Thursday, April 29, 2010

Phillip Bimstein: "Larkin Gifford's Harmonica" CD: now digital

Phillip Bimstein's "Larkin Gifford's Harmonica" CD is now digitally distributed. Here are a few links:

iTunes: Phillip Bimstein: Larkin Gifford's Harmonica
Amazon: Phillip Bimstein: Larkin Gifford's Harmonica
eMusic: Phillip Bimstein: Larkin Gifford's Harmonica
MySpace: Phillip Bimstein: Larkin Gifford's Harmonica

John Adams wrote the CD's Introduction, stating: "Like their composer, the pieces on this album communicate a generous and good-natured spirit that is tempered with wry wit and a special sense of the western landscape and culture that he so loves."

The title piece presents a poignant portrait of the elderly Larkin Gifford, who offers vibrant stories, which include his lifelong love of playing the harmonica. Another portrait features the delightful, funny Robert Logan, known as "Bushy Wushy the Beer Man." Bushy Wushy sold beer in Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, for more than forty years. Casino focuses on both Las Vegas and veteran dice-caller Tom Martinet, who discusses superstitions, insights, and fascinations associated with gambling.

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The CD also offers two instrumental works: Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa (with singing canyon tree frogs, howling coyotes, and chirping crickets) and "Rockville Utah 1926" (based on the melodic material from Bimstein's Garland Hirschi's Cows).

A passel of fine reviews has appeared, including:
"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."
- 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
John Adams concludes:
"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.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Intermedia Festival has 3 Starkland composers

Phil Kline's music video MEDITATION (run as fast as you can) will have its premiere public performance at this year's Intermedia Festival, scheduled for April 23-25 in Indianapolis.

The Intermedia Festival offers a unique series of concerts and events presenting futuristic modes, combining traditional performing arts, computers, media, and telecommunications. The Festival will feature artists, musicians, videographers, dancers, actors and writers from around the world. Over 100 performers will travel to Indianapolis, and others will participate through the Internet interactively with collaborators at the festival. Live drama, dance, music, visual arts, videography, scientific presentation, commentary, and discussion will synthesize to form a provocative and compelling set of experiences.

The Festival will be held in the new downtown Indianapolis Public Library and in the Informatics and Computer Technology Complex at IUPUI. Admission is free and open to the public for all events.

Kline's MEDITATION features both pulsing surround sound electronica and a handheld video shot by the composer. He comments that the piece is “based on a unified camera movement” which he describes as: “You’re in New York, hold the camera, and run!”

MEDITATION appears on Kline's "Around the World in a Daze" double-DVD, commissioned by Starkland and released in 2009. This release has been praised in over 20 publications, including The New York Times, Stereophile, and the Washington Post. The New Yorker described Daze as:
"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."
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Another Starkland composer, Pamela Z, is a featured composer/performer at the Intermedia Festival. She makes solo works combining a wide range of vocal techniques with electronic processing, samples, and gesture activated MIDI controllers. Her numerous awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Creative Capital Fund, the CalArts Alpert Award, the ASCAP Award, an Ars Electronica honorable mention and the NEA/JUSFC Fellowship. Starkland has released Z's only solo CD, "A Delay is Better," which The Wire called:
"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.

Her surround-sound work White Turbulence 2000 was commissioned by Starkland for its Immersion DVD-Audio, now recognized as the first commissioned hi-res surround recording. Praised in over 2 dozen publications, Immersion was described by Sound & Vision as, "Not only a fascinating array of musical innovation but a persuasive exploration of the possibilities of surround sound."

The Intermedia Festival will present ten media-rich concerts. Featured artists also include New York composer and computer artist Luke Dubois, singer Bora Yoon, eco-acoustic composer Matthew Burtner, Indianapolis-based electro-acoustic ensemble Big Robot, and Dance Kaleidoscope.

Other performers include The Washington DC-based Floating Lab Collective, Florida-based Mobile Performance Group, Occupation Forces Project from New York, and Portuguese computer-artist Andre Rangel.

Visit Starkland.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Robert Een: Mystery Dances: now digital

Robert Een's Mystery Dances CD is now digitally distributed. Here are a few links:

Robert Een: Mystery Dances: iTunes

Robert Een: Mystery Dances: Amazon

Robert Een: Mystery Dances: eMusic

Robert Een: Mystery Dances: Rhapsody

Robert Een: Mystery Dances: MySpace

When the CD was first released, NPR's Liane Hansen spoke with Bob about Mystery Dances. She commented, "Wow! What a stew you’ve made here in this new CD. It smells and tastes delicious."

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In the CD’s Introduction, Meredith Monk remarks:
"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).

Read more about Robert Een's Mystery Dances.