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For the Record: May 22, 2020

Keeping tabs on new recordings of interest to the new-music community, on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, and digital-only formats—with Arnold Dreyblatt news and the Album of the Week by Matthew Shipp.
For the Record: May 22, 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 correspond to U.S. release of physical recordings, for the most part, and are subject to change. (Links to Amazon, where used, do not imply endorsement.)

After publication, these new listings will be incorporated into On the Record: The Master List, a continuously compiled and updated resource exclusively accessible to paid Night After Night subscribers. (That page is under construction, and should be online by the time we get back to work on Tuesday, June 2.)

These listings are not comprehensive—nor could they be! To submit a forthcoming recording for consideration, email information to nightafternight@icloud.com.

He’s So Excited

Arnold Dreyblatt
Photograph from Bandcamp

Newly announced by Black Truffle, the wide-ranging label operated by Australian multi-instrumentalist, improviser, and composer Oren Ambarchi, Star Trap presents a freshly compiled selection of recordings from the 1990s by the composer, performer, and artist Arnold Dreyblatt. Referred to as “the most rock ’n’ roll of all the composers to emerge from New York’s downtown scene in the 1970s,” Dreyblatt is known for creating music as visceral and propulsive as it is dense with tonal, harmonic, and timbral richness—and for his own instrument of choice, a double bass restrung with piano wire, played with insistent striking. The new collection follows an earlier Black Truffle offering, Second Selection, on which Ambarchi compiled previously unreleased Dreyblatt recordings spanning the years 1978-1989.

Due for release on June 19, Star Trap is available for preordering now on the Black Truffle Bandcamp page… and, as I type this, there are only three copies of the vinyl LP remaining. Both Star Trap and Second Selection are available in a variety of digital file formats, including lossless. Should you wish to explore still further, you’ll find two pages on Bandcamp devoted to Dreyblatt’s music. One includes the Black Truffle compilations and two reissues of Nodal Excitation, Dreyblatt’s 1982 debut LP. The other includes an even earlier anthology, Choice, as well as recordings issued by the late, lamented Table of the Elements label and more unreleased fare.

Album of the Week

Matthew Shipp
Photograph: Peter Gannushkin/downtownmusic.net

Matthew Shipp
The Piano Equation
(Tao Forms)

Confronted with an artist as prolific as the improvising pianist and composer Matthew Shipp, a question commonly arises: “where do I start?” Since bursting upon the scene in the mid-’80s, Shipp has issued somewhere in the vicinity of 100 recordings as a soloist, bandleader, or co-leader—not counting his sideman gigs. Even since 2017, when word went around that he intended to wind down his record-making career with the trio set Piano Song, Shipp has released some of the most vital and engaging discs of his career, including Symbolic Reality, the latest effort from his elegant String Trio with violinist Mat Maneri and bassist William Parker; What If?, a suitably heady meeting with trumpeter Nate Wooley; and an entire raft of duo encounters with the fiery saxophonist Ivo Perelman, crowned by the splendid Live in Nuremburg.

All that said, and taking into account Shipp’s remarkable consistency of vision, imagination, and intensity, one handy answer to “where do I start?” is “what’s new?” And, in this case, the pianist’s new solo LP, The Piano Equation, actually does make an ideal starting point, while also giving aficionados a great deal to enjoy. The album – the first offering from Tao Forms, newly launched by drummer and longtime Shipp comrade Whit Dickey – offers 11 relatively concise examples of Shipp’s phenomenal energy, bruised romanticism, and flying-elbows swing. It’s beautifully recorded, too: listen closely to the way Shipp mixes up timbre, touch, and resonance in the enigmatic, contemplative opener, “Piano Equation.”

The Piano Equation is meant to mark the agelessly vital Shipp’s 60th trip around the sun. But there’s nothing nostalgic or mannered about the affair, even when the compositions intentionally evoke the historic continuum. You might hear echoes of Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk in the buoyantly swaggering opening bars of “Swing Note from Deep Space,” but Shipp’s amiable ramble thereafter is a trajectory of his own imagining. The airy sweetness of “Land of the Secrets,” the impressionist softness, stride-like feints, and obsessive figurations of “Tone Pocket,” the gamboling playfulness of “Clown Pulse,” and the inky depths of “Cosmic Juice” are only a few more examples of a master musician at the height of his prodigous powers.

New This Week

Owen Pallett
Photograph: Yuula Benivolski

T.J. Borden & Luke Martin - if you need to stand up or move about (Marginal Frequency)

Sarah Davachi - Gathers (Boomkat Editions)

Endangered Quartet - Heart (New Focus)

Michael Hersch - I hope we get a chance to visit soon - Ah Young Hong, Kiera Duffy, musicians of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Tito Muñoz (New Focus)

Wayne Horvitz/Sara Schoenbeck - Cell Walk (Songlines)

Takahiro Kawaguchi - tuning - Cristian Alveár & Santiago Astaburuaga (self-released)

Methods Body - Methods Body - compositions by John Niekrasz and Luke Wyland (New Amsterdam)

Owen Pallett - Island (Domino)

Páll Ragnar Pálsson - Atonement: The Music of Páll Ragnar Pálsson - Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir, Tui Hirv, Caput Ensemble/Guðni Franzson (Sono Luminus)

James Primosch - Carthage - The Crossing/Donald Nally (Navona)

Gabriel Prokofiev - Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra No. 1; Cello Concerto - Mr. Switch, Boris Andrianov, Ural Philharmonic Orchestra/Alexey Bogorad (Signum Classics)

Sandbox Percussion - And That One Too - compositions by Andy Akiho, David Crowell, Amy Beth Kirsten, and Thomas Kotcheff (Coviello)

Joseph Sannicandro - I Always Worked (Dinzu Artefacts)

Seven Teares - Older Than Love (self-released)

Matthew Shipp - The Piano Equation (Tao Forms)

Sound Kite Orchestra - The Venice Session (Dinzu Artefacts)

Philip Sulidae - Tupik (Dinzu Artefacts)

Various artists - I Still Play - compositions by John Adams, Laurie Anderson, Timo Andres, Louis Andriessen, Donnacha Dennehy, Philip Glass, Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny, Nico Muhly, Randy Newman, and Steve Reich, performed by Timo Andres, Jeremy Denk, Brad Mehldau, and Randy Newman (Nonesuch)

Coming Soon

May 29

David Grubbs & Taku Unami - Comet Meta (Drag City)

yMusic - Ecstatic Science - compositions by Gabriella Smith, Missy Mazzoli, Caroline Shaw, and Paul Wiancko (New Amsterdam)

June 1

Kyle Bruckmann - Triptych (tautological) (Carrier)

June 5

Caleb Dolister - Daily Thumbprint Collection 3: The Wandering (Orenda)

Morton Feldman - Coptic Light; String Quartet and Orchestra - Arditti Quartet, ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Michael Boder, Emilio Pomàrico (Capriccio)

June 12

Rage Thormbones - Rage Thormbones - compositions by Matt Barbier and Weston Olencki (Carrier)

June 19

Arnold Dreyblatt - Star Trap (Black Truffle)

Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson - Sinfónía - Fengjastrútur (Carrier)

David Lang - love fail - Lorelei Ensemble/Beth Willer (Cantaloupe)

June 26

Halldór Smárason - Stara: The Music of Halldór Smárason - Siggi String Quartet & Friends (Sono Luminus)

July 17

Laraaji - Sun Piano (All Saints)

September 11

Joshua Van Tassel - Dance Music Volume II: More Songs for Slow Motion (Backward Music)