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For the Record: May 28, 2021

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.

Summer School

Photograph of The Juilliard School building
Photograph: Billie Grace Ward

Before we get to this week's trove of records, a brief announcement: As many of you know firsthand, my wife, Dr. Lara Pellegrinelli, is not only an excellent journalist, program-note writer, and radio reporter, but also an experienced educator with a keen instinct for enterprise. Starting on June 14, Lara will be teaching a series of evening courses for The Juilliard School—and for the first time, I have the opportunity of joining her for one of them.

Bundled collectively as Communications Workshop for Artists, these online courses are meant to help self-reliant artists polish the skills required to frame and tell their own stories. The three sessions – Interview Skills for Artists, Writing Effective Publicity Bios and Press Releases, and Creating Your E-Newsletter – are available individually, as well. I'm involved with the last one, and look forward to discussing formats, frequencies, platforms, and such with one and all.

Massive Attacca

Attacca Quartet
Attacca Quartet (Photograph: David Goddard)

Whether you first got to know the Attacca Quartet via Orange, the group's Grammy award-winning album of music by Caroline Shaw, or had encountered the buoyant foursome via previous recordings devoted to works by John Adams (about which I wrote in a previous lifetime), Michael Ippolito, and/or Franz Joseph Haydn, you already know about the passion, curiosity, and versatility of these players. Even so, you maybe possibly likely didn't reckon with what's next.

Real Life is the name of Attacca's debut recording for the Sony Classical label, due on July 9, and its first featuring recently enlisted violinist Domenic Salerni playing alongside violin counterpart Amy Schroeder, violist Nathan Schram, and cellist Andrew Yee. A collaboration with Snarky Puppy bandleader Michael League, it's one hell of an opening gambit: along with the banger by The Halluci Nation (formerly A Tribe Called Red) embedded above, the album includes new music created with Daedelus and Squarepusher – the latter tune slaps, no surprise – plus re-imagined tracks by Flying Lotus, Louis Cole, Anne Müller, and Mid-Air Thief.

Not surprisingly, Real Life is being worked by two different P.R. firms: one for the classical crowd, another for the indie set. That the press announcement for this forthcoming record also mentions the next record – a mix of Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, and Renaissance pieces – suggests that someone wants to assure us the Attacca hasn't left its previous constituency behind. But the present record is a boldly made, thoroughly committed statement; some may be distressed, but many will be impressed. Count me wholeheartedly among the latter.

Album of the Week

Jessica Ackerley (Photograph: No Land)

Jessica Ackerley
(Cacophonous Revival; CD, CS, DL)

It's not hard to imagine everything you hear on Morning/mourning, the newest solo album by guitarist and composer Jessica Ackerley, as having materialized spontaneously just as you hear it. The music has a stream-of-consciousness feel, a sense of being discovered by Ackerley with the listener along for the adventure.

There's probably some truth in that impression; nothing on the album sounds wholly rote. But it turns out Ackerley has been living with these pieces for a span of some years, shaping their contours as if molding clay until she discovered their ideal form.

Born in Alberta, Canada, and based in New York City until she migrated recently to Hawaii, Ackerley is a performer of substantial range, from delicate filigree to art-rock skronk. Morning/mourning resists either of those extremes. The playing here is twangy and direct, even when, as in the start of "Henry," the music edges into obsessive post-Derek Bailey gesticulations.

The album's home-recorded acoustic enhances the music's intimacy. I feel strangely drawn toward those moments when, lost in the ebb and the flow and the sound, I'm suddenly jolted back into conscious awareness by a distant car horn outside the Manhattan apartment where Ackerley recorded, holed up in COVID-prompted isolation.

That occasion, presumably a time of concern and discomfort, seems to have acted as a catalyst: the album, we're informed by its prefatory texts, in some manner represents Ackerley's response to the deaths of two important mentors: the guitarists Vic Juris and Bobby Cairns. In the album's liner notes, fellow guitarist Wendy Eisenberg proposes that what we're hearing is half a conversation between Ackerley and her teachers: a fascinating proposition.

Therein lies the mourning. But however contemplative Ackerley's music may be, it's never funereal. I like to hear "Untitled 3," with the intricate flux of anticipation and affirmation at its heart – say, from 2:30 to 3:50 – as a kind of pivot point: a turn toward recovery, and new beginnings, and maybe even Hawaii. A morning.

