AMN Reviews: FIMAV 2019 Day 4


Photo credit: Martin Morissette

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – The fourth and final day at the 35 th Festival de Musique Actuelle, featured three concerts that were outstanding displays of artistic prowess, and three others that were less than exceptional, even controversial.

The Sunday schedule began in early afternoon with an hour-long improvised solo concert by British saxophonist John Butcher. It was a joy to behold! Standing at the foot of the gilded altar at the century-old St. Cristophe Roman Catholic Church, Butcher began whispering into the mouthpiece of his tenor sax, cautiously exploring a few notes, laying out a simple melody, emitting bird-like sounds and finally moving into deeper tones and more full-bodied attack, seeming to replicate a conversation. He then switched to soprano sax, playing with the natural reverb from the vaulted ceiling, and ending with some gorgeous variations. On the final piece, Butcher began with chromatic excursions, then let loose with bright and bold playing and near the end it seemed his soprano sax was actually singing – an outstanding performance!

Similarly, the trio led by drummer-composer Tyshawn Sorey soared to the heights of original and compelling musical expression with an all-acoustic concert that soared seamlessly from tone poem to ballad and on to faster tempo pieces. The listener does not have to ask, is this jazz, or contemporary classical, because the music flowed, following no obvious pattern. Chris Tordini was solid on acoustic bass, but to discover a formidable pianist, do check out Cory Smythe, whose imagination and ability to deepen and expand the music in this trio was exceptional. Sorey’s kit that includes a rare, 28-inch GONG Snare, which he used judiciously. Alternating on a keyboard, Sorey’s percussive work was a central part of the group sound. The charts were from his most recent Pi recordings, Verisimilitude (2017) and The Inner Spectrum of Variables (2016).

Electroacoustics took over in the late afternoon when Xavier Garcia used his souped-up laptop computer and mixer to explore the sonic universe with fellow French national Lionel Marchetti who sculpted sound with a tape recorder, toys, and devices. The audience was seated in the round, surrounding the two musician and their electronics tables. They produced plenty of sonic variety, but the experience could not compare with that of the Butcher and Sorey gigs.

The controversy arose in the mixed reaction to a noise choir outing programmed by Montreal improviser Joane Hétu and Joker, entitled Les Lucioles, or The Fireflies. Its 20 choristers were dressed to resemble fireflies and carried lights in their initial entry and final exits. Movement was choreographed, like in a piece of theatre. It is based on music and words by Hétu, Jean Derome, Danielle Palardy Roger, all pioneers and stalwarts of the Montreal improv scene. I picked up the on the word Revolution in the meandering dialogue, and the idea that the fireflies’ light contrasts with darkness in the world. As a metaphor, it did not engage me, but the acked audience gave the performance a standing ovation.

The return of the explosive Indonesian duo knows as Senyawa – vocalist Rully Shabara and Wukir Suryadi, playing a homemade string instrument – in a collaboration with the dramatic Japanese guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Keiji Haino may have looked good on paper, but in performance it never seemed to gel as a well-programmed group effort.

The icing on the proverbial cake came when old and young in the audience danced in the aisles way past midnight to the infectious punky sounds of the veteran Dutch group The Ex, celebrating their 40th year as a performing ensemble. Propelled by the hypnotic beat of drummer and vocalist Katerina Bornefeld, the electric guitar trio of Arnold de Boer (the main vocalist), Terrie Hessels, and Andy Moor, cast aside any notion that musique actuelle is boring or intellectual. No metaphors here, just a lot of musical joy.

AMN Reviews: Cristiano Calcagnile – ST()MA [We Insist WEIN02]

ST()MA, the six-part suite by percussionist Cristiano Calcagnile, is a mosaic of reconciled opposites: acoustic and electronic instruments, pitched and unpitched sounds, extended and conventional techniques.

Calcagnile, a native of Milan, is an instrumentalist and composer engaged in a variety of activities. His background includes classical studies as well as jazz performance; one of his notable projects is the Ensemble Multikulti Cherry On, an eight-piece group of winds, violin, drums, piano and world percussion inspired by the world jazz of Don Cherry. ST()MA finds him in a solo performance, albeit one fortified by an elaborate array of different instruments centered on, but by no means overshadowed by, a large drum kit.

As Calcagnile acknowledges in his note to the recording, ST()MA was a work of catharsis provoked by a deep personal loss. As a concept work it was organized around the idea, signaled by its title, of an opening or transitional space both connecting and defining inside and outside. A passage, in other words, and a void, all at once. The music is at times heavy and dense thanks not only to some energetic drumming, but to the generous use of electronics and a kind of four-string tabletop electric guitar played with an ebow. At other times the sound is less saturated and even delicate, for example when tuned percussion are brought into play. Throughout, Calcagnile demonstrates himself to be an accomplished layerer of sound in addition to being a gifted percussionist; with ST()MA he has succeeded in creating a complex, challenging work.

ST()MA is also noteworthy for being put together as a multimedia package comprising an LP of music, a DVD and an accompanying set of photographs.

Daniel Barbiero

AMN Picks of the Week: Arch Matheos / Musson Thomas Sanders / Philipp Gropper’s Philm / Tapage and Gareth Davis/ Mark Dresser

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.

