AMN Reviews: Michael Hersch/The FLUX Quartet: Images from a Closed Ward [New Focus FCR 199]

By design, Images from a Closed Ward, Michael Hersch’s cycle of thirteen movements for string quartet, is not easy listening. Hersch’s inspiration was a set of etchings and prints artist Michael Mazur created of people institutionalized in a mental asylum in Rhode Island in the 1960s. The music is accordingly disturbing—jarring, discordant, harsh and unyielding. Hersch leverages blocks of sound, deliberately out-of-tune harmonies and extended string techniques to convey a world unmoored and unstable, haunted by an emptiness and fundamental self-alienation. One can only imagine what those people experienced or how their surroundings impinged on them; Hersch’s composition provides sixty-five minutes of empathetic conjecture, which the FLUX Quartet realizes with a relentless power.

Daniel Barbiero


AMN Picks of the Week: Chaos Echoes with Mats Gustafsson / Dane Rousay & John Kennedy / SPIO / Epos Nemo Latrocinium / Adonai Atrophia

Mats Gustafsson at Moers Festival, June 2006, ...

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.

Chaos Echoes with Mats Gustafsson – Sustain (2018)
Dane Rousay / John Kennedy – Audit (2018
SPIO (São Paulo Improvisers in Orchestra) – Conduction BR#5 (2017)
Epos Nemo Latrocinium – Iter Itineris III (2018)
Adonai Atrophia – Metahistory (2017)

Tim Berne’s Snakeoil and the Art of the Musical Journey

Tim Berne

Source: Dark Forces Swing Blind Punches.

I keep coming back to Tim Berne. One of the first jazz shows I saw upon arriving in New York 20 years ago was Berne’s band Paraphrase with Drew Gress and Tom Rainey at Tonic — I think Tony Malaby was sitting in that night. I was particularly mesmerized by what Rainey was doing — I’d never heard anyone play drums that abstractly yet with that much conviction — but I became an instant fan of all the musicians onstage.

Once I was on board with Tim Berne’s music, I kept up with his many projects as much as I could. I particularly loved, and still do, the various Berne/Rainey bands: Hard Cell with Craig Taborn (their 2001 album The Shell Game is simply one of my favorite jazz records ever, with epic compositions and a huge sound courtesy of frequent Berne collaborator David Torn); Big Satan with Marc Ducret (check out the marvelous Souls Saved Hear, from 2003); and Science Friction, a hybrid of the two aforementioned bands (their 2003 live double album The Sublime And, now available digitally in two separate parts, is an absolute feast of gritty yet exacting contemporary jazz).

There are so many other great projects and records — I highly recommend browsing Berne’s extensive Bandcamp site, where he’s offering not just many albums originally released on his own Screwgun label, but otherwise out-of-print gems that span his nearly 40-year discography. (The mid-to-late ’80s small-group records, such as the mighty Fulton Street Maul, are another crucial subset.) I haven’t heard ’em all, but I’ve heard a hell of a lot, and I consider every single one I own to be an essential item in my collection.

This Week in New York 


Of Beasts and Brutes playfully and seriously shines light on the human and animal traits that might emerge in an uprising against totalitarianism, as seen in Orwell’s Animal Farm. The songs reference animalized brutes since the early Romans, up to and including modern times. Curated by Richard Lalli, this concert includes three newly-commissioned world premieres from Francine Trester, Scott Wheeler, and Christopher Berg, along with Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, and Hanns Eisler, among others.
Monday, March 12 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $17-$22
Sheen Center, Loreto Theater, 18 Bleecker Street, New York, NY

Olivia De Prato (co-founder and first violinist of the Mivos Quartet) performs works from her debut solo album, Streya. Olivia will perform works by Missy Mazzoli, Samson Young, Victor Lowrie, Ned Rothenberg, Taylor Brook, and Reiko Füting.
Tuesday, March 13 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $20, $15 students
Metropolis Ensemble, 1 Rivington Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY

Violinist Janine Jansen joins The Philadelphia Orchestra for the New York premiere of Dutch composer Michel Van der Aa’s Violin Concerto.
Tuesday, March 13 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $22-$140
Carnegie Hall, 881 7th Avenue, New York, NY

