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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that all opinions expressed herein are solely my own, and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.
Bandcamp Friday: Juneteenth Edition
"Bandcamp Friday" as we knew it over much of the last year may be over and done, but today is a similarly auspicious occasion: Bandcamp's second annual Juneteenth fundraiser. The popular music sales platform has pledged to donate its entire share of today's sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The gesture was introduced last year after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and returns in the wake of Juneteenth being recognized as a federal holiday.
According to the ticker on the Bandcamp home page, you have still three and a half hours to make a contribution by shopping. Quickly, then, a succinct list of recommended acquisitions to mark the occasion…
Album of the Week
(New Amsterdam; CD, DL)
Two decades after his death, the electrifying composer and performer Julius Eastman almost certainly has a higher profile now than he enjoyed for much of his life. A bittersweet paradox, to be sure… but how fortunate we are to have his music in our ears and hands again. Among the pieces now returned to circulation, Femenine has emerged as a breakout hit; since Frozen Reeds issued Eastman's ebulliently scrappy 1974 Buffalo recording in 2016, three new recordings have followed: one by the British ensemble Apartment House, on Another Timbre; another by keyboardist/composer Melaine Dalibert with ensemble 0 and Aum Grand Ensemble, on Sub Rosa; and now this New Amsterdam release featuring a freshly reconfigured lineup of the electrifying Los Angeles ensemble Wild Up. They're all different in profile and contours, and I love each one—but I'm especially smitten with the ecstatic energy and arresting details of the Wild Up account, the start of a series that promises illumination and surprise.
More Eastman on Bandcamp
Julius Eastman and Creative Associates
(New World; CD, DL)
Julius Eastman and S.E.M. Ensemble
(Frozen Reeds; DL)
Stay On It
So Percussion, MEDIAQUEER, et al
Julius Eastman Piano Interpretations
(Intakt; CD, DL)
Two from Anthony Braxton
12 COMP (ZIM) 2017
(Firehouse 12; Blu-ray, DL)
Quartet (Standards) 2020
(New Braxton House; CD, DL)
Can't say I ever had the audacity to envision landing a good-sized Anthony Braxton story on NPR's Morning Edition. Happily, did, and I got to come along for the ride as the editor. You can read and/or listen to that here.
Two from Don Cherry
The Summer House Sessions
(Blank Forms; CD, LP, DL)
Organic Music Theatre: Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon 1972
(Blank Forms; CD, LP, DL)
I've not yet had a chance to dig deeply into these two new archival treasures from the trumpeter, composer, and great spirit Don Cherry, but two of my esteemed colleagues have; I'll commend you to Martin Johnson for NPR Music, and George Grella for Bandcamp Daily. The albums are part of a characteristically wide-ranging Blank Forms offering that also includes a Brooklyn gallery exhibition, Organic Music Societies: Don and Moki Cherry (running through July 16), and a generous journal, also called Organic Music Societies.
A Julius Hemphill Deep Dive
The Boyé Multi-National Crusade for Harmony
(New World; CD, DL)
True story: I was all set to write a feature about this set, and what went into its making, for The Major Local Paper, before life and fate conspired to direct my labors elsewhere. I still think about the article I'd planned, because the story I meant to tell still hasn't been told. But fittingly, plenty of excellent coverage did result; please find time, if you haven't already, to read Adam Shatz in The New York Review of Books and Seth Colter Walls in The New York Times, and listen to Kevin Whitehead on WHYY's Fresh Air.
Two from George Lewis
Ensemble Dal Niente/Michael Lewanski
(New World; CD, DL)
(Carrier; CD, DL)
The venerable new-music label New World has been on a real tear lately, issuing terrific new albums by composers like Tom Johnson, Sarah Hennies, Catherine Lamb, and Daniel Goode. But I'm also having a great time watching the label posting its catalog to Bandcamp, slowly but surely… providing a great opportunity to catch up with old favorite by Kyle Gann, Joan La Barbara, Alvin Lucier, and Mary Jane Leach. Originally released in 2017, Assemblage is not exactly recent and not exactly old, but it's a tremendous collection of chamber works by George Lewis in vibrant performances by Chicago's superb Ensemble Dal Niente. It's a recording well worth becoming acquainted (or reacqainted) with. So is Rainbow Family, an arresting 1984 recording of active-electronics compositions featuring improvisers Douglas Ewart, Joëlle Leandre, Derek Bailey, and Steve Lacy, recently issued by Carrier Records. Lewis talked about that recording, and a great deal more, in a characteristically generous October 2020 interview with Joshua Minsoo Kim, published earlier this month in Tone Glow.
