New Focus Recordings Upcoming Releases

Source: New Focus Recordings.

Stephen Barber/Eric Huebner: Earth
Eclectic composer Stephen Barber releases this collection of character pieces that reflect his unique career straddling the worlds of popular music, film scoring, and contemporary classical composition. Barber’s collaborators over the years include Stevie Ray Vaughn, David Byrne, Natalie Merchant, Willie Nelson, Ornette Coleman, Gilberto Gil, and the London Symphony. These colorful works are performed by critically acclaimed pianist Eric Huebner.

Anthony Cheung: All Roads
Composer Anthony Cheung releases All Roads, a follow up to FCR215 Cycles and Arrows. Featuring performances by the Escher Quartet, violinist Miranda Cuckson, soprano Paulina Swierczek, and pianists Jacob Greenberg, Gilles Vonsattel, and Cheung himself, All Roads encapsulates Cheung’s penchant for drawing on broad sources of inspiration and filtering them through an incisive and discriminating compositional process to produce substantial, structurally airtight works.

loadbang: Quiver
loadbang releases their fourth album on New Focus, this time featuring centerpieces by Heather Stebbins and Chaya Czernowin as well as music by ensemble members Jeffrey Gavett and Andy Kozar. loadbang has amassed a voluminous repertoire for their unique instrumentation of baritone voice, trumpet, bass clarinet, and trombone.

AMN Reviews: Klaus Schulze – Deus Arrakis (2022; Bandcamp)

This posthumous release from legendary composer and synthesist Klaus Schulze (Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Cosmic Jokers) continues his exploration of Frank Herbert’s Dune that began over 40 years ago. It consists of three extended suites that are nothing less than classic Schulze – majestic synth chords with lighter and darker moments, patterns generated by sequencers, and a bit of acoustic instrumentation (cello and voice).

This album was motivated by a conversation Schulze had with Hans Zimmer, the soundtrack composer of the 2021 Dune movie. Zimmer asked for – and was granted – permission to use part of an earlier Schulze piece in the score. This drove Schulze to revisit the desert world of Arrakis.

Osiris begins with windswept synth waves and a gently galloping sequenced rhythm. By part 3, the chording has grown ominous while the sequencing is layered and more cosmic in tone. The piece ends with a lush and cinematic outro.

Seth is probably the weirdest and most interesting suite, though it varies a fair amount over the course of 31 minutes. It kicks off with abstract synth noises. After an interlude with a bouncy rhythm, Schulze turns up the otherworldly sounds again in part 4, this time featuring a cello solo from Wolfgang Tiepold over burbling and chirping synth. Over the following parts, the cello continues with more conventional accompaniment as well as ambient and airy passages.

Der Hauch des Lebens (The Breath of Life) includes subtle vocalizations from Eva Maria Kagermann and gentle synth chording that produces a haunting ambiance. Sequencers are largely absent until part 3. In part 4, the voices are more primitive and guttural, including chants and whispers that contrast with smooth and slow-moving synth tones. The track, and the album, ends with a softer palette of drones and sequences.

Deus Arrakis does an admirable job of evoking the mystery of a desert planet that exhibits an alien ecosystem under its surface, as well as the joys and sorrows of those who live upon it. As a sociopolitical novel masquerading as an adventure story, Dune is one of the richest and (inside joke) most prescient takes on power, charismatic leadership, and religion over the last few decades. Schulze hints at these themes in the album’s darker moments.

It remains to be seen whether there is archival Schulze material that will be released over the coming years. Be that as it may, Deus Arrakis is a fitting end to Schulze’s recorded output – one that represents some of the most iconic and compelling features of his works over the years.

New Releases From Cuneiform Records

Source: CUNEIFORM RECORDS.

COMING OUT AUGUST 12, 2022 IN DIGITAL FORMAT ON CUNEIFORM RECORDS
KEN FIELD & ALIENO deBOOTES – ALIEN FIELD
Saxophonist Ken Field and electronic musician Alieno deBootes (Alessandro Pizzin) collaborate across oceans to create a mesmerizing album of ambient, electronic, and minimalist jazz music

COMING OUT AUGUST 26, 2022 ON CUNEIFORM RECORDS
ROGER CLARK MILLER – EIGHT DREAM INTERPRETATIONS FOR SOLO ELECTRIC GUITAR ENSEMBLE
Mission of Burma guitarist & Anvil (Alloy) Orchestra member Roger Miller commands a powerful, one-man orchestra live/ in real time (see video) with an arsenal of electric guitars, pedals and loops
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RELEASED JULY 29, 2022 ON CUNEIFORM RECORDS
JANEL LEPPIN – ENSEMBLE VOLCANIC ASH
Washington DC based composer & cellist Janel Leppin bridges jazz and classical music with her Ensemble Volcanic Ash, which releases its debut album

RELEASED JUNE 24, 2022 ON CUNEIFORM RECORDS
BUBBLEMATH – TURF ASCENSION
Progrock ascends to lyrical perfection and compositional precision via Minneapolis’ band Bubblemath. A meme series announcing their release culminates with a video classic

COMING OUT SEPTEMBER 16, 2022 IN DIGITAL FORMAT ON CUNEIFORM RECORDS
FOURTH WORLD QUARTET – GRAND BLAND VAPID RAPIDS

COMING OUT SEPTEMBER 30, 2022 ON CUNEIFORM RECORDS
THUMBSCREW – MULTICOLORED MIDNIGHT

Whitney Biennial Audio Guide

Source: Whitney Biennial Audio(guide).

Qubit presents an audio(guide) companion to the 2022 Whitney Biennial, “Quiet as It’s Kept”. Available here is “Loud as It Plays”, a listening landscape of contemporary American music arranged around the themes and forces shaping our world over the past two years: breath, time, hope, test, and war. For a biennial survey of American art should also include a survey of its current sounds.

Artists include:

Anaïs Maviel
Weston Olencki + Laura Cocks
James Ilgenfritz + Lucie Vítková
Sally Decker
Lea Bertucci + Ben Vida
Zs
Eric Wubbels
Sarah Hennies

Upcoming Constellation Tatsu Releases

Source: Constellation Tatsu.

Inkarose – A Love Letter to Water
This release by Colombian-born, LA-based musician Alicia Ramírez (Inkarose) explores the curative properties of Water. With friends Carlos Niño, Rumi Inoue, Matt Little, and more, A Love Letter to Water immerses the listener in a rich organic soundscape.

Andy Aquarius – La Force Aquarienne
Harpist Andy Aquarius takes us on a journey from the forest to the sea with subtle instrumentation in a collection of intuitive prayers.

Tarotplane – Aeonium
Based on many years of research and correspondence with Manuel Göttsching, “Aeonium” channels the style and sound of Kosmische Musik. This psychedelic treasure captures moments from Krautrock favorites but moves into new realms and spaces unexplored in the genre.

How Frank Zappa Cooked Up A Classic With ‘Lumpy Gravy’

Source: Yahoo.

Living up to its title, Lumpy Gravy’s recording process was initially fraught. Having composed the entire thing himself, Zappa enlisted the assistance of a bunch of classically trained musicians he dubbed the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra, but didn’t perform on the album himself – other than to conduct from his rostrum.