Violinist Lara St. John and pianist Matt Herskowitz perform their program Lavuta: Violin Beyond the Pale. The music incorporates folk melodies from Eastern Europe and the Jewish Diaspora, re-imagined by contemporary composers like Serouj Kradjian, Milica Paranosic, John Kameel Farah, and more. The evening will feature a pre-concert reception included in the ticket price, with a tasting of food and wine that is paired to the themes and moods of the music.
Wednesday, March 14 & Thursday, March 15 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $75
The Church of the Intercession Crypt, West 155th and Broadway, New York, NY

Through duo commissions performed by violinist Jennifer Koh and the composers themselves, Limitless celebrates the collaborative relationship between composer and performer, while also exploring the historical role of the composer as performer. This spirit of collaboration contrasts with the conventional notion that composition and performance are discrete and detached parts of the musical process. The composers include Zosha di Castri, Missy Mazzoli, Qasim Naqvi, and Lu Wang.
Thursday, March 15 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $29
National Sawdust, 80 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY

György Ligeti’s life was filled with drama. He escaped Nazi extermination in a Jewish labor camp and eventually fled totalitarian oppression at the hands of the liberating Soviets in Hungary. His music’s dense melodic webs and conflicting rhythms—along with a host of other experimental sounds, shapes, and forms—embody the dreams, fantasies, and nightmares of a life lived on the edge. Alarm Will Sound tells Ligeti’s story through a blend of music and recorded sounds in a concert that resembles a live podcast.
Friday, March 16 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $35-$45
Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall, 881 7th Avenue, New York, NY

Ensemble Échappé will play contemporary classical works by recent award winners Lisa Bielawa, Yu-Hui Chang, Jan Krzywicki, and Andrew Norman. A reception will follow in the Academy’s galleries where the 2018 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, with works by 35 contemporary artists, will be on view.
Sunday, March 18 at 3:00 PM
American Academy of Arts and Letters, Library and Galleries, 633 West 155 Street, New York, NY

CompCord Ensemble takes the stage at Cornelia Street Café to present an eclectic program of new chamber compositions for clarinet, electric guitar, electric bass, and drum set. The concert includes works by Lukas Ligeti, Erwan Borek, Ginka Mizuki, and Dan Cooper, as well as new compositions written especially for the event: Citi-zen by Debra Kaye, and Pilgrimage by Gene Pritsker.
Sunday, March 18 at 6:00 PM
Tickets $10
Cornelia Street Cafe, 29 Cornelia Street, New York, NY

All About Jazz Reviews

English: Joe McPhee, moers festival 2010

Source: All About Jazz.

Joe McPhee
From Outer Space (Roaratorio Records)

Danny Fox Trio
The Great Nostalgist (Hot Cup Records)

Bill Frisell
Music IS (Okeh)

Arild Andersen/Paolo Vinaccia/Tommy Smith
In-House Science (ECM Records)

Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp
Oneness (Leo Records)

Dave Liebman/John Stowell
Petite Fleur: The Music of Sidney Bechet (Origin Records)

James Brandon Lewis And Chad Taylor
Radiant Imprints (Off Record Label)

Evan Parker / Barry Guy / Paul Lytton
Music For David Mossman / Live At Vortex London (Intakt Records)

Jo David Meyer Lysne & Mats Eilertsen
Meander (Ora Fonogram)

Marc Edwards
The Bowels Of Jupiter (Gaffer Records)

Upcoming Sound It Out Concerts

Ellery Eskelin en concert au Triton (Les Lilas...

Source: NY’s Sound It Out!

Saturday April 13, 8:00pm — Andrew Drury’s Content Provider
Andrew Drury, drums; Briggan Krauss, alto saxophone; Ingrid Laubrock, tenor/soprano saxophone; Brandon Seabrook, guitar

Saturday April 21, 7:30pm — MOPDtK + Nick Millevoi & Ron Stabinsky
Double-bill: Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Moppa Elliott, double-bass; Ron Stabinsky, piano & Kevin Shea, drums + Nick Millevoi, guitar & Ron Stabinsky, piano

Friday May 11, 7:30pm — Anthony Coleman + Ellery Eskelin
Double-bill: Anthony Coleman, solo piano + Ellery Eskelin, solo tenor saxophone

Saturday June 16 11, 7:30pm — Gordon Grdina Quartet + Oscar Noriega’s Crooked Trio
Double-bill: Gordon Grdina Quartet — Gordon Grdina, oud; Oscar Noriega, reeds; Russ Lossing, piano; Satoshi Takeishi, drums + Oscar Noriega’s Crooked Trio with Marta Sanchez, piano & Lim Yang, double-bass