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For the Record: September 4, 2020

Keeping tabs on new recordings of interest to the new-music community, on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, and digital-only formats—including a handful of recommendations for Bandcamp Friday and beyond.
For the Record: September 4, 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.


Today is the latest “Bandcamp Friday,” wherein the online music-sales platform Bandcamp is waiving its fees from midnight this morning through midnight tonight (Pacific Time, mind you) in order to put more money into the pockets of artists and indie labels who need it most—or, in many cases, enabling them to direct more money toward social causes of their choosing.

If you’ve ever wondered how and why Bandcamp is in a position to enact this kind of generosity, on what has become a regular basis, a Twitter thread posted by Future of Music Coalition, an education, outreach, and advocacy organization, spells it all out:

In addition to the usual barrage of recordings – scheduled new releases, special limited editions, enticing pre-orders, and so on – I’m seeing a lot of diversification this time around. You can buy a floppy hat from Merge Records… a pandemic mask adorned with the logo of Tim Berne’s new digital imprint, 9donkeys… even a ticket for an exclusive online record-release concert by Sarah Davachi, on Sept. 20 at 3pm EDT.

Poking around on Twitter – and on Facebook, I presume, though I’m disinclined to check – you’ll find recommendation threads in abundance. Three sources to whom I’ll always turn with confidence are Lars Gotrich, Joshua Minsoo Kim, and Marc Masters (who’s crowd-sourcing full discography picks this time around). Of course, there are many more, and I’m not omitting anyone here by design.

So this week, instead of one big “Recording of the Week” review, I’m going to point toward a handful of items available to purchase or pre-order on Bandcamp that have provided (or proposed) extraordinary listening lately…

Recording(s) of the Week

Galya Bisengalieva - Aralkum (One Little Independent)

Recording for a storied British indie-music label that changed its name subtly but meaningfully in June, Kazakh-British violinist and composer Galya Bisengalieva offers a sequence of dense, moody pieces for violin and electronics. Prompted by climate change – and named after a desert that emerged when part of the Aral Sea dried up as a result of Soviet irrigation projects – Aralkum offers intense beauty fused with palpable moral gravity.

Ellen Fullman & Theresa Wong - Harbors (Room40)

Harbors, a collaboration between two noteworthy performing composers – Ellen Fullman on her trademark Long String Instrument; Theresa Wong on cello – came out in mid-August, at which point the Tone Glow team did its Rashomon-like job of inspecting the album from myriad angles. On finally catching up to it – and on doing so having very much admired an earlier recording Fullman made with another cellist, Okkyung Lee – I’m taken by how subtly these musicians work together. Occasionally Wong takes a pronounced leading role, with Fullman providing a supportive drone. But in the most enchanting portions of Harbors, the two function as one, integral and inextricable. (Wong’s admirers are urged as well to investigate Live at zoom in, an equally companionable but considerably more antic duo with violist Frantz Loriot.)

Kraig Grady - MONUMENT OF DIAMOND (Another Timbre)

I can’t think of many labels I trust as comprehensively as Another Timbre, a one-man British imprint that started out in free improvisation, but then quickly made decisive inroads into contemporary classical music that almost no other label was documenting. Artists like Cassandra Miller, Linda Catlin Smith, Magnus Granberg, Angharad Davies, Melaine Dalibert, Clara de Asís, Laurence Crane, and the ensemble Apartment House all came into my life primarily because of Simon Reynell, the label’s open-eared proprietor. Now, add to that list Kraig Grady, whose slow, gentle, and enchanting MONUMENT OF DIAMOND features a quartet playing in a 17-tone scale. I might feel abashed about becoming acquainted with a fantastical California microtonalist via an English cottage label, but this is what Reynell does, routinely. (Also strongly recommended from the same source: good day good day bad day bad day, a quirky, utterly charming keyboards-and-percussion piece by Oliver Leith.)

Clifton Joey Guidry III - Darkness Is a Myth (self-released)

I recently had the privilege of serving on a jury for the National Sawdust New Works Commission, which awarded 20 accomplished young composers commissions to write new pieces for the JACK Quartet or the National Sawdust Ensemble. Serving alongside some truly distinguished fellow jurors, I heard an extraordinary range of works by a huge number of worthy entrants—and I can say honestly that the powerful, rawly intimate music of Clifton Joey Guidry III, a versatile composer and improvising bassoonist, grabbed me instantly and wouldn’t let go. This EP serves as a striking introduction; I can’t wait to hear what’s next.

Marina Rosenfeld - Deathstar (Shelter Press)

There’s not much I can tell you yet about the forthcoming release by New York composer and sound artist Marina Rosenfeld, due October 16 on the redoubtable French label Shelter Press—but that’s really only because I’ve heard just the first side of the double LP set, devoted to Deathstar, a deft assemblage of audio and amplification that seems to combine poetry, choreography, and cinematography wholly in sound. The album’s remaining sides render the same work in new guises: as an environment for pianist Marino Formenti, as a concerto for Formenti with Ensemble Musikfabrik, and in a “chamber reduction” for Formenti with the piano/percussion quartet Yarn/Wire. Based on side one, and on the artists involved, consider me sold.

New This Week

Charmaine Lee
Photograph: Luke Cheng

Cristián Alvear & Burkhard Stangl - Pequeños fragmentos de una música discreta (Insub.)

Asher - Arrangements II (Room40)

Samm Bennett - Oscillendulum (Room40)

Max Bessesen - Trouble (Ropeadope)

Galya Bisengalieva - Aralkum (One Little Independent)

Bivins/Menestres - Rip Current (Out & Gone Music)

Blake/Irabagon/Laubrock - The Cat of Sadness (Carrier)

Kate Carr - Splinters (self-released)

Tomás Gueglio - Duermevela - performances by Austin Wulliman, Latitude 49, Juliana Moreno and Patricia García, Ben Melsky, and Nuntempe Ensamble (New Focus)

Judith Hammann - Peaks (Black Truffle)

Roland Kayn - Made in the NL after the Sixties and Beyond (Reiger-records-reeks)

Charmaine Lee - a stone widens it (self-released)

Ian Power - Maintenance Hums - performances by Brian Archinal, Antoine Françoise, Luca Piovesan, Amit Dubester, Maarten Stragier, and Ian Power (Carrier)

TEST and Roy Campbell - TEST and Roy Campbell (577 Records)

Kenny Wessel - Unstrung (Meta-Dash)

Newly Announced

Clara Iannotta
Photograph: Astrid Ackermann

September 18

Tatsuhisa Yamamoto - Ashioto (Black Truffle)

October 2

Alvin Curran - Inner Cities - Gabriella Smart (Room40)

Michalis Moschoutis - Classical Mechanics (Room40)

October 9

Osvaldo Golijov - Falling Out of Time - Silkroad Ensemble (In a Circle)

Clara Iannotta - Earthing - JACK Quartet (Wergo; available for streaming now)

October 16

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

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

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

James Brandon Lewis Quartet - Molecular (Intakt)

Marina Rosenfeld - Deathstar (Shelter Press)

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

October 23

Oliver Leith - Balloon (SN Variations)

Akio Suzuki - Zeitstudie (Room40)

October 30

Ash Fure - Something to Hunt - performances by International Contemporary Ensemble, Nate Wooley, Brandon Lopez, and Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra/Christopher Rountree (Sound American)

Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl with Robert Wyatt - Artlessly Falling (Firehouse 12)

November 6

Susan Alcorn - Pedernal (Relative Pitch)

Mike Cooper - Playing with Water (Room40)