the simple beauty of her classically trained voice - which can give her work an almost medieval purity." And the San Francisco Chronicle has enthusiastically commented that "Pamela Z creates lustrous sonic landscapes."
– The Wire
“A lovely listen.”
– Kyle Gann, Village Voice
“A shining overview of her work as a solo artist. Fascinating.”
“Some of the most interesting use of sounds that I've ever heard.”Regarding this CD, Laurie Anderson wrote, "The art of audio collage has been reinvented here,” adding “I'm reminded of Brian Eno's music for imaginary films, although Charles takes this idea much farther." The CD presents the premiere recording of one of Amirkhanian’s most well-known and warmly received works, "Walking Tune – A Room-Music for Percy Grainger." Amirkhanian writes:
– NPR’s "Weekend Edition"
“Charles Amirkhanian is a highly imaginative sound poet, text-sound creator, and contrapuntal collagist of the first order.”
– Stereo Review
“One of the Year's 20 Best CDs.”
– Electronic Music Foundation
"Walking Tune (1986-7) is an homage to one of my favorite figures in 20th century music history, the Australian-American composer and pianist Percy Grainger (1882-1961)... A great worshipper of the outdoors, Grainger conceived of his piano solo 'Walking Tune' during a tramp through the Scottish highlands in 1900. It is a simple and charming paean to those all-too-few joyous escapes from life's everyday cares. Grainger spent the final years of his life in a frustrated attempt to create a music synthesizer which would free him from the restrictions of conventional musical instruments, performers, and formal compositional structures. In this work, originally conceived for radio, I used the Synclavier digital synthesizer, a tool Grainger eagerly would have embraced, to combine sounds recorded out of doors in Hurricane, UT (tramping), and Pagosa Springs, CO (a swarm of hummingbirds), with sounds sampled from a variety of sources in Australia. The music is, for the most part, unabashedly pretty, as is much of Grainger's own output."Anderson offered these thoughts:
"Mixing the real and the imaginary is a skill that very few composers have. Charles jumps back and forth between these worlds with delightful ease, his curiosity and humor always evident. But in Walking Tune – and many of the other pieces he's done over his long career – this skill is mixed with a sensibility that is elegiac."
"Imagine that you were asked to create a 60-second 'commercial' in the form of a work of new music which was to be aired on a European rock station. Furthermore, that the sound of the piece was, in some way, to exemplify the cultural connection between France and the U.S. Via immigration, migration, domination, and through war and peace, the populations of these two nations have, by the late 20th century, taken on striking multi-cultural profiles, which in the allotted time can be only hinted at here. My solution was to collage snippets of various ethnic musics, both from the former French colonies and from Cajun and Native American music."
"The title of Gold and Spirit (1984), borrowed from Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, here refers ironically to prize medals and cheering crowds, both integral parts of Olympic competition. When asked to write a piece of music for radio broadcast as part of the 1984 Olympics Arts Festival in Los Angeles, I recalled going to basketball and football games and playing drums in marching bands during my youth, and that one of my cherished ambitions was to have sports cheers of my own design, with the names of artists as texts, performed at real sporting events. In the '60s and '70s I began composing these group cheers, such as 'Ray Man Ray,' 'Go Van Gogh, and 'Marcel – Duh Champ.' The cheers incorporated in Gold and Spirit include spoken phrases processed by a Buchla Synthesizer, an Eventide harmonizer, and a Lexicon reverberation unit; some of the cheers were constructed with 64 images of my voice, layered in the 1750 Arch Street Studio in Berkeley. Other sound sources include actual sporting events (cuero, racquetball, lawn bowling, indoor soccer, baseball, handball, and basketball), as well as drum cadences produced by a synthesizer."Amirkhanian wrote about the haunting "Bajanoom:"
"The somber mood of Bajanoom (1990), the Armenian word for 'separation,' mirrored my own feelings in light of the many nationalist movements, from Montréal to Yerevan, which have surfaced recently after many years of frustration and bitterness. Gong sounds sampled at the home of Lou Harrison are combined with the sounds of a musical saw, coffee grinder, guitar, and strings."The CD also contains a slyly witty tribute to the composer, conductor, critic, author, and lexicographer extraordinaire Nicolas Slonimsky. Amirkhanian writes:
"The title of Vers Les Anges (1990) comprises several references to the dedicatee, Nicolas Slonimsky, for whom the music was composed in celebration of his 96th birthday. A resident of Los Angeles, (Les Anges, in French), Slonimsky translated Schloezer's life of Alexander Scriabin, composer of the piano work 'Vers la flamme.' For my tribute, I assembled a number of musical references appropriate to Slonimsky's life. As a conductor, the Russian prodigy directed the first performance of Edgar Varèse's Ionisation (1931), which features the sounds of sirens and a battery of percussion instruments, referenced at the beginning of Vers Les Anges. Other raw sonic materials include the sound of a German music box (from the period of Slonimsky;s youth), a digitally sampled komungo (played by Korean virtuoso Jin Hi Kim), and cuckoo clock and cat sounds which recall Slonimsky’s home."Anderson concluded that "Humor, colorful cinematography, and a brilliant sense of imaginary space are just some of the joys of this CD."
“Garland Hirschi’s Cows is a cult classic.”WNYC's John Schaefer has written:
– NPR’s "All Things Considered"
“Outstanding...[Bimstein] has used digital sampling technology to tell wry and moving stories, and to elevate the mundane to the level of high art...brilliantly original.”
“Quirky and thoroughly engaging.”
“A lot of immediacy, wit, and inventiveness.”
