AMN Picks of the Week: Albert Beger / Jaimie Branch / Dickey & Knuffke / Jack O’ The Clock / Dan Phillips & Quartet Next

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.

Albert Beger Quartet – The Gate (2019)
Jaimie Branch – FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise (2019)
Whit Dickey / Kirk Knuffke – Drone Dream (2019)
Jack O’ The Clock – Witness (2019)
Dan Phillips / Quartet Next – Dutiful Dissent (2019)

Ensemble Dal Niente 2019-20 Season Announced

Source: Ensemble Dal Niente.

Dal Niente Season Opener/ Ben Melsky Album Release Concert
Saturday, September 28, 2019
7:00 PM 9:00 PM
Allen Recital Hall, Holtschneider Performance Center (map)
Celebrate the opening of the Dal Niente season with a concert celebrating the album release of Ben Melsky/ Ensemble Dal Niente on New Focus Recordings! The show will feature live performances of several tracks off of the album, along with larger works by Tim Page, Carola Bauckholt, and Alican Çamci.

Chicago Concerts
Dal Niente Presents: Kyle Flens, Percussion
Friday, October 11, 2019
7:00 PM 9:00 PM
Elastic Arts (map)
Kyle Flens plays works for percussion by some of his favorite Chicago collaborators in this concert of solos and duos, in which the instruments onstage come alive in different ways. Fellow Dal Niente members Ben Melsky, Jesse Langen, and Katherine Schoepflin Jimoh guest star.

Northern Illinois University New Music Festival
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
8:00 PM 9:00 PM
Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the NIU Music Building (map)
Erin Gee’s award-winning Mouthpiece series uses non-traditional vocal sounds to construct intricate sonic landscapes. In Mouthpiece 32, written for Dal Niente in 2018, Gee approaches the sound-worlds of specific insects, animals, and plants, mapping insect and human sound-production techniques on to each other to create music that is at once strange, familiar, and new. This program features Mouthpiece 32 along with works by NIU student composers.

Dal Niente Presents: Andrew Nogal, Oboe
Saturday, January 18, 2020
7:00 PM 9:00 PM
Allen Recital Hall, Holtschneider Performance Center (map)
Oboist Andy Nogal takes a star turn with a program of duo music for oboe and piano that showcases the expressive and technical potential of the oboe as a tool for experimenting with sound and harmony. With pianist Daniel Pesca, who has been Nogal’s duo partner since 2010.

Composer Reading: Ensemble Dal Niente @ Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
Thursday, February 27, 2020
7:00 PM 8:30 PM
Clarice Performing Arts Center (map)
Dal Niente plays works by University of Maryland students in a composer reading that is open to the public.

Dal Niente & The Music of George Lewis
Friday, February 28, 2020
8:00 PM 10:00 PM
The Joseph & Alma Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (map)
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center presents Ensemble Dal Niente in a program anchored by two parallel works: Hexis and Mnemosis, which invite the audience to improvise their listening experience amidst a wild array of loops, squeals, moans, and delicate, crystalline textures. Apply your improvising ears to the strange murmurs of Erin Gee’s Segment of the Fourth Letter. Listen to one of Christian Wolff’s famous exercises, which have been characterized by Frederick Rzewski as “weird little tunes, sounding as if they had been beamed at some remote point in the universe and then bounced back again as a kind of intergalactic mutant music.” Individual instruments are highlighted in smaller duets, including the fragile multiphonics of Wang Lu’s harp and clarinet duet; Sandra Lemus-Hernández’s urgent duo for flute and clarinet, and Her Disappearance by Bethany Younge and Kayleigh Butcher, in which two voices are extended and transformed by PVC pipe.
George Lewis: Hexis (flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, cello, conductor)
Sandra Lemus-Hernández: II (flute, clarinet)
Erin Gee: Segment of the Fourth Letter (bass flute, clarinet, percussion, viola, cello)
Wang Lu: After Some Remarks by CW (clarinet, harp)
Christian Wolff: Exercise 18 (open instrumentation)
Bethany Younge/Kayleigh Butcher: Her Disappearance (two voices extended/transformed by PVC Pipe)
George Lewis: Mnemosis (flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, cello, conductor)

Leading International Composers: George Lewis
Sunday, March 1, 2020
4:00 PM 6:00 PM
The Phillips Collection (map)
Dal Niente performs the music of George Lewis, which the ensemble recorded to wide acclaim in 2017. The program will include Assemblage, which was written for the ensemble in 2013.

Dal Niente @ Northwestern University
Friday, March 13, 2020
7:30 PM 9:30 PM
Galvin Recital Hall, Bienen School of Music (map)
Dal Niente performs music for violin, clarinet, flute, cello, and harp by Northwestern University composers.

The Music of Roscoe Mitchell: Dal Niente w Ken Vandermark @ The Pillsbury Theatre
Thursday, March 26, 2020
7:00 PM 9:00 PM
Pillsbury Theatre (map)
Dal Niente, in large ensemble form, teams up with legendary saxophonist Ken Vandermark to perform brand-new music by Roscoe Mitchell, a fearless musical pioneer whose music has, over the last half-century, changed the very definition of what is possible. Dal Niente co-commissioned this work with the Birdhouse, an organization dedicated to honoring the legacy of Fred Andersen, whose Velvet Lounge was an anchor for new forms of music in Chicago for decades.

