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For the Record: October 16, 2020

Keeping tabs on new recordings of interest to the new-music community, on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, and digital-only formats—highlighting exceptional new releases from Sarah Hennies and more.
For the Record: October 16, 2020

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 On 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.

The Patience of Sarah

Sarah Hennies
Photograph: Walter Wlodarczyk

By now you’ve likely seen this elsewhere, but I’m very pleased to announce that I’m back in The New York Times this weekend with a substantial profile of Sarah Hennies, a composer and percussionist whose music and performances have had a strong impact on me since I first became acquainted with her work, around five years ago.

The Times article is pegged to no fewer than four recordings: three new, and one reissue. First and foremost, The Reinvention of Romance arrived on Sept. 25 from Astral Spirits, a bustling record label you just can’t afford not to follow. Bravi to the Knoxville duo Two-Way Street, for the shrewd commission and the brilliant performance.

Reissued that day from the same label, Casts is a repackaged reissue of a 2015 solo tape. Admirers of Hennies’s extraordinary multimedia piece Contralto will want to know that one piece on this tape, “Song,” was incorporated beautifully into the later work.

Out today on the New World label, at least some of whose noteworthy catalog is making its way gradually to Bandcamp, is Spectral Malsconcities, a fantastic pairing of the title work, played by Bearthoven, and Unsettle, performed by Bent Duo. Those groups will play the same pieces live at Roulette on Oct. 28 at 8pm, and you’re welcome to watch free of charge—though donations certainly are welcome.

Finally, Music for Cello and Humming is one of two albums Judith Hamann is releasing Oct. 30 on Blank Forms Editions – the other is Shaking Studies, and both follow hard on the heels of Peaks, issued Sept. 4 by Black Truffle. Hennies provided a beautiful, mysterious piece for Hamann, titled Loss. She also provided a quote of lapidary beauty, which enriched my enterprise and expanded my comprehension considerably:

“The interesting thing is that it’s not setting up the performer to fail, but to create a setting in which the attempt at the task creates the artifacts and phenomena that make the performed work alive,” Ms. Hamann said. “That’s where all the richness and magic is, in the cracking voice and the slackened C string, in the breaths between gestures, in the awkwardness, in the sonic properties of trying, and what emerges from that.”

“The sonic properties of trying”—how gorgeous is that?

Lend an ear to Spectral Malsconcities today, and check out the other recordings, too, if you haven’t already. Mark the Roulette date on your calendar, before you forget. And a week earlier than that – on Oct. 21 at 8pm EDT – you can see the online premiere of Passing, a new multimedia piece by Hennies, during the ISSUE Project Room Artist Fund benefit, which also includes a new piece by Jim O’Rourke and all manner of contributions from resident artists and fellow travelers past and present. (You can watch for free, but a $25 donation to the fund is gently suggested.)

Finally, should you happen to be in or near New York City on Halloween, consider taking a ferry over to Governors Island to hear Hennies perform twice, in person, as part of Out/With/In. Organized by New York composers collective Qubit, the presentation also includes works by Marina Rosenfield and Qubit’s David Bird and Alec Hall. The event repeats twice, and moves to Nov. 1 in case of inclement weather. You’ll find more details on the Qubit website.

Immense gratitude to my New York Times editor, Zachary Woolfe, who gave me the green light and made the article light years better with his insightful comments; to Adam Lion (of Two-Way Street), Karl Larson (of Bearthoven), and Judith Hamann for their vital, illuminating contributions; to Astral Spirits, New World, and Blank Forms for timely assistance—and, finally, to Sarah Hennies, who shared her time, her truth, her candor, and – not least – her extraordinary music with unfailing generosity.

New This Week

Tim Berne
(Happy Birthday to You!)

Tim Berne’s Snakeoil - The Deceptive 4 (Intakt)

John Blum/Jackson Krall - Duplexity (Relative Pitch)

Lucio Capece & Ben Vida - Umwelt (Bocian)

Anna Clyne - Mythologies - performances by Jennifer Koh, Irene Buckley, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Avie)

Taylor Deupree - Canoe (Longform Editions)

Wendy Eisenberg - Auto (Ba Da Bing)

Marta Forsberg - New Love Music (warm winters ltd.)

Brad Henkel/Jacob Wick - Lovely Bag You Have (Relative Pitch)

Sarah Hennies - Spectral Malsconcities - performances by Bearthoven and Bent Duo (New World)

Patrick Higgins - Tocsin - performances by Wet Ink Ensemble, Vicky Chow, and Mivos Quartet (Telegraph Harp)

Clarice Jensen - Platonic Solids 1 (Longform Editions)

Hermione Johnson - Tremble (Relative Pitch)

Choi Joonyong/Jin Sangtae - Hole in My Head (Erstwhile)

Adeena Karasick/Frank London - Salomé: Woman of Valor (NuJu Music)

Juraj Kojš - People: A Love Letter to Humanity (Anticausal Systems)

Catherine Lamb - Prisma Interius VII & VIII - Harmonic Space Orchestra (Sacred Realism)

Leap of Faith (PEK & Glynis Lomon) - Principles of an Open Future (Relative Pitch)

James Brandon Lewis Quartet - Molecular (Intakt)

Samara Lubelski - Partial Infinite Sequence (Relative Pitch)

Keir Neuringer/Shayna Dulberger/Julius Masri - Dromedaries II (Relative Pitch)

Rapoon - Call Fires to Cloud (Winter-Light)

Marina Rosenfeld - Deathstar (Shelter Press)

claire rousay - it was always worth it (Longform Editions)

Marc Sabat - Gioseffo Zarlino - Harmonic Space Orchestra (Sacred Realism)

Alexander von Schlippenbach - Slow Pieces for Aki—Piano Solo (Intakt)

Schubert/Schlippenbach/Blume - Forge (Relative Pitch)

Howard Stelzer - Invariably Falling Forward, Into the Thickets of Closure (No Rent)

Strategy - The Babbling Brook (Longform Editions)

Chris P. Thompson - True Stories & Rational Numbers (self-released)

Transient Canvas - Right now, in a second  -  compositions by Barbara White, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Emily Koh,   Clifton Ingram, Crystal Pascucci, Stefanie Lubkowski, and Keith Kirchoff   (New Focus)

Birgit Ulher/Franz Hautzinger - Kleine Trompetenmusik (Relative Pitch)

Nate Wooley - Seven Storey Mountain VI (Pyroclastic)

Just Announced

Julius Hemphill
Photograph: allenlowe.bandcamp.com

October 22

Cecilia Lopez/Wenchi Lazo - Bisponsible (Anticausal Systems)

October 30

Jeffrey Ryan - My Soul Upon My Lips: Music for Woodwinds - performances by Jason Hall, Corey Hamm, Mark Takeshi McGregor, Beth Orson, Sophie Dansereau, Julia Nolan, Cris Inguanti, and Tiresias Duo (Redshift Music)

November 5

Anthony Braxton - Ghost Trance Solos - Kobe Van Cauwenberghe (All That Dust)

Catherine Lamb - wave/forming (astrum) - Bryan Eubanks, Xavier Lopez (All That Dust)

Anthony Pateras/Erkki Veltheim - Duos for Other Instruments (All That Dust)

November 20

Phicus - Solid (Astral Spirits)


Julius Hemphill - The Boyé Multi-National Crusade for Harmony (New World; 7-CD archival set)

Coming Soon (yes, really)

Nathalie Joachim
Photograph: Josue Azor

Flutist and composer Nathalie Joachim talks about creating a new piece with student musicians before and during quarantine, and returning to the stage with Spektral Quartet for a live performance intended for presentation online.