Arch / Matheos – Winter Ethereal (2019)
Rachel Musson / Pat Thomas / Mark Sanders – Shifa – Live at Cafe OTO (2019)
Philipp Gropper’s Philm – Consequences (2019)
Tapage and Gareth Davis – States (2019)
Mark Dresser Seven – Ain’t Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You (2019)

Moers Festival Lineup Announced

Source: Moers Festival. It takes place June 7-10. Highlights include:

1: … œ Toshimaru Nakamura (JP/PL/MX)

Acid Mothers Temple SWR (JP)


Marshall Allen / Rodrigo Brandão / Toshimaru Nakamura / Günter Baby Sommer (US/BR/JP/DE)

Andrea Taeggi presents “The Third Eye Squeegee” (IT/NL)

Anguish (DE/SE/US)


EX EYE / Stetson – Fox – Ismaily – Summerfield (CA/USA)



Josephine Bode / Peter Evans / Atsushi Tsuyama / Tatsuya Yoshida (DE/US/JP)


Kawabata/Yoshida Duo (JP)

Makoto Kawabata Solo (JP)


Oli Steidle & the killing Popes (DE/UK)


Phil Minton (UK)

RUINS alone (JP)

Sun Ra Arkestra (US)

Tom Zé & Trio (BR)

Toshimaru Nakamura (JP)

Zubi Zuva-X

All About Jazz Reviews

Source: All About Jazz.

Luís Lopes
Guillotine (Clean Feed Records)

Fire! Orchestra
Arrival (Rune Grammofon)

Ólafur Arnalds
Re:member and String Quartets (Mercury KX)

Jakob Buchanan
A Language of My Own (Skirl Records)

Larry Ochs / Nels Cline / Gerald Cleaver
What Is To Be Done (Clean Feed Records)

Walt Weiskopf European Quartet
Worldwide (Orenda Records)

This Week in New York 


For the final performance of her Van Lier Fellowship, Kelly Moran will be presenting two sets – the first will feature acoustic prepared piano works from her 2017 record Bloodroot and upcoming EP Origin, and the second set will be an AV performance of her most recent album Ultraviolet, featuring new video collaborations from visual artists Cassie McQuater, Juli Odomo, and Ren Pan.
Monday, May 20 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $18 online, $25 doors
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

New York Composers Circle presents a concert of new music for violin, cello, piano, and electronics.
Tuesday, May 21 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $20, students free
The National Opera Center, Marc A. Scorca Hall, 330 7th Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY

Roulette resident artist Travis Laplante presents Inner Garden, a newly commissioned long-form work composed for the mesmerizing two piano/two percussion ensemble Yarn/Wire and Laplante on tenor saxophone.
Tuesday, May 21 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $18 online $25 doors
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Composer/performer Meredith Monk offers one of her rare, more intimate concerts in her premiere at the Jewish Museum, with members of her Vocal Ensemble, Katie Geissinger and Allison Sniffin.
Thursday, May 23 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20, $16 students/seniors, $12 members
The Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Avenue, New York, NY

Join violinist and composer Cornelius Dufallo (ETHEL, Flux Quartet), violinist and composer Ittai Shapira, pianist and composer Emir Gamsız, neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux, and psychoanalyst Ruth Oscharoff for a provocative investigation of how composers use silence and how it affects us.
Friday, May 24 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $35
National Sawdust, 80 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY
..:: Website

ACO will hold its 28th Annual Underwood New Music Readings for emerging composers on Thursday and Friday, May 23 and 24, 2019. Led by guest conductor Ludovic Morlot, six composers will hear ACO perform their work live for the first time, receive personalized mentorship, and an archival recording. Three commission opportunities will be available to this year’s participants: the Underwood Commission and Audience Choice each award the chance to write a new work for ACO while the Consortium for Emerging Composers winner will receive a commission to write a new work to be performed by ACO, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and American Youth Symphony (Los Angeles).
Friday, May 24 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $10
Frederick Loewe Theatre, 35 West 4th Street, New York, NY

NYC-based performance and sound art duo panSonus are joined by additional musicians to premiere new works from the US and Australia.
Saturday, May 25 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $15-$20
MISE-EN_PLACE, 678 Hart Street, Brooklyn, NY

Rear View Mirror is a project involving the creation of a new repertoire for the flauto d’amore. The concert features the world premiere of Nathan Hudson’s Textured Air, Gleb Kanasevich’s dont wake them up, Liliya Ugay’s Sweet Suite, and Max Grafe’s Trio Sonata.
Sunday, May 26 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $20, $15 students
Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow Street, New York, NY

Gapplegate Music Reviews

Source: Gapplegate.

David Sanford, Black Noise, Matt Haimovitz, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose

Christina Petrowska Quilico, Global Sirens, Piano Music from Women Composers

Janet Sung, Sung Sessions, Edge of Youth, Sung Plays Enescu, Mazzoli, Britten, Visconti, Gabriel Prokofiev

Jean Barraque, Oeuvres Pour Piano, Jean-Pierre Collot, Espaces Imaginaires

Volti, The Color of There Seen From Here, Robert Geary

Heavy Metal Bebop Podcast #4: Tyshawn Sorey

Source: Heavy Metal Bebop.

Tyshawn Sorey probably needs little introduction to listeners of this podcast. I first became familiar with Sorey via his astonishingly proficient and future-minded drumming in collaborations with Vijay Iyer and Steve Lehman, and have watched with awe as he’s grown into a sui generis musical force on albums such as last year’s monumental Pillars. In this episode, he discusses his love for metal bands such as Meshuggah and Gorguts, why his in-the-red improv project with guitarist Joe Morris has been so liberating, and how working with John Zorn helped him expand his creative horizons.