Four from Cecil Taylor
Birdland, Neuburg 2011
(Fundacja Słuchaj; CD, DL)
…being astral and all registers – power of two…
(Discus Music; CD, DL)
Lifting the Bandstand
(Fundacja Słuchaj; CD, DL)
(Fundacja Słuchaj; CD, DL)
It's no great surprise to see a steady trickle of new Cecil Taylor releases bubbling up since that singular vortex of elemental life transcended to a higher plane three years ago. All four of these recordings have surfaced since last year: three from Fundacja Słuchaj, an ambitious Polish label, and a fourth from Discus Music, operated by the British musician Martin Archer. The duets with percussionist Tony Oxley capture Taylor's last great musical connection at two distinct points on the timeline: in 2002 on …being astral and all registers – power of two… (drawn from Oxley's personal archives) and nearly a decade later on Birdland, Neuburg 2011. Both are urgently recommended: the earlier set bristles with uncontainable energy, while the later one has an unmistakeable warmth, patience, and sagacity. The other two Fundacja Słuchaj sets will appeal more to the committed; the quintet captured on Lifting the Bandstand wasn't among Taylor's more indelible groups, but it had a sound and style all its own – how could it not, with cellist Tristan Honsinger and percussionist Paul Lovens involved? – and until this release, the group was undocumented. Göttingen, issued just over a week ago, offers a return visit to the European workshop ensemble featured on Legba Crossing, part of the fabled FMP box set Cecil Taylor in Berlin '88. Many of the same players return for this wayward but fascinating 1990 engagement—and this time it's not Paul Plimley at the piano, but Taylor himself. For the committed, a wonderment; others will do better to start with Birdland.
Two from Pi Recordings
Steve Lehman's Sélébéyone - "Cognition" (Jlin the Innovator remix)
Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up Plus' - "Clear and Distinct" (Georgia Anne Muldrow remix)
Seeking to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their crucial Pi Recordings label, label partners Seth Rosner and Yulun Wang commissioned artists from just outside the orbit of its formidable roster to remix selections of their own choosing:
One idea we keep coming back to is the incredible amount of fluidity and cross fertilization that we now see between so many different musical communities. There are more and more unexpected collaborations and blurring of stylistic boundaries. And the results have been refreshing and full of enormous promise. Making a concerted effort to foster new connections and new partnerships feels right to us, and that means actively reaching outside of our normal musical circle of family and friends.
Proof of concept arrives instantly in the first two installments, posted exclusively on Bandcamp this week: Jlin the Innovator gets twitchy with the abundant possibilties intrinsic to Steve Lehman's Sélébéyone, which in its original form already presented a heady mixtune of compositional rigor, visceral groove, electronics, and Senegalese rap. Georgia Anne Muldrow, meanwhile, honors what's very nearly a familial link with Henry Threadgill in her dreamy reconstruction of "Clear and Distinct," the regal closer from Threadgill's Double Up, Plays Double Up Plus.
