5 min read

For the record: Sept. 17, 2021

Sounding off about a few recent records in heavy rotation… plus listings for new and upcoming releases.

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.

Heavy rotation.

Rather than writing about a specific new album this week, I'm finally devoting some time and words to a few really impressive recent releases I've enjoyed spending time with, but for whatever reason haven't mentioned thus far.

more eaze (L) and Seth Graham

I've been listening for nearly two months to The Heart Pumps Kool-Aid, credited to --- __ -- ___ and released Sept. 10 on the Orange Milk label, but I've found it difficult to organize my thoughts and reactions sufficiently to distill them into words, let along write them down. The project is a collaboration between more eaze, a.k.a. Austin-based composer, performer, and producer Mari Maurice, and Seth Graham, an electronic composer and the co-founder of Orange Milk.

Those links, incidentally, don't lead to artist home pages, but to interviews in which the artists illuminate their methods and motivations, and that's intentional: Part of the mystery of analyzing electronic and/or digital music is figuring out just what's going on, how it was made, what led to its conception, and so on. Read those interviews if you want to know about how Jim O'Rourke, Lovely Music, and 100 gecs influenced Maurice, or how the way Gérard Grisey had a cello recorded influenced the way Graham executes his aural imaginings.

Comparing things to David Lynch nearly always amounts to lazy shorthand. Yet every time I listen to this devastatingly beautiful, sad record about suburban malaise, alienation, and – just under the surface – death, loss, and a hunger for escape by any means necessary, I'm taken to a place that sounds like Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet feel: eerie, haunted, surreal, and saturated with sensations of normalcy disguising entrapment and despair. I don't think it's a stretch to be reminded of the distorted nostalgia, the askew perspectives, the sugar-coated horror in Angelo Badalamenti's Lynch scores, albeit rarely in a literal sense.

I'm reminded as well, in the album's deft mix of transparent chamber-music scoring, ethereal presence, and spacious pace, of late-period Talk Talk and (especially) the self-titled Mark Hollis solo album—though again, The Heart Pumps Kool-Aid doesn't sound a thing like Hollis. I also love that this album shouts out Julius Eastman in the title for a song that sounds nothing like Eastman's music.

I'm less well-versed in the more eaze catalog than I ought to be, so I'm loathe to attribute aspects of this record to one partner or the other. Still, the album's seamless juxtaposition of disparate elements and perspectives reminds me that Graham was an admirer of Noah Creshevsky's hyperrealist aesthetic—and hyperrealism for me certainly hits closer to the mark than the label more likely to be applied, emo ambient.

If you've read this far: great! But please, please, don't take my word for any of this: just listen to The Heart Pumps Kool-Aid, the record that has obsessed me more than any other in this fragile, uncomfortable, confrontational year of transition. It's an extreme creation, an arresting balance of beauty and agony, an extraordinary achievement.

Lyle Mays

Eberhard, a 13-minute EP, presumably represents the last new music we'll hear from the spectacularly gifted keyboardist, arranger, and composer Lyle Mays, who died in February 2020. Mays of course is known best for his many collaborations with guitarist Pat Metheny, and the sonic landscape of Eberhard – named for bassist and ECM Records mainstay Eberhard Weber – will be instantly familiar to anyone who's loved the Metheny/Mays recordings: airy rhythms, rich harmonies, heartfelt solos, wordless vocals. Featured musicians on the recording include saxophonist Bob Sheppard, bassists Steve Rodby and Jimmy Johnson, percussionist Alex Acuña, and guitarist Bill Frisell.

Fascinatingly, the piece had its origin in an invitation from the prominent marimba player Nancy Zeltsman for a concert at her Zeltsman Marimba Festival in 2009. Aubrey Johnson, the principal vocalist on Eberhard and the composer's niece, details the work's origin and evolution in an essay on Mays's website. There, you'll also find generous commentaries from Weber, Metheny, and the musicians featured on the recording. Eberhard appears to be accessible on all the major streaming services. It's not on Bandcamp, unfortunately, but you can purchase it in vinyl, CD, and download formats via the Mays webstore.

Short takes

Erin Rogers is a consummate collaborator, a vital spark in new-music troupes like Varispeed, thingNY, Wild Up, New Thread Quartet, Hypercube, and Popebama. Her new album, 2000 Miles, is a tour de force unaccompanied saxophone album that doesn't sound quite like any other solo-sax album I know: a real achievement. Becoming Air/Into the Vanishing Point, the new Annea Lockwood album on Black Truffle, features one side with trumpeter Nate Wooley and the other by piano-percussion quartet Yarn/Wire. It's an engrossing document of two fundamentally collaborative creations. Tonband, also new from Yarn/Wire, finds the quartet at the opposite end of the spectrum, executing rigorous works with compelling virtuosity and infectious advocacy.

New this week.

Erin Rogers (Photograph: Aleksandr Karjaka)

Blue Lick (Havadine Stone & Ben Baker Billington) - Hold On, Hold Fast (American Dreams)

Robert Curgenven - Beyond Enclosures (Recorded Fields Editions)

Will Guthrie - People Pleaser Pt. II (kythibong)

Mark Kirschenmann - Cybersonic Outreach (New Focus)

Francisco Mela featuring Matthew Shipp and William Parker - Music Frees Our Souls, Vol. 1 (577 Records)

Erin Rogers - 2000 Miles (Relative Pitch)

Byron Westbrook - Mirror Views (Ash International)

Just announced.

Ivo Perelman (Photograph: Edson Kumasaka)

September 25

Ivo Perelman - Brass & Ivory Tales (Fundacja Słuchaj)

October 1

Guillaume Gargaud - 17 Compositions (New Focus)

October 22

Ibukun Sunday - The Last Wave (Spirituals)

November 12

Mareike Wiening - Future Memories (Greenleaf Music)

Daniel Wyche - Earthwork (American Dreams)

November 19

Body/Dilloway/Head - Body/Dilloway/Head (Three Lobed Recordings)

Ribbon Effect - ep98 (False Walls; originally issued in 2002)

Tiny Hairs - Coldless (False Walls; originally issued in 2004)

Tiny Hairs - Subtle Invisible Bodies (False Walls; originally issued in 2002)

January 28

Goat Island - "What would your shadow do?" (False Walls; originally issued in 2004)

Molar - The Time and Motion Studies (False Walls; originally issued in 2004)

Uchihashi Kazuhisa & Gene Coleman - Storobo Imp. (False Walls; originally issued in 2004)