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 email@example.com.
Please note that all opinions expressed herein are solely my own, and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.
Happy (belated) birthday, Mr. Braxton.
The extraordinary American composer, improviser, pedagogue, and philosopher Anthony Braxton turned 76 on Friday, June 4, and a new recording arrived to mark the occasion: 12 Comp (ZIM) 2017, available from Firehouse 12 on Blu-ray audio and in various downloadable formats.
I'll level with you: I've been listening to this new release for several weeks now – including most of the day Friday – and I haven't yet drawn a bead on just how this particular compositional mode works.
This doesn't especially bother me. Ghost Trance Music flummoxed me early on with its austere regularity. But as the music grew more populous and complex, I started to hear the language as representative of an aspiration toward utopian community: individuals bonded not by hierarchy, but by mutual respect and shared goals. (Erica Dicker's explication of GTM for Sound American is among the more revelatory documents I've read concerning Braxton's work.) Echo Echo Mirror House might be read as an data-age elaboration: more access, more information, more possibility and privilege afforded to each individual, prompting more elaborate and sophisticated modes of interaction.
ZIM, so far, seems less clear. I mean, the notes included on the Bandcamp page for the new album seem straightforward enough…
Braxton has also developed a series of compositional modalities: different ways of imagining and structuring how a musician, or musicians, may participate in a given piece. Since 1995, he has been primarily concerned with his Holistic Modeling Musics. Each is associated with one of the Language Musics… ZIM Music… is derived from language number 11: gradient logics. Gradient logics pertain to aspects of music that continually change, faster and faster, slower and slower, brighter and brighter, darker and darker.
Writing for The New York Times, Seth Colter Walls evokes with economy and evocative flair Braxton's Composition 409 – the performance in the video embedded above, the audio portion of which is included on the new release:
… the play with density and spareness on each reveals an accessible form of experimental drama.… It develops from a sensitive state of mysticism, with harps glistening over wisps of accordion drone, to conflagrations fanned by this saxophonist’s incendiary phrasing, still undimmed by age.
The harps Seth mentions are sure to be a feature anyone coming to this set will dwell upon: Jacqui Kerrod and Shelley Burgon are part of the core ensemble on 12 Comp (ZIM) 2017, alongside Braxton, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, and tuba player Dan Peck. Two more harpists feature in the set, Brandee Younger and Miriam Overlach, as do accordionist Adam Matlock (whose presence reminds me of Ted Reichman's ubiquity during the earliest GTM days), violinist Jean Cook, trumpeter Stephanie Richards, and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock.
Like I said, I've not figured out how to describe this music to my own satisfaction. Walking around town on Saturday afternoon with the back half of this 10+ hour set in my earbuds, I determined at one point that ZIM sounds like a droplet of pond water looks on a microscope slide: teeming with life forms that carom this way and that, occasionally butting into each other, swirling in a beautifully chaotic ballet that surely isn't planned, but sometimes looks that way. But at other times, it was perfectly evident when all the players were charting their individual courses together: everyone suddenly louder or quieter, faster or slower.
Described thusly, ZIM seems simplistic, even rudimentary. But when I think about the way Braxton yokes together – lightly, respectfully! – disparate virtuosos from diverse disciplines, combining and directing them in ways that make their simultaneous actions seem personal, natural, and complementary, the elusive nature of his genius is evident in abundance.
(A reminder, too, that another major Braxton release is looming: Quartet (Standards) 2020, a 13-CD box/DL comprising live recordings from a European tour that just preceded lockdown, arrives on New Braxton House June 18.)