Ensemble Dal Niente: Humming Between Branches
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
8:00 PM 10:00 PM
Holtschneider Performance Center, Gannon Concert Hall (map)
Dal Niente performs music by leading Mexican and Argentinian composers, including Nur Slim’s Humming Between Branches for soprano with chamber orchestra, in which the singer’s voice dances between and among wildly varied instrumental textures, which shimmer, dive, and groan with kaliedascopic virtuosity.

Ensemble Distractfold, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble 20+
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
8:00 PM 10:00 PM
Holtschneider Performance Center, Gannon Concert Hall (map)
In 2019, Ensemble Dal Niente met up in Berlin with the Distractfold Ensemble, a brilliant UK-based new music group, to collaborate on some truly wild music. Now, Distractfold comes to Chicago, where they, along with Dal Niente and Ensemble 20+, will perform music for their blended ensembles, including George Lewis’s Connectome (2019), which was written for Dal Niente, Distractfold, and Ensemble Adapter and premiered in Berlin in 2019.

Dal Niente @ University of Washington
Friday, May 15, 2020
7:30 PM 9:30 PM
Meany Hall—Katharyn Alvord Gerlich Theater (map)
Ensemble Dal Niente performs a program of all new works by University of Washington faculty members Joel Durand, Huck Hodge, Juan Pampin, and Richard Karpin.

Scott R. Looney Interviewed and Profiled

Source: Berkeleyside.

Scott Looney traces his love affair with the piano back to his 1970s childhood in Hong Kong, where he vividly remembers watching the instrument his mother procured being carried up nine flights of stairs to his family’s apartment. But he really got into the instrument decades later in the mid-90s while briefly living in New York City. He experienced a pianistic epiphany witnessing a performance by Denman Maroney, an innovative improviser whose “hyperpiano” practice often involves playing inside the instrument, striking, strumming and even bowing the piano’s strings with various objects.

The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

Source: The Free Jazz Collective.

Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit – April Is The Cruellest Month (Blank Forms Editions, 2019) ****

Vergara/Longberg-Holm/Zarzutzki – Five arias for nalca (Inexhaustible Editions, 2019) ****

Fictive Five – Anything Is Possible (Clean Feed, 2019) ****

Recent Solo Piano Albums from Elsewhere

A Conversation with Mette Rasmussen

Andrew Munsey – High Tide (Birdwatcher, 2019) ****

Rudi Mahall Olaf Rupp Kasper Tom – s/t (Barefoot Records, 2019) ****

Seattle Scene: September 19-28, 2019

From Seattle’s Wayward Music Series:


Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center

4th Floor, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle 98103 (corner N 50th St. in Wallingford)

Every month, Nonsequitur and a community of like-minded presenters and artists offer ten concerts of adventurous music in an informal yet respectful all-ages setting: contemporary classical, free improvisation, the outer limits of jazz, electronic music, microtonal/new instruments, sound art, and other extraordinary sonic experiences.

Alforjs + Bad Luck
Thu. Sep. 19, 8 PM; $5 – $15 donation at door

Alforjs makes idiosyncratic music reflecting the cauldron of disparate influences that is Lisbon in the 21st century, from the most avant-garde jazz, to the darkest and most peripheral dance music, to noise, electronics and electroacoustics. Local duo Bad Luck (Neil Welch, saxophone + elec- tronics and Christopher Icasiano, drums) is a genre-defying supernova of electronics, metal, folk and jazz.

Cellista + Zero Collective + noisepoetnobody
Fri. Sep. 20, 8 PM; $5 – $15 donation at door

Bay Area post-classical artist Cellista performs excerpts from Transfigurations, a multimedia work steeped in genres, social commentary and fueled by the conscious imagery that surrounds us all. Zero Collective (LA) specializes in improvisation, noise and audio surrealism. Sonic improviser, instrument builder/destroyer, and analog synthesist noisepoetnobody also joins along with collaborator Cailleach.

John Teske: vectorscores
Sat. Sep. 21, 8 PM; $5 – $15 donation at door

Seattle composer John Teske presents a new suite of graphic and generated works for any ensemble. vectorscores uses web technologies to generate and render scores. The shape of each piece is composed, with some flexibility in the details, so the works as a whole are crafted but each performance is unique. The new suite explores some recurring thoughts, visions, and dreams from a dark and surreal time, expanding on the potential of the vectorscores project.

Wed. 9/25 – Bryan Eubanks/Greg Kelley duo + Catherine Lamb’s Prisma Interius IV (2017)

Thu. 9/26 – Nonsequitur presents Canções Profundas, a work by Steve Peters about family history in the Azores Islands with Greg Campbell, Jesse Canterbury, Lesli Dalaba, Amy Denio, and Christian Pincock

Fri. 9/27 – Different Drummer, with Don Dieterich (percussion), Anna Doak (bass), Brandon Vance (violin) and Gretchen Yanover (cello)

Sat. 9/28 – The Sound Ensemble performs works by Christopher Dietz, Jerry Mader, Jennifer Butler, Sang Mi Ahn, Bohuslav Martinu

Thurston Moore’s New Album with Long Songs

Source: PopMatters.

Spirit Counsel is not for the attention-span challenged, and none of its tracks will fit very easily into your workout mix. It requires most of an afternoon to get through in one go, and though all three pieces present the electric guitar in a varied, engrossing light, there are no words to build an imaginary narrative around. “I just felt like I wanted to do long-form compositions,” says Moore. “I wanted to focus on the music without having any verbiage.”