New This Week
Mark Andre - Musica Viva, Vol. 37 - performances by Arditti Quartet, Stephan Heuberger, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Matthias Pintscher (BR Klassik)
Viktor Orri Árnasson - Eilífur (Pentatone)
Antoine Beuger - Laments (Edition Wandelweiser)
Anthony Braxton - Quartet (Standards) 2020 (New Braxton House)
Aaron Foster Breylin & Luke Martin - Recursive Retent (Edition Wandelweiser)
Don Cherry - The Summer House Sessions (Blank Forms)
Don Cherry’s New Researches featuring Naná Vasconcelos - Organic Music Theatre: Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon 1972 (Blank Forms)
Eventless Plot - Anisixia (Edition Wandelweiser)
Frode Gjerstad, Isach Skeidsvoll - Twenty Fingers (Relative Pitch)
Ben Goldberg - Everything Happens to Be. (BAG Production Records)
Golden Retriever - Sense of Place (Longform Editions)
Michael Gordon/David Lang - Link - Icebreaker (Rookery Hill)
Michael Harrison - Seven Sacred Names - performances by Michael Harrison, Roomful of Teeth, Tim Fain, Ashley Bathgate, Caleb Burhans, Payton MacDonald, Ina Filip, and Ritvik Yaparpalvi (Cantaloupe Music)
Eva-Maria Houben - 3 Trios - Carson Cooman (Edition Wandelweiser)
Hprizm - Signs Remixed (Positive Elevation)
Carlo Inderhees - 8 stimmen1 - Guy Vandromme (Edition Wandelweiser)
Eiko Ishibashi - Torn Page (Longform Editions)
Hannes Lingens - Music for Strings - Félicie Bazelaire, Ensemble CoÖ (Edition Wandelweiser)
André O. Möller with Hans Eberhard Maldfeld - Out of a Matrix (Partially) (Edition Wandelweiser)
Brett Naucke - Arctic Watch (Longform Editions)
Eli Neuman-Hammond - Carneval's Quarrel with Lent - Eli Neuman-Hammond, Ella Heron, Sophia O'Brien-Udry, Story Ponvert, Matthew Tuggle (Edition Wandelweiser)
Tony Oxley/Alan Davie - Elaboration of Particulars (Confront)
Mario Pavone Dialect Trio +1 - Blue Vertical (Out of Your Head)
Mario Pavone The Tampa Quartet - Isabella (Clean Feed)
Phillips, Butcher, Solberg - We met – and then (Relative Pitch)
Fredrik Rasten - Four Parallel Rivers - Johan Lindvall (Edition Wandelweiser)
Real Loud - Real Loud - compositions by Pascal Le Boeuf, Paul Kerekes, Brendon Randall-Myers, and Jenny Beck (New Focus)
Toby Roundell - Meditations on the Great O Antiphons - Irene Kurka (Edition Wandelweiser)
Kelly Ruth - Persistence Beyond All Truth (Longform Editions)
Remko Scha - Guitar Mural 1 featuring The Machines (Black Truffle)
Chris Speed - Light Line (Intakt)
Curtis J. Stewart - Of Power - compositions and reimagined works by Charlie Parker, Johann Sebastian Bach, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Childish Gambino, John Coltrane, Niccolò Paganini, Elektra Kurtis, Eugène Ysaÿe & Stevie Wonder (Bright Shiny Things)
Various artists - Sonidos Cubanos 2 - compositions by Flores Chaviano, Ivette Herryman Rodriguez, Odaline de la Martinez, Sabrina Pena Young, and Eduardo Morales-Caso (Neuma)
Emmanuelle Waeckerlé - A Direction Out There, Readwalking (with) Thoreau - Emmanuelle Waeckerlé, Marianne Schuppe, Stefan Thut, Antoine Beuger, Sylvia Alexandra Schimag, Marie-Cécile Reber (Edition Wandelweiser)
Wild Up - Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine (New Amsterdam)
Florian Wittenburg - Kranenburg Tree (Edition Wandelweiser)
Pamela Z - A Secret Code (Neuma)
Apologies for missing last week's "For the Record" newsletter—I was unavoidably detained by pressing business in Battery Park.
Ahem. But perhaps subsconsciously I was daunted by selecting an Album of the Week among so many strong options. Rather than let those records slip by unnoted, I'll take a moment to commend some essential June 11 arrivals:
Melaine Dalibert - night blossoms (Elsewhere)
Anastassis Philippakopoulos - wind and light - Anastassis Philippakopoulos, Jürg Frey (Elsewhere)
Keith Rowe - Absence (Erstwhile)
"Blue" Gene Tyranny - Degrees of Freedom Found (Unseen Worlds)