AMN Reviews: Sam Newsome – Sopranoville: New Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone (2017)

Not being terribly familiar with the works of Sam Newsome, I had (for some reason) assumed that he was focused on straight jazz. To my distinct pleasure, I was proven wrong by Sopranoville, his new experimental saxophone release.

Subtitled “New Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone,” the album consists of 22 short tracks all produced, in one way or another, by soprano sax. This involves not only overdubbing, but manipulating the sounds coming out of the instrument with tape, aluminum foil, reed straw, and so on. Through use of extended techniques, Newsome offers drones, squeaks, and percussive elements. Clearly, the focus is on experimentation – seeing how far the sonic envelope of the soprano can be pushed. To that end, Newsome not only elicits unconventional output from his instrument, but also crafts clever multi-track compositions in the studio – in some cases, up to fifteen sopranos are layered upon one another with an avant-orchestral flavor. That’s not to say that all of these pieces are abstract. On some, Newsome sets forth catchy, yet discordant, themes. But the focus here is new music.

As solo sax recordings go, I remain a big fan of the Anthony Braxton / John Butcher styles and approaches. However, in view of Sopranoville, I’ll be adding Newsome to the list of individuals whose future output is of interest.

A Closer Listen Reviews

Source: A Closer Listen.

CEEYS ~ Concrete Fields
Richard Pinhas ~ Reverse
Gideon Wolf ~ Year Zero
Fabio Perletta ~ Ichinen
The McCormick Percussion Ensemble ~ Marimba Concerti with Percussion Orchestra
Jean-Michel Blais & CFCF ~ Cascades
Those Who Walk Away ~ The Infected Mass
Ondrej Zajac ~ ICU

MATA Festival 2017 Announced

Source: MATA.

MATA FESTIVAL RETURNS
TO THE KITCHEN,
APRIL 25 – 29

Now in its nineteenth year, MATA Festival is back at The Kitchen on April 25 – 29 with an overflowing bounty of the newest music. Representing 31 early-career composers from seventeen countries, it offers a singular opportunity for New Yorkers to grasp the complete spectrum of new music emerging today – from gritty European modernism to experiments in theater, sound, and acoustics. This year’s concerts include seven world premieres (including three MATA commissions), fifteen US premieres, and six NY premieres.

C O N C E R T P R O G R A M S B Y E V E N I N G

Monday, April 24: Opening Night Concert Reception at WhiteBox
Meet and mingle with the composers and performers of MATA Festival 2017, hear some short pieces, drink some wine. Program includes members of Scenatet in a US premiere by Jexper Holman and a New York premiere by Thomas Kotcheff, played by Hocket.

Tuesday, April 25: SCENATET: Wow and Flutter
Denmark’s buzzy Scenatet makes its official New York debut with a potent program that belies the cozy Danish stereotype of ‘Hygge.’ Along with the twitchy improvised grooves of Yu Oda and the strobe-funk theatrics of Kaj Duncan David’s Computer Music, highlights include the first of this year’s MATA commissions, a world premiere by Eric Wubbels. Also on tap: the hermetic canons of Daniel Tacke’s musica ricercata | musica poetica, Turkish composer Murat Çolak’s Orchid, an octet by rising Danish star Christian Winther Christensen, and German composer Martin Grütter’s Messer Engel Atem Kling (Cleaver Angel Breathing ‘Ding’).

Wednesday, April 26: 88 Keys Open Many Doors
LA’s bold Hocket piano duo, heard in its New York debut, joins some of NY’s fiercest new-music pianists in an evening of keyboard adventures. Adam Tendler explores unintentional sounds in Charlie Sdraulig’s subtly choreographed collector, and repurposes the piano in Marina Poleukhina’s for thing. Hocket teases the ebonies and ivories in Joseph Michaels’ Together in Perfect Harmony and Michael Laurello’s Touch. Molly Herron’s trio resonates in her exquisite Full Blood Moon. Soprano Sarah Brailey is joined by pianist Blair McMillen in Sojourner Hodges’s eloquent Fire Command Room, while interloper harpist Bridget Kibbey gives life to Iranian composer Karen Keyhani’s Nightly Monologue II.