New This Week
Davheed Behroozi - Echos (Sunnyside)
Anthony Braxton - 12 COMP (ZIM) 2017 (Firehouse 12)
John Butcher/Dominic Lash/John Russell/Mark Sanders - discernment (spoonhunt)
Consorts - distinctions (spoonhunt)
Gerald Cleaver - Griots (Positive Elevation)
Clíona Doris - Cantares de la Frontera - compositions by Peter Garland and Deirdre McKay (Louth Contemporary Music Society)
Sam Dunscombe - Outside Ludlow/Desert Disco (Black Truffle)
Sebastian Fagerlund - Nomade – Water Atlas - Nicolas Alstaedt, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu (BIS)
Devin Gray - Melt All the Guns (Rataplan)
Duncan Harrison - fires. serif. (Regional Bears)
Rip Hayman - Waves: Real and Imagined (Recital)
Ramon Humet - Light (Llum) - Latvian Radio Choir/Sigvards Kļava (Ondine)
Catherine Jauniaux/Xavier Charles/Jean-Sébastien Mariage - L'amour (Ayler)
Tom Johnson - Counting to Seven - Dedalus (New World)
Roland Kayn - Extensity (Reiger-records-reeks)
Pekka Kuuisisto/Norwegian Chamber Orchestra - First Light - compositions by Nico Muhly and Philp Glass (Pentatone)
Dominic Lash Quartet - limulus (spoonhunt)
Zach Layton - Weird Tales (self-released)
Alev Lenz - "Fall Into Me" - Roomful of Teeth (New Amsterdam)
Kajsa Lindgren - Momentary Harmony (Recital)
Tony Malaby - Turnpike Diaries, Vol. 4 (self-released)
Aaron Jay Meyers - Clever Machines - performances by Phillip Stäudlin and Matt Sharrock, Nicole Parks, Transient Canvas, Box Not Found, and others (New Focus)
Moor Mother - "Zami" (self-released)
Josh Peterson - Area of Refuge (Regional Bears)
Dan Rosenboom, Billy Mohler & Anthony Fung - Refraction (Orenda)
Vanessa Rossetto - Legends of American Theatre (Regional Bears)
Serena Scibelli - Reflections - compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, Kathryn Koopman, Hannah Heaton, Melika M. Fitzhugh, Ashley Floyd, and Annie Leeth (self-released)
Teodora Stepančić - emoji (Other Minds)
Kevin Volans - Lenguas de Fuego - Mia Cooper, Anna Cashel, Joachim Roewer, William Butt, Silvija Scerbaviciute, Brian Dungan, Andrew Synnott (Louth Contemporary Music Society)
Clara Warnaar - Perfect Try (self-released)
Susanna Santos Silva & Torbjörn Zetterberg - Tomorrow (Carimbo)
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)
Aaron Foster Breylin & Luke Martin - Recursive Retent (Edition Wandelweiser)
Eventless Plot - Anisixia (Edition Wandelweiser)
Frode Gjerstad, Isach Skeidsvoll - Twenty Fingers (Relative Pitch)
Michael Gordon/David Lang - Link - Icebreaker (Rookery Hill)
Eva-Maria Houben - 3 Trios - Carson Cooman (Edition Wandelweiser)
Carlo Inderhees - 8 stimmen1 - Guy Vandromme (Edition Wandelweiser)
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)
Eli Neuman-Hammond - Carneval's Quarrel with Lent - Eli Neuman-Hammond, Ella Heron, Sophia O'Brien-Udry, Story Ponvert, Matthew Tuggle (Edition Wandelweiser)
Phillips, Butcher, Solberg - We met – and then (Relative Pitch)
Fredrik Rasten - Four Parallel Rivers - Johan Lindvall (Edition Wandelweiser)
Toby Roundell - Meditations on the Great O Antiphons - Irene Kurka (Edition Wandelweiser)
Chris Speed - Light Line (Intakt)
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)
Florian Wittenburg - Kranenburg Tree (Edition Wandelweiser)
Pamela Z - A Secret Code (Neuma)
Rose Bolton - The Lost Clock (Cassauna)
Matthew Goodheart - Presences: Suite for Five Performers and Nine Instruments - Broken Ghost Consort (Infrequent Seams)
Jason Nazary - Spring Collection (We Jazz)
Greg Belisle-Chi - KOI – Performing the Music of Tim Berne (Relative Pitch)
Keshav Batish - Binaries in Cycle (Woven Strands Productions)
The Crossing + Al-Bustan Takht - Words Adorned - compositions by Kareem Roustom and Kinan Abou-afach (Navona)
Ian William Craig/Kago - Split Series #24 (Fatcat)
Nick Storring - Newfoundout (mappa)
Blectum from Blechdom - DeepBone (Deathbomb Arc)
Lucy Railton & Kit Downes - Subaerial (SN Variations)
Jeff Lederer - Eightfold Path (little(i)music)