5 min read

Beginnings and Endings

Taking stock after a fulfilling first year, preparing for a time of transition, and shining some light on the inexplicably beautiful darkness of Hey Exit.
Beginnings and Endings

Prologue and Denouement

As I write this, it’s just over a year since I relaunched Night After Night with a mix of apprehensiveness – okay, panic over being newly unemployed, it’s fair to say – and expectancy over what opportunities this new platform might provide.

In the short term it was a badly needed boost: a way to keep working, a means by which to keep in touch and to contribute. I can’t overstate how important that was at the time. And it’s been a great pleasure to continue popping into your inboxes more or less weekly ever since… rather a lot less, admittedly, since I started my new temporary job in January, but still enough that it feels like I’ve done something worth the doing.

Recently, though, conditions have transpired to make me feel much less at ease with the platform. It’s hard to derive much joy from whatever service you think you’re providing to your readers, if you also have to wonder whether the platform you use might be shoveling huge piles of money to writers who use their words and platforms to attack and injure others, as Zachary Lipez detailed memorably. Even before one loyal reader explained why he couldn’t renew his subscription, it felt like time to move on.

Happily, now there are alternatives that provide the same service, minus the baggage. Friends and colleagues have leapt to other platforms, like Buttondown, Ghost, and Revue. (At least one just packed it in.)

I still have very positive feelings about the possibilities of using a good looking, well designed, and easy to use newsletter to transmit directly to an interested audience details about the things I listen to, hear about, and read. That being the case, I’ve spent the last few weeks test-driving alternate platforms, finding out which ones handle specific tasks best. (I’ll be honest: the present platform does nearly everything better than most, from a technical perspective.)

So, the next time you see this newsletter, it’ll reach you via a different provider. You don’t have to unsubscribe, resubscribe, or do anything at all: the transition will happen automatically and seamlessly, with no trace left behind on the present platform. And I intend to use the brief gap in service to stock the cupboard with things worth knowing about and listening to.

To be continued…

For the Record: April 30, 2021

For the Record is a weekly round-up of new and pending recordings of interest to the  new-music community: contemporary classical music and jazz, electronic and electroacoustic music, and idioms for which no clever genre name has been coined, on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, digital-only formats… you name  it.

This list of release dates is culled from press releases, Amazon, Bandcamp, and other  internet stores and sources, social-media posts, and online resources such as Discogs.    Dates cited typically correspond to initial U.S. release, and are subject to change. (Links to Amazon, used when all else fails, do not imply endorsement.)

After publication, new listings are incorporated into For the Record: The Master List, a continuously compiled and updated resource exclusively accessible to paying Night After Night subscribers, found here.

These listings are not comprehensive—nor could they be! To submit a forthcoming recording for consideration, email information to nightafternight@icloud.com.

Please note that all opinions expressed herein are solely my own, and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

Album of the Week

Hey Exit (Brendan Landis) (Photograph: Bandcamp)

Hey Exit
Eulogy for Land
(Full Spectrum; CS, DL)

Here’s a demonstration of something Bandcamp does really well: Despite Brendan Landis being based somewhere here in Queens – which, granted, is a big place – I somehow never came across his work as Hey Exit (or any of his other various monikers) until this morning, when a new-release announcement arrived from Full Spectrum Records. I get notices from the label because I’ve picked up some of its previous releases, by Seth Chrisman & Nathan McLaughlin, Sarah Davachi, Tim Feeney, Lucy Liyou, and Andrew Weathers (who co-founded the label in 2008).

I love it when things like this happen. I already can tell there’s a lot of exploring to be done. Needle-dropping through Landis’s 2016 release, Caudata, you whip from spectral blues à la Loren Connors to harsh noise and back again. The distance from there to his 2018 release, Every Recording of Gymnopedie 1, which sounds very much like truth in advertising, and includes a gelatinous orchestral B-side cover ginned up by Evan Ziporyn, no less… well, that’s some leap.

Hey Exit, Landis reveals in a 2016 interview, initially was his vehicle for Keith Rowe-style tabletop guitar deconstruction. Eulogy for Land, on which Landis uses acoustic guitar, baritone guitar, and contact microphones, is described thusly on Bandcamp:

Recorded in the bygone era of 2019, Eulogy for Land was conceived as a meditation on the climate crisis. Struggling to comprehend what was shaping up to become one of the worst fire seasons in California state history – Brendan’s home state – and what has come to be known as the Holocene mass extinction event, he set out to create a piece that honored this epochal death-event that we are somehow, unbelievably and  absurdly, simultaneously both living through and perpetrating as a species.

That’s a grim prospect, but Eulogy is more subtle than the outright threnody that description suggests. “Call at Dusk,” the 24-minute opening track, is a nearly static meditation formed of sonorous guitar notes enveloped in subtle drone, like some vast western landscape cloaked in funereal fog. (The term “country & Wandelweiser” crossed my mind.)

The balance shifts gradually from signal toward noise in “Last Harvest” and “Threshold,” reaching in “Retreat” a bleak nadir. “Coins, Stones, Roaches,” with its mysterious conjurations of ghostly horns and voices, evokes a lamentation delivered across an immeasurable abyss of space, time, and loss. The music is sad and painful, inexplicably beautiful, and ineffably moving.

New This Week

Teodora Stepančić with Katie Porter at Mise-En Place, Oct. 29, 2020 (screenshot)

Thomas Ankersmit - Perceptual Geography (Shelter Press)

Bob Bellerue - Macrotonal Music (self-released)

Lisa Cameron & Sandy Ewen - See Creatures Too (Astral Spirits)

Corsano, Maranha & Youngs - Corsano, Maranha & Youngs (Improved Sequence)

gabby fluke-mogul, Jacob Felix Heule & Kanoko Nishi-Smith - non-dweller (self-released)

Rob Frye - Chihuahuan Desert/Birdscapes (Astral Spirits)

Konstantia Gourzi - Anájikon - performances by Nils Mönkemeyer, William Youn, Lucerne Academy Orchestra, and Minguet Quartett (ECM New Series)

Robert Paterson - The Four Seasons - Marnie Breckenridge, Blythe Gaissert, Alok Kumar, David Neal, American Modern Ensemble (American Modern Recordings)

Teodora Stepančić - dueti - performances by Katie Porter, Erin Rogers, Rachel Mangold, Lucie Vítková, and Teodora Stepančić (Love Records)

Just Announced

NOMON (Shayna & Nava Dunkelman) (Photograph courtesy of the artists)

May 14

mHz - Earth’s Shadow (Line)

NOMON (Shayna Dunkelman & Nava Dunkelman) - NOMON (Nomon)

May 21

jaimie branch - Fly or Die Live (International Anthem)

Ras Moshe Burnett and Dafna Naphtali - Fusebox (Gold Bolus)

Dov Manski and Erin Parsch - The Hue of Silence (Sunnyside)

June 4

Rip Hayman - Waves: Real and Imagined (Recital)

Kajsa Lindgren - Momentary Harmony (Recital)

Teodora Stepančić - emoji (Other Minds)

July 9

William Parker - Mayan Space Station (AUM Fidelity)

William Parker - Painters Winter (AUM Fidelity)

June 25

Jason Nazary - Spring Collection (We Jazz)

Passepartout Duo - Daylighting (self-released)

Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog - Hope (Northern Spy)

Various artists - Harmonic Series II - compositions by Kali Malone, Duane Pitre, Catherine Lamb, Tashi Wada, Byron Westbrook, and Caterina Barbieri (Important)

July 23

Hank Roberts Sextet - Science of Love (Sunnyside)