Thursday, April 27: plus 1
Three-dimensional works for one or two players. Thursday’s MATA Festival concert opens with Oleg Elagin’s space age electronic fanfare, The Formation of New Sensual Experience, setting the tone for an evening of evolution and innovation. Samuel Cedillo’s Monólogo III refashions the viola in an incredible tour de force of expression. The consummate Daniel Lippel brings elegance to the shifting guitar figures of Karin Wetzel’s Amorphose II and Basque composer Mikel Urquiza’s dialogues with Dowland, Belarretan. The evening reaches for the heavens with Nikolet Burzyńska’s Cold burning out, played by TIGUE’s Matt Evans, and Liisa Hirsch’s ethereal Cloud Tones for piano “glides” and viola.

Friday, April 28: Stencils and shadows
Performing as Friends of MATA, nine of NYC’s top new-music interpreters – including violinist Miranda Cuckson, cellist Mariel Roberts, and pianist Isabelle O’Connell – play works that explore what remains unsaid. Bangkok native Siraseth Pantura-Umporn’s MATA-Commissioned Ripples, inspired by disturbances of water, exposes what lies beneath the surface. Chilean composer Francisco C. Goldschmidt reflects on the loneliness of existence in his mesmerizing …y te pierdes y te hundes… Foreground and background are engaged through the vibrant absences of the Italian Giovanni Bertelli’s quartet Libro d’Aprile and the shifting shapes and contours of Piano by Krists Auznieks from Latvia.

Saturday, April 29: Dangerous currents
Novus NY, the vibrant new music ensemble based at Trinity Church, makes its MATA Festival debut in an evening of large-ensemble works. British composer Philip Venables uncovers a vein of Shakespearean tragedy in his boxing melodrama The Revenge of Miguel Cotto. In Letters from Brown Men, Paul Pinto explores the fallout from natural disasters. A monolithic yet ethereal stillness infuses Russian composer Dmitri Timofeev’s elegy, Angel. This year’s final MATA commission, Kristina Wolfe’s Record of Ancient Mirrors, conjures the drones of temple bells through retuned viola da gamba and large ensemble. Bringing it all back home, the Festival closes with the New York-based Le Boeuf Brothers joining Novus for Pascal Le Boeuf‘s bracingly inventive Alkaline for string quartet and jazz combo.

Interview with James Falzone and Bonnie Whiting about the Seattle Sound

Source: Second Inversion.

“There is a ‘sound’ here, no doubt,” says James Falzone of Seattle’s distinctive new music scene. “It is one I would describe as patient and less influenced by the frenetic energy that you might find in a city with less vistas.”

Those famous Northwest vistas are relatively new to clarinetist/composer James Falzone and percussionist Bonnie Whiting, each of whom recently moved here from the Midwest to serve as educators at two major academic institutions: Falzone as the new Chair of Music at Cornish College of the Arts and Bonnie Whiting as the Chair of Percussion Studies and Artist in Residence at the University of Washington.

Spatial Audio Summer Workshop at EMPAC

English: The south side of the EMPAC building ...

Source: EMPAC.

A five-day intensive workshop on the technical, theoretical, and practical issues surrounding spatial audio platforms, particularly focused on Wave Field Synthesis and High-Order Ambisonics. Hosted by EMPAC at Rensselaer along with IRCAM (the Paris-based Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), and HUSEAC (Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition), this workshop will give participants the opportunity to experience large-scale, complex audio setups in pristine acoustic environments.

Markus Noisternig (IRCAM) and professor Hans Tutschku (Harvard) will join EMPAC’s audio staff in dissecting the technical and artistic concerns in the creation and presentation of high-count multi-channel audio projection. Each day will consist of seminar-style workshops and lectures, along with time for hands-on experience with the over 700 channels of audio, including EMPAC’s new Wave Field Synthesis array.