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For the Record: September 18, 2020

Keeping tabs on new recordings of interest to the new-music community, on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, and digital-only formats—including a crucial Album of the Week by composer/keyboardist Sarah Davachi.
For the Record: September 18, 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.

Album of the Week

Sarah Davachi
Photograph: Sean McCann

Sarah Davachi
Cantus, Descant
(Late Music)

Sometimes it can still seem as if it were only yesterday that I first caught wind of Sarah Davachi, a Canadian composer and performer with a penchant for electroacoustic music, arcane keyboards, and unconventional intonations, via Barons Court, her magnificent 2015 debut LP on the Students of Decay label. A thinker, a writer, and an instrumental antiquarian, Davachi earned her master’s degree in electronic music and recording media at Mills College in Oakland, and now is pursuing a Ph.D. in musicology at UCLA. She’d issued a few cassette releases already, but Barons Court brought her patient, spacious, meditative music, descended from forebears like Éliane Radigue and Pauline Oliveros, to wider notice.

Davachi’s New York City live debut came in February 2017: a brief, modest set at Trans-Pecos, where she squatted on the stage with a single synthesizer and a phalanx of pedals—not the most representative setting, but she made an impression. Less than a year later she was back for a headlining engagement at Issue Project Room, her interest in early music now manifest in a stately new piece for reed organ, violins, viola da gamba, and electronics.

Further albums tumbled forth at a rapid clip on labels like Important, Ba Da Bing, Recital, and Superior Viaduct, each distinct from the one before it. Some focused on synthesizer, others folded in Davachi’s voice and strings. The mellotron, a wheezy tape-based proto-sampler, revealed Davachi’s taste for vintage progressive rock, a la early Genesis—a passion she freely acknowledges. Quarantine-period solo creations arrived via Boomkat and Bandcamp.

Devotees who’ve snapped up those records won’t need any urging, but if you’ve yet to experience Davachi’s work and don’t know where to begin, Cantus, Descant is urgently commended. This expansive new collection – issued on Late Music, Davachi’s own new Warp Records imprint – seems to encapsulate some essence of everything she’s done to date, and then adds something more in the form of full-blown songs like “Play the Ghost” and “Canyon Walls,” where the spirits of David Lynch and Julee Cruise (obviously before their late-2017 split) hover as if suspended in a numinous fog.

Medieval and minimalist elements, drone and isolationism, pipe organs ancient and modern, secular hymns and muzzy ballads: all come together on Cantus, Descant, available in double-LP, double-CD, and download formats. (An early variant with an ultra-limited cassette of bonus material is long gone.) It’s a place to start if you’ve not paid attention to Davachi, a place to continue if you’re well acquainted, a place in which anyone might choose to dwell and be transported.

A few timely postscripts: The tireless Tone Glow newsletter/blog published a long interview with Davachi earlier this week, well worth taking the time to read. Speaking of reading, Papers, a collection of Davachi’s scholarly essays, is available in a second printing from Recital. And this Sunday, Sept. 30, at 12pm Pacific Time (3pm EDT), Davachi will celebrate the arrival of Cantus, Descant with the online premiere of a concert film recorded in October 2019 at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, CA; details and tickets are available on Davachi’s Bandcamp page.

New This Week

Suzanne Ciani
Photograph: Karel Chladek/Red Bull Music Academy

Jeb Bishop Centrifugal Trio - Jeb Bishop Centrifugal Trio (Astral Spirits)

Christopher Bissonnette - Wayfinding (12k)

Caldwell/Tester - Little Flower (Astral Spirits)

Suzanne Ciani - A Sonic Womb: Live Buchla Performance at Lapsus (Lapsus)

Jay Clayton/Fritz Pauer/Ed Neumeister - 3 for the Road (MeisteroMusic)

Sylvie Courvoisier Trio - Free Hoops (Intakt)

Sarah Davachi - Cantus, Descant (Late Music)

Jackson/Baker/Kirshner - So Glossy and So Thin (Astral Spirits)

Dominique Lemaître - De l’espace trouver la fin et le milieu - Dan Barrett (New Focus)

Lumiere - Phases (self-released)

Josh Mason - The Computer Has Been Drinking (self-released)

Tatsuya Nakatani/Shane Parish/Zach Rowden - Live at Static Age Records (Astral Spirits)

New Hermitage - Unearth (self-released)

Matthew Shipp Trio - The Unidentifiable (ESP-Disk’)

Sean Sonderegger’s Magically Inclined - Living There (Meta-Dash)

Martin Taxt - First Room (Sofa)

Third Angle New Music - Everything Means Nothing to Me - songs by Elliott Smith, arranged by Christopher Cerrone, LJ White, Robert Honstein, Scott Wollschleger, Ted Hearne, and Jacob Cooper (Third Angle New Music)

Andrew Weathers - Recordings with Guitar (Astral Editions)

Dan Weiss - Natural Selection (Pi Recordings)

Michi Wiancko - Planetary Candidate - compositions by Michi Wiancko, Christopher Adler, Paula Matthusen, Mark Dancigers, Jessie Montgomery, and William Brittelle (New Amsterdam)

Tatsuhisa Yamamoto - Ashioto (Black Truffle)

Miki Yamanaka - Human Dust Suite (Inside Out Music)

Newly Announced

Dayna Stephens Quartet: (L-R) Ben Street, Gregory Hutchinson, Aaron Parks, Dayna Stephens
Photograph: John Rogers

September 25

gamin - Nong - compositions by gamin, Theodore Wiprud, Anna Pidgorna, William David Cooper, Eun Young Lee, and Ned Rothenberg (Innova)

Zachary Good and Lia Kohl - Standing Lenticular (Parlour Tapes+)

Randall Harlow - Organon Novus - compositions by Samuel Adler, Matt Darriau, Michael Daugherty, Lukas Foss, Jennifer Higdon, Tom Johnson, David Lang, Libby Larsen, John Anthony Lennon, John Liberatore, Alvin Lucier, Ursula Mamlok, Nico Muhly, Larry Polansky, Shulamit Ran, Erik Santos, Jonathan Schwabe, Roberto Sierra, Augusta Read Thomas, Joan Tower, Aaron Travers, Ken Ueno, George Walker, Christian Wolff, and John Zorn (Innova)

Eric Huebner - Désordre - compositions by György Ligeti (New Focus)

October 2

Richard Carrick - lanterne - performances by Marilyn Nonken, String Noise, Either/Or, New York New Music Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, and others (New Focus)

Dayna Stephens Quartet - Right Now! Live at the Village Vanguard (Contagious Music)

October 6

Dustin Laurenzi’s Natural Language - A Time and a Place (Woolgathering)

October 9

Maeve Gilchrist - The Harpweaver (3 Birds Music)

Mary Lattimore - Silver Ladders (Ghostly International)

October 13

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

October 16

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

October 23

Kaki King - Modern Yesterdays (Cantaloupe Music)

November 6

counter)induction - Against Method - compositions by Douglas Boyce, Kyle Bartlett, Alvin Singleton, Jessica Meyer, Ryan Streber, and Diego Tedesco (New Focus)

The JCA Orchestra - Live at the BPC - compositions by David Harris, Darrell Katz, Bob Pilkington and Mimi Rabson (JCA Records)

Pole - Fading (Mute)