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For the Record: July 16, 2021.

Canadian experimental-music imprint Rat-drifting returns, and Jane in Ether defies words. Plus listings for dozens of new and forthcoming recordings.

For the Record is a weekly round-up of new and upcoming 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 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.

Rat-drifting: The Slack Is Back.

I'm never pleased when I don't have time to write a proper Album of the Week review. (TL;DR: Spoken/Unspoken, the new album by improvising trio Jane in Ether, is beautiful and uncanny, and you should hear it as soon as you can.)

At the same time, I'm glad to steer readers toward new discoveries, and also to writing by journalists and critics I admire. I'm multiply happy, then, to welcome back Rat-drifting, a seriously deep pocket of old and new magic emanating from Toronto, and to point toward some related wordsmithing. The label was founded in 2002 by Canadian musicians Martin Arnold and Eric Chenaux. The "about" page on their website includes this poetic explanation of the offbeat name:

Rat-drifting takes its name from the colloquial term "rat-running." Rat-running is the practice of driving through residential side streets to avoid congested main roads.  It's a happy metaphor for a kind of music-making: it has all that off-the-beaten-track stuff going for it but, more significantly, it suggests taking an activity to a place where it isn't intended, using something in a way it isn't meant for, unintentionally disturbing someplace comfortable (the disturbance being merely a by-product of an activity that has another set of preoccupations).

Today, the entire Rat-drifting back catalog landed all at once on Bandcamp, along with three brand-new releases: Many Traceries, by eldritch Priest; a self-titled archival release by Golden Melody Awards; and La Historia del Sombrero, by The Draperies. Marking the occasion in a blog post, the redoubtable author, critic, and scholar Tim Rutherford-Johnson greeted the label's reappearance by citing a very fine and important article he wrote about the invaluable Canadian Composer Series, issued by Another Timbre, for The Wire:

Through the 2000s it was a focal point for a woozy, intoxicating brand of psychedelic folk that drew notated music composers like Arnold and Allison Cameron into the same orbit as post-rockers like Chenaux, Ryan Driver and Doug Tielli … The label’s credo can stand in for a lot of the aesthetic preoccupations of the current wave of Canadian experimental music … This is slack writ large.

Not entirely coincidentally, while on vacation last weekend I made a bit more headway in a journal I've been creeping through slowly for some weeks now, Sound American No. 25, "The Folk Issue," curated by Sarah Hennies and Anna Roberts-Gevalt. In one of the articles in that issue, "Singing into the Corner," improvising guitarist Kurt Newman interviews Martin Arnold, their conversation intersecting quite handily with the re-emergence of Rat-drifting. The issue is sold out now, but happily, the article is accessible free of charge here.

New This Week

Jane in Ether: Biliana Voutchkova, Magda Mayas, Miako Klein (Photograph: Cristina Marx/Photomusix)

Robbie Avenaim, Chris Abrahams, Jim Denley - Weft (Relative Pitch)

Linda Buckley - Azure - Icebreaker (Rookery Hill)

Ted Byrnes - Moving My Body Through Space (Arkeen)

Ian William Craig/Kago - Split Series #24 (Fatcat)

Michel Doneda, Frederic Blondy, Tetsu Saitoh - Spring Road 16 (Relative Pitch)

The Draperies - La Historia del Sombrero (Rat-drifting)

eldritch Priest - Many Traceries (Rat-drifting)

Beatriz Ferreyra - Canto+ (Room40)

Golden Melody Awards - Golden Melody Awards (Rat-drifting)

Jane in Ether - Spoken/Unspoken (Confront Recordings)

Bethan Kellough - Gravity + Sand (Superpang)

Juraj Kojš - Imagine - performances by Eric Umble, Adam Marks, Juraj Kojš, [Switch~ Ensemble], and Splinter Reeds (Neuma)

Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard - Saturations (Important Records)

Anna Meredith - Bumps Per Minute: 18 Studies for Dodgems (Moshi Moshi)

Weston Olencki - Verd Mont (Superpang)

The Pitch - KM28 (Tripticks Tapes)

Pluto Juice - Pluto Juice (Contagious Music)

Elia Rediger - Oh Albert - Basel Sinfonietta/Etienne Abelin (New Amsterdam)

Àlex Reviriego - Raben (Tripticks Tapes)

Elliott Sharp's Terraplane - Century (Zoar)

Mihailo Trandafilovski - Step(pe)s (Neuma)

Ken Vandermark and Nate Wooley Duo - The Chicago Manual of Style (Superpang)

Alex Ward - Gated (Discus Music)

Andrew Weathers - Catalog (Full Spectrum)

Just Announced

Anna Thorvaldsdottir (Photograph: Saga Sigurdardottir)

July 30

Barry Altschul's 3dom Factor - Long Tall Sunshine (Not Two)

August 3

Gahlord Dewald - Strategic Game (self-released)

August 6

Christian Baldini - Elapsing Twilight Shades; Witold Lutosławski - Chain 2; György Ligeti - Concerto for Violin and Orchestra; Edgard Varèse - Amériques - performances by Maximilian Haft, Miranda Cuckson, Munich Radio Orchestra, UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, and Christian Baldini (Centaur)

9 Horses - Omegah (Adhyâropa)

August 9

Elliot Cole - Five Easy Pieces - David Kaplan (Long Echo)

August 16

Elliot Cole - Journals (Vol. 1) (Long Echo)

August 27

Ieva Jokubaviciute - Northscapes - compositions by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Lasse Thoresen, Bent Sørensen, Kaija Saariaho, Raminta Šerkšnytė, and Pēteris Vasks (Sono Luminus)

Tyshawn Sorey - For George Lewis/Autoschediasms - Alarm Will Sound (Canteloupe Music)

Anna Thorvaldsdottir - Enigma - Spektral Quartet (Sono Luminus)

September 10

Paola Prestini - Houses of Zodiac - Jeffrey Zeigler (National Sawdust Tracks)

October 14

Roy Campbell, John Dikeman, Raoul van der Weide, Peter Jacquemyn, Klaus Kugel - When the Time Is Right (577 Records)

October 15

Whit Dickey/William Parker/Matthew Shipp - Village Mothership (Tao Forms)

November 5

Matthew Shipp - Codebreaker (Tao Forms)