Source: Riparian Media.
New Hermitage — Unearth (out September 17th)
The fifth album by Halifax / Montréal-based improvising quartet New Hermitage, Unearth, unfolds through a series of whispered vignettes, offering the ensemble’s most focussed and cohesive statement to date. It follows the quartet’s collaboration with bass clarinet virtuoso Jeff Reilly, which won them a Music Nova Scotia Award for Best Classical Recording. Drawing on the spontaneous music practice of leader Andrew MacKelvie’s mentor/ collaborator Jerry Granelli, Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening™, and a vocabulary of eco-dystopian imagery this new record follows a dream-like logic. Deploying the unique instrumentation of saxophones, cello, harp and electric guitar, they weave soft timbral impressions and tangled melodic evasions that sound like a half-erased chalk portrait of spiritual free jazz. Brian Olewnick recently said of it: “the over-riding impression is one of patience, spaciousness, a quiet searching out of intriguing patterns and timbral intersections. Soft, probing, loosely though richly melodic, quite a pleasure.”
junctQín — reTHINK (out October 23rd on Redshift Records)
Toronto’s junctQín keyboard collective—comprised of Stephanie Chua, Elaine Lau and Joseph Ferretti—commemorates a decade of intrepid exploration with their long-awaited debut album. Offering a spirited and diverse collection of multi-limbed pieces spanning Maurice Ravel’s 1918 curio Frontispice to works by contemporary music’s leading up-and-comers, reTHINK captures everything from phantom textures summoned from the piano’s inner sanctum to Casio-caressing postmodernism. It’s a buoyant and decidedly celebratory album that sits at the sweet spot between virtuosity and focussed listening, and whose whimsy always remains anchored in profound musical insight.
Luciane Cardassi — Going North (out October 30th on Redshift Records)
Award-winning pianist Luciane Cardassi’s Going North vividly unfolds a magic-realist homage to her two homelands with eight piano (+ voice) and electronics pieces from some of Canada and Brazil’s most intriguing composers. These carefully selected pieces collectively inhabit a world that is opaque yet ethereal, introspective but restlessly dynamic. Each one’s electroacoustic elements read as organic, psychedelic extensions of her performance rather than as contrived digital appendages—an impression helped by Cardassi’s enviable precision and exquisite command of the piano’s extended vocabulary.
PEP (Piano and Erhu Project) — Vol. 3 (Redshift Records)
Nicole Ge Li and Corey Hamm’s PEP (Piano and Erhu Project) is a virtuoso chamber duet and much more. Together, the pair have commissioned over 80 pieces, effectively initiating a new, adventurous intercultural canon of work for their unique instrumentation. The present disc features music composed for them by leading contemporary composers Michael Finnissy, Gao Ping, Lucas Oickle, and Stephen Chatman, as well as performances of existing works by Gabriel & Sergei Prokofiev, Somei Satoh, and Marc Mellits.
Jordan Nobles — Chiaroscuro (Redshift Records)
JUNO-winning Vancouver-area composer Jordan Nobles’ latest offers a panoramic and idiosyncratic take on post-minimal composition. Praised by the Vancouver Sun as “a truly great recording” Nobles’ music on this disc is curious in orientation and eminently listenable, blending the sensuousness of Harold Budd’s Pavilion of Dreams, Linda Catlin Smith’s brooding sonics, and the exploratory lyricism of composers such as Daniel Lentz and Michael Byron. The spellbinding titular work unfolds thick yet delicate large ensemble textures that variously waft and ooze throughout the aural field. Meanwhile, its more extrovert counterpart, Pulses, brings the sense of rhythmic articulation in and out of focus through orchestrational sleight of hand.