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 email@example.com.
Bandcamp Comes Alive
If you’re a knowledgeable, enthusiastic consumer of music, you almost certainly know about Bandcamp Friday, the now-regular sales events hosted by the music-sales e-commerce website Bandcamp on the first Friday of every month, wherein the platform cedes its cut of all sales for 24 hours in order to put more money into the pockets of artists and labels effected by the present pandemic. If you’ve subscribed to this newsletter for more than a month, you absolutely know all about Bandcamp Friday—and you know that it’s going on right now, today.
This altruistic gesture has resulted in a lot of attention for Bandcamp, like this admiring profile by Randall Roberts published on Sept. 22 in the Los Angeles Times. Perhaps inevitably after Bandcamp Friday became a monthly thing, expressions of skepticism and resistance have begun to crop up among some artists on social media. And anyone who follows a substantial of artists and labels via their Bandcamp feeds has grown intimately familiar with the sensation of drowning in new-release announcements as Bandcamp Friday draws near.
Photograph: Tim Ditzel
On the whole, though, I continue to view Bandcamp Friday as an altruistic gesture on the part of a company far removed from the blatantly exploitative models that power what’s euphemistically viewed as the streaming economy. And I’m fascinated to see Bandcamp venturing cautiously now into ticketed livestreams: This Monday, October 5, at 2pm EDT, Terrie Hessels – a.k.a. Terrie Ex, of Dutch postpunk powerhouse The Ex – performs a live set that will be streamed on the Bandcamp page of Experimental Sound Studio, the Chicago recording facility, archive, and community hub that has become an epicenter of livestreaming during the quarantine months.
The benefits herein should be obvious: ESS brings extensive experience with creating solid livestream events, while Bandcamp provides a sturdy, uncluttered platform—and one not owned by Amazon, as is Twitch, the standard platform for ESS shows. The event is part of the regular ESS series Option, hosted by Ken Vandermark—and it will replay on ess.org and Twitch at 9pm EDT.
Now, for a handful of new and recent releases strongly recommended for your Bandcamp Day delectation…
First Fire • At Dawn
Courtesy of the astral traveler and wayfaring stranger known until recently as High Aura’d comes a subtle, sinuous, essential new tape: one side of muzzy unease and gloom swirled like fog, followed by another side of dewy American raga, flecked with earnest acoustic guitar, modest banjo, and substantial contributions from fiddler Anna RG and percussionist Sarah Hennies.
Years in the making (literally), this new project from saxophonist and composer Ulrich Krieger comprises new compositions by a heady group of Wandelweiser collective members and kindred spirits: Antoine Beuger, Julia Holter, Radu Malfatti, Aniela Marie Perry, Michael Pisaro-Liu, Mark So, and Carter Williams. (Scott Cazan is credited as well, as the “hidden 9th composer.”) The set includes nine solo pieces, each precisely 30 minutes in length; users are urged to layer the performances in varying combinations, and the tenth track in the collection stacks them all together at once. Winds Measure, based in Brooklyn, is known for making beautiful, covetable objects in small editions, and the yggdrasil-soli is no exception; read more details here.
New Party Systems
The Best We Can
Having already issued one of this year’s most necessary new-music releases with the 3-CD drone manifesto, The Consummation of Right and Wrong, the protean composer and multi-instrumentalist David First reveals another facet of his expansive skill set with a succinct collection of airy art-pop songs. Bridget Barkan, Dashon Burton (of Roomful of Teeth), and Mazz Swift lend their voices; Tom Chiu (of FLUX Quartet) adds some soulful fiddle. It’s a little bit surprising, and entirely seductive.
Superfam Membracoidea Collective
Buzz: Music in Harmony with Nature
The clarinetist David Rothenberg has long used his horn to communicate, but often it’s bugs, birds, and whales he’s connecting with. Here, he finds a kindred spirit in Martha Mooke, whose five-string electric viola purrs and hums in her own music and compositions by Victoria Bond, which also accommodate insect sounds. Of special interest is the sole encounter between composer-accordionist Pauline Oliveros and her neighbor, electric bassist Tony Levin (of King Crimson and Peter Gabriel fame), mediated by Rothenberg and enlisting a chorus of cicadas. Proceeds benefit the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
(Full Spectrum Records)
It’s easy to write about what Mueller Tunnel is – three California-based improvisers making spontaneous music together in a resonant service tunnel cut through a mountain north of Pasadena – and considerably more difficult to describe what it sounds like. If you’re familiar with the partnership of Tim Barnes and Jeph Jerman, or the more field recording-oriented collaborations of Michael Pisaro-Liu and Greg Stuart, then you’ve got some notion of what transpires when Cassia Streb, Cody Putman, and Tim Feeney hike in with their instruments and recording equipment, to interact and interfere with one another and their surroundings. The physical release features a slender book of graphic scores and beautiful photos by Eric Basta; the digital-only version includes a PDF.
