Making Milton Babbitt’s Legacy Less Fearsome

Source: The New York Times.

This year marks the centennial of Babbitt’s birth. It is an occasion that will be mostly overlooked in the classical music world, since this composer’s name continues to strike fear in the hearts of audiences. When he died in 2011 at 94, Babbitt was still better known for the divisive essay “Who Cares if You Listen?” than for his groundbreaking compositions.

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AMN Picks of the Week: Z’ev / Colossloth / Fire Maidens From Outer Space / James Freeman

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Z’ev – Eleven Mirrors to the Light (2016)
Colossloth – Outstretch Your Hand (2016)
Fire Maidens From Outer Space – Suddenly Alien (2015)
James Freeman – Echoes of Nature (2015)
James Freeman – Echoes of Nature II (2015)

Ed Palermo Big Band at the Iridium Reviewed

Source: All About Jazz.

You can just about always count on a number of things in any show by the Ed Palermo Big Band: the music of Frank Zappa; inventive arrangements, richly crafted; tight, stellar playing by the ensemble; a nearly non-stop pace; and—maybe above all—a lively sense of humor. Not one to disappoint, the leader started off the first set of Friday’s show with an important announcement: he would be wearing his wife’s pants for the entire evening. (“How do you women do it? The zipper’s backwards!”) He promised that this would in no way diminish his masculinity, but “the way I conduct will!”

Ear Taxi Festival 2016

Source: Ear Taxi Festival 2016, a concert series and set of related events, will take place in Chicago in October 2016.

Spearheaded by Ditson Advisory Committee member and University of Chicago Professor Augusta Read Thomas, the 2016 Ear Taxi Festival is a celebration of Chicago’s thriving contemporary music scene with concerts, lectures, marathons, webcasts and artist receptions featuring New Music Chicago and New Music USA. Co-curated by conductor Stephen Burns and a curatorial committee of Chicago’s leading artists and intellectuals the festival is a joy-ride through Chicago’s new music scene. From Mana Contemporary and the University of Chicago on the south-side to the Harris Theater for Music and Dance and The Chicago Cultural Center in the loop, to Constellation on the north-side, the whole city will be humming with the sounds of creativity and innovation.

Featured composers include Olivia Block, George Lewis, Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Michael Pisaro, and others. Performers include Ensemble Dal Niente, ICE, Spektral Quartet, and many more.

Ensemble Dal Niente Presents Ben Melsky and Jesse Langen in Chicago

Source: Ensemble Dal Niente.

Dal Niente Presents: Ben Melsky and Jesse Langen

Saturday, January 23, 2016
8:30pm 10:30pm
Elastic Arts
3429 W Diversey Ave #208 Chicago, IL 60647 United States

The harp and guitar; two instruments alike in sound, technique, and timbre yet largely unexplored as a formal ensemble. With the support of the City of Chicago’s DCASE Individual Artist Program, Ben Melsky, harpist, and Jesse Langen, guitarist, are thrilled to commission new works for the duo from Drew Baker, Fred Gifford, Tomás Gueglio, and Kasia Szczech.

Program:
Drew Baker: Skulls (2015) for harp and guitar
Fred Gifford: Mobile 2015: Satirise (2015) for harp and guitar
Tomás Gueglio: One Baroque (2015) for harp and guitar
Kasia Szczech: Librancer (2015) for harp and guitar

Tickets: General Admission: $20; Students: $15

New INSUB Releases

Source: INSUB

Stefan Thut – Insub.8tet – One and seven [INSUB.rec05 – 2016] – http://insub.org/rec05/
Stefan Thut, composition, cello, Antoine Läng, voice, volumes, Alexis Dergrenier, hurdy-gurdy, Patricia Bosshard, violin, Cyril Bondi, harmonium, d’incise, bowed tuned metal pieces, Raphael Ortis, electric bass, Rodolphe Loubatière, snare drum

Thought for the specific nature of the INSUB.Xtet and its rather unusual combination of instruments, this piece composed by Stefan Thut works on one hand on logical mouvements, and on the other on subjective derivation of the nature of the sound, short or long sequences get layered and echo each other. The presence of one becoming the silence of the others. Tones predominate but sometime shift to grainer sounds and soft noises in a constantly changing level of densities.
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Illogical Harmonies with d’incise [INSUB.rec06 – 2016] – http://insub.org/rec06/
Johnny Chang, violin, Mike Majkowski, double bass, d’incise, recordings

The second of two Swiss concerts played by this trio, this recording falls under the genre of unedited concert recording, yet manages to go beyond that, becoming an object of its own. The confrontation of improvisation with concepts or limitations, not taken as a frame of work but really as raw material, allows the improvisation to lead the music on an unexpected path. Here we find slow glissandi, sequences of ostinati, Mike’s brilliant tremolo techniques and highly resonant double bass sound, Johnny’s precise string work and harmonic propositions, and d’incise’s mimetic electronics and sudden bits of field recording treated as instrumental movements, altogether giving birth to a strange chamber music.
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Miguel A. Garcia – Argiope [INSUB.rec07 – 2016] – http://insub.org/rec07/
Composed by Miguel A. García,
Additional sounds by: Alba Burgos, voice, Jon Imbernon, guitar, Ainara Legardon, voice, Roberto Mallo, sax, Miguel Prado, guitar, Artur Vidal, sax

Bilbao based Miguel A. Garcia, maestro of digital harshness as well as revealer of the delicat grains of the machins and cables, has open a new window in its relentless work, very simply but yet surprisingly he included sounds of acoustic nature, instruments played by his friends in fact, in this new composition. In miguel’s cold electronic, instruments samples act as field recording, as sudden openness on another spaces, apearing as abruptly as they disapear. Argiope is a piece of fragmented moments, a controled agitation, and a great care the sounding quality as in the best of the electroacoustic tradition.

The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

English: Photography of William Parker at Jazz...

Source: The Free Jazz Collective.

Keefe Jackson, Josh Berman, Jon Rune Strøm, Tollef Østvang – Southern Sun (Stone Floor, 2015) ****
Bram De Looze – Septych (Clean Feed, 2015) ****½
William Parker / Raining On The Moon ‎- Great Spirit (AUM Fidelity, 2015) ***½
Pedro Sousa, Johan Berthling & Gabriel Ferrandini – Casa Futuro (Clean Feed, 2015) ****½
The Thing – Shake (The Thing Records/Trost, 2015) ****½