New This Week

Wavefield Ensemble recording in a parking garage
Wavefield Ensemble (Photograph courtesy of the artists)

Jessica Ackerley - Morning/mourning (Cacophonous Revival)

John Luther Adams - Arctic Dreams - Synergy Vocals, Robin Lorentz, Ron Lawrence, Michael Finckel, Robert Black (Cold Blue)

Can - Live in Stuttgart 1975 (Spoon/Mute)

Ferran Fages - Llavi vell (2021 version) (Ferran Fages Archive)

Peter Garland - Three Dawns and Bush Radio Calling - Ron Squibbs (Cold Blue)

Graham/Hobbs/Nakatani/Shen - Scar's the Limit (Tripticks Tapes)

Kenneth Kirschner & Joseph Branciforte - From the Machine, Vol. 1 (greyfade)

Cheryl E. Leonard - Schism (Mappa)

Steve Noble/Farida Amadou with Chris Pitsiokos - Space 1 (TakuRoku)

Steve Noble/Farida Amadou with Alex Ward - Space 11 (TakuRoku)

Steve Noble/Farida Amadou with Yoni Silver - Space 111 (TakuRoku)

Evan Parker/Richard Barrett - 2001 (strange strings)

Sissel Vera Pettersen & Randi Pontoppidan - Inner Lift (Chant)

Carl Stone - Namidabashi (Touch Displacing subscriber exclusive)

Vonnegut Collective - 48 Hours - compositions by Tullis Rennie and Thomas Adès (MFR Contemporary Series)

Alex Ward - The Trade (TakuRoku)

Wavefield Ensemble - Concrete & Void - compositions by Jen Baker, Jessie Cox, Victoria Cheah, Greg Chudzik, and Nicholas DeMaison (New Focus)

Matt Weston - Four Lies in the Eavesdrop Business (self-released)

Just Announced

Photgraph of Eiko Ishibashi
Eiko Ishibashi (Photograph: Bandcamp)

June 1

John Butcher/Dominic Lash/John Russell/Mark Sanders - discernment (spoonhunt)

Consorts - distinctions (spoonhunt)

Dominic Lash Quartet - limulus (spoonhunt)

Serena Scibelli - Reflections - compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, Kathryn Koopman, Hannah Heaton, Melika M. Fitzhugh, Ashley Floyd, and Annie Leeth (self-released)

June 4

Aaron Jay Meyers - Clever Machines - performances by Phillip Stäudlin and Matt Sharrock, Nicole Parks, Transient Canvas, Box Not Found, and others (New Focus)

Vanessa Rossetto - Legends of American Theatre (Regional Bears)

June 11

Matt Haimovitz - Primavera 1: the wind - compositions by Gabriella Smith, David Sanford, David T. Little, Nkeiru Okoye, Jorge Sosa, inti figgis-vizueta, Vijay Iyer, Luna Pearl Woolf, Roberto Sierra, Asher Sizemore, Tod Machover, Jake Heggie, Laura Elise Schwendinger, and Lisa Bielawa (Pentatone)

Ofer Pelz - Trinité - Meitar Ensemble (New Focus)

June 16

Golden Retriever - Sense of Place (Longform Editions)

Eiko Ishibashi - Torn Page (Longform Editions)

Brett Naucke - Arctic Watch (Longform Editions)

Kelly Ruth - Persistence Beyond All Truth (Longform Editions)

June 18

Michael Harrison - Seven Sacred Names - Roomful of Teeth, Tim Fain, Ashley Bathgate, Caleb Burhans, Payton MacDonald, Ina Filip, and Ritvik Yaparpalvi (Cantaloupe Music)

Real Loud - Real Loud - compositions by Pascal Le Boeuf, Paul Kerekes, Brendon Randall-Myers, and Jenny Beck (New Focus)

Remko Scha - Guitar Mural 1 featuring The Machines (Black Truffle)

June 25

The City of Tomorrow - Blow - compositions by Franco Donatoni, Hannah Lash, and Esa-Pekka Salonen (New Focus)

July 9

Attacca Quartet - Real Life - compositions by The Halluci Nation, Louis Cole, Mid-Air Thief, Flying Lotus, Squarepusher, Daedelus, and Anne Müller (Sony Classical)

Duo della Luna - Mangetsu - compositions by Susan Botti, Béla Bartók, Kaija Saariaho, and Linda Dusman (New Focus)

July 23

Graham Haynes vs. Submerged - Echolocation (Burning Ambulance)

Matthew Shipp/Whit Dickey - Reels (Burning Ambulance)

Also in July

Jane in Ether - Spoken/Unspoken (Confront Recordings)