Eyes Shut, Ears Open: A Burning Ambulance Compilation
Over the span of a decade, Burning Ambulance has transformed from a micro-press zine to a polished, well-trafficked website and, most recently, a podcast, all of it dedicated to documenting creative music in the broadest and most inclusive sense. Journalist and critic Philip D. Freeman has earned a reputation for calling things like he sees them; accordingly, the label he’s founded with artist I.A. Freeman champions similarly strong-willed creators, from Melissa Aldana and Aaron Parks via William Hooker and Matthew Shipp to Burnt Sugar and Dead Neanderthals. Most of the proceeds from this anthology will feed the label, but a generous 25 percent will be donated to the Jazz Foundation of America’s Musicians’ Emergency Fund.
New This Week
Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog (L-R: Shahzad Ismaily, Marc Ribot, Ches Smith)
Photograph: Ebru Yildiz
Jon Armstrong Sextet - Reabsorb (Orenda)
Richard Carrick - lanterne - performances by Marilyn Nonken, String Noise, Either/Or, New York New Music Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, and others (New Focus)
Alvin Curran - Inner Cities - Gabriella Smart (Room40)
Devin Gray & Gerald Cleaver - 27 Licks (Rataplan)
Noah Haidu - Doctone (Sunnyside)
John P. Hastings - VVaves of VVagner (self-released)
Mark Helias/Tim Berne - Blood from a Stone (self-released)
Hemingway, Phillips & Moore – Slips (Ramboy)
Hugar - The Vasulka Effect: Music for the Motion Picture (Sony Music Masterworks)
Roland Kayn - Sound-Hydra (Reiger-records-reeks)
Victoria Keddle - Apsides (Chaikin)
John Kolodij - First Fire - At Dawn (Astral Editions)
Ulrich Krieger - the yggdrasil-soli - compositions by Antoine Beuger, Julia Holter, Ulrich Krieger, Radu Malfatti, Aniela Marie Perry, Michael Pisaro-Liu, Mark So, and Carter Williams (Winds Measure)
Michael Moore Fragile Quartet – Cretan Dialogues (Ramboy)
Michalis Moschoutis - Classical Mechanics (Room40)
The NDR Bigband with Michael Moore – Sanctuary (Ramboy)
New Party Systems - The Best We Can (self-released)
Pat O’Reilly - TWO PERPETUAL MELODIES (Gold Bolus)
Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog - What I Did on My Long Vacation (Northern Spy)
Angelica Sanchez & Marilyn Crispell - How to Turn the Moon (Pyroclastic)
Ryan Sawyer - Ever Since (figureight)
Patrick Shiroishi/Eldar Tagi - Flock (Fort Evil Fruit)
Sohrab - Kharabat (Touch: Displacing subscription series)
Dayna Stephens Quartet - Right Now! Live at the Village Vanguard (Contagious Music)
Superfam Membracoidea Collective - Buzz: Music in Harmony with Nature (self-released)
Tonus - Monogram 50 (Fort Evil Fruit)
Various artists - Eyes Shut, Ears Open: A Burning Ambulance Compilation (Burning Ambulance)
Various artists - New Neighborhoods (Freedom to Spend)
Andrew Weathers & David Menestres - Andrew Weathers & David Menestres (Lurker Bias)
Wind Tide (Andrew Weathers & Gretchen Korsmo) - Llano Discs: Plays Wind Tide (Full Spectrum Records)
John Blum/Jackson Krall - Duplexity (Relative Pitch)
Marta Forsberg - New Love Music (warm winters ltd.)
Brad Henkel/Jacob Wick - Lovely Bag You Have (Relative Pitch)
Hermione Johnson - Tremble (Relative Pitch)
Leap of Faith (PEK & Glynis Lomon) - Principles of an Open Future (Relative Pitch)
Samara Lubelski - Partial Infinite Sequence (Relative Pitch)
Keir Neuringer/Shayna Dulberger/Julius Masri - Dromedaries II (Relative Pitch)
Rapoon - Call Fires to Cloud (Winter-Light)
Schubert/Schlippenbach/Blume - Forge (Relative Pitch)
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)
Schnee (Christof Kurzmann & Burkhard Stangl) - Снег (Mikroton)
David Bird - Mirrors (self-released)
Sarah Davachi - Figures in Open Air (Late Music)
Elliott Sharp - Foliage - performances by Dario Calderone, Gareth Davis, Pepe Garcia, and Koen Kaptijn (Moving Furniture)
The Nels Cline Singers - Share the Wealth (Blue Note)
James Moore & Elliot Simpson - guitars, streets, resonances - compositions by Larry Polansky and Teodora Stepančić (Infrequent Seams)
Phicus - Solid (Astral Spirits)
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.