– Stereo Review
“Perhaps Bimstein, like Philip Glass, Henryk Górecki, Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars, and Arvo Pärt, will find people calling his music Alternative Classical... Bimstein’s music is not meant for theorists to wring their hands over in some future century; it’s meant to be enjoyed and understood, its stories told, right now.”The CD opens with the now classic "Garland Hirschi's Cows," which describes a Utah farmer, his cows, and why they moo. Radio airplay of the work has generated hundreds of calls (especially after being heard on NPR's "All Things Considered"). Here's the opening track ("A Little Bit About My Cows"):
"Four works... by one of the best and most original of post-minimalist composers."The CD presented the premiere recording of one of Dresher's strongest and most engaging works. Commissioned and premiered by the Kronos Quartet, "Casa Vecchia" (performed here by Vienna's Ensemble 9) offers convincing minimalism within an evolving, cohesive structure. In his introduction, John Diliberto writes that "There’s a solemnity... that recalls the contemplative paths of Górecki and Pärt." Here's an excerpt from "Casa Vecchia":
- Stereo Review
"Paul Dresher is perhaps the best of the postminimalist composers who learned at the altar of Reich, Riley, and Glass... A gorgeous gem."
"Some of the most hypnotic music to come from his generation of renegade composers."
- Classical Pulse
"An engaging introduction to... his quirky electro-acoustic compositions... The irresistible charm of Mr. Bimstein's music has less to do with technology than with his uncanny knack for finding the music of everyday life."John Adams concludes:
- The New York Times Read full review
"an American original... [Bimstein] has evolved into a singular musical entity... [the CD is] stunning and heartwarming... quirky, moving, and delightful musical journeys."
- Stereophile Read full review
"Listening to this album of Bimstein's compositions makes me feel like I've taken a slow drive through a western landscape, meeting along the way everyone from Georgia O'Keeffe to Tony Hillerman, Mark Twain, Neal Cassady, Raymond Scott, Kurt Weill, Aphex Twin, and some of those grizzled geezers that populate the novels of Annie Proulx."Read more about this CD.
"A special-project disk in which Kline created, out of extravagant electronic means... an audio-visual feast that balances hipster zen with the seriousness of Bach and Wagner."
"Sheer genius from the most gifted and enterprising vocalist/composer/audio artist in the US since the heyday of Joan La Barbara and Meredith Monk... The effects are stunning... Essential."Maggi Payne is another Starkland composer whose music will be heard at this year's festival. Her electroacoustic works often incorporate visuals, including videos she creates using images ranging from nature to the abstract and dancers outfitted with electroluminescent wire. Payne is Co-Director of the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College.
"Mystery Dances is like a musical caravan drawing upon traditions from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. The music is energetic, filled with contrasting moods of humor and poignancy... An exhilarating listening experience.”Musicians include film composer Carter Burwell (accordion) and Hearn Gadbois (percussion).
Greetings from "Hearing Voices from NPR"Hearing Voices also reran their "Place Your Bets" program a couple of weeks ago, featuring excerpts from my Casino piece. You can hear the program here, and you can hear Casino's 1st movement here. Or if you'd like to hear all 3 movements of Casino on CD, I'm sure Starkland would love to hear from you!
We are re-running:
HV037 Prison: Life Behind Bars
Here's our station list.
The audio will be online early next week.
"Movie-makers increase resolution and improve viewer experience regularly. Whether it’s IMAX, 3D, or both, it’s constantly more and better. And guess what? They are making money hand over fist.Read the full article here.
"The music business is all about how many corners can be cut. Compress it more, don’t master it, use the fake drums - just get it done. All good ideas to save money, but often bad ideas from a quality standpoint.
"So without oversimplifying this, the people who focus on resolution in entertainment are making record profits, and the people who aren’t are going out of business. Coincidence?"
A beauty this one. Let's say an album of "chamber pop". Dozens of references were triggered: Fibonaccis, Kurt Weill, opera, Kate Bush, cabaret, Laurie Anderson, Dagmar Krause, etc, etc. We have here a collection of 13 very accessible songs, but too much avant garde and experimental to reach a bigger audience I'm afraid. The first time I was impressed by the combination of voice and cello was through the work of Arthur Russell many years ago. On this new work of Amy X Neuburg we find the same combination. The classically trained voice of Neuburg combined with three equally skilled cello players: Jessica Ivry, Elaine Kreston and Elizabeth Vandervennet. Besides voice, Neuburg also makes effective and sparse use of electronics and drums. Also she uses the technique of multi-layering voices. It is surprising that this music was created for a live performance, what makes this recording even more astonishing as the role of technique is considerable. The creator is Amy X Neuburg who wrote all music and lyrics, except for the improvisation "Tongues" and the closing track "Back in NY" by Genesis. After Residue by Amy X Neuburg & Men, it took her about 5 years to return with a new CD, this time as Amy X Neuburg & The Cello Chixtet. I don't know much of her musical past. From what I understand she is best known for her live solo performances, using MIDI drum kit, sounds and samples.
The Secret Language of Subways shows that Neuburg is open for many influences, eclectic in a way, but her pronounced musical language and vision binds everything strongly together following a convincing inner logic. This makes it sound all very natural and undivided. Her songs are carefully modeled and arranged. I guess it must have taken quite some time to sculpt all this material. For sure Neuburg is a very skilled composer, singer and performer. The narrative and dramatic content of the texts are very precise and beautifully accentuated in the music and its the performance. With each listening I discover new subtleties. No doubt this will continue.Read more about Amy X Neuburg.