Archie Shepp at 85

Source: WBGO.

Archie Shepp — the fearless saxophonist, composer, playwright and poet, a 2016 NEA Jazz Master — was born on May 24, 1937. As he turns 85, we honor his recorded legacy with a far-from-comprehensive tour through his discography, spanning almost 60 years.

A Stroll Through the Matmos Catalog 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

The music of Matmos is often tied to specific objects. The duo of Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt have built albums from the sounds of hospital operating rooms and the gurgling washing machine in their basement, and have collaborated with everyone from Terry Riley and Björk to an enthusiastic group of garden snails. Yet no matter what sounds these partners in life, love, and avant-garde head-fuckery choose to grind up, Matmos albums are defined by their deft musical technique, always amounting to more than the sum of their endlessly surprising parts. Yes, Daniel and Schmidt are masters of the sonic slice-up, but they always bring to their source material something personal. Artistic passions, histories, friendships, fears, and moments of incredible chance—listen close, and you can hear so much more in Matmos’s work than simply the things you can see or touch.

King Crimson Album Recommendations

Source: Louder.

Forget a linear career; there’s nothing stable or logical about the way King Crimson have conducted themselves since forming in 1968. This most exhaustive and exhausting of prog bands have had nearly two dozen full-time members across five decades.

Their mid-70s drummer Bill Bruford once called Crimson “a terrifying place”, and that’s perhaps the best description of the band started by guitarist Robert Fripp and drummer Michael Giles, when their previous band Giles, Giles And Fripp ceased to be of interest to them.

The pair abandoned that trio’s whimsical pop in the pursuit of more headstrong and head-fuck music, and brought in multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, bassist/vocalist Greg Lake and lyricist Pete Sinfield. Since then Fripp has remained the sole constant.

Henry Threadgill’s Modern World

Source: Red Hook Star-Revue.

Threadgill is one of the many exceptional musicians who came up during the founding era of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM)—not as a member but as an associate of AACM figures like Muhal Richard Abrams and Fred Hopkins. The AACM was essentially a Mt. Olympus of jazz, from which descended some of the most important figures in jazz of the last 60 years.

Reintroducing Ángel Rada, Venezuela’s Pre-Eminent Experimentalist 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Maybe you were up into the wee hours in college, cramming for an exam, when that Eureka! moment happened: one subject of study bled into another, and suddenly a profound new insight into the world was gleaned. A line from Shakespeare suddenly cast light on an interpersonal issue, or something from Plato suddenly opened up a more profound understanding of civics. Such was the case for Venezualan electronic composer Ángel Rada when he found himself at university in Germany in the early 1970s. He dove deep into the relatively new field of electroacoustic music while also doubling in Chemical Engineering, ultimately earning his doctorate in both. Rada had access to Moog synthesizers and began pushing his explorations further and further out. Still, the discussions he had in the engineering department led to his most significant breakthrough.

Pierre Boulez Profiled, New Release Reviewed

Source: burning ambulance.

My latest acquisition is Composer, Conductor, Enigma, a 4CD set from Cherry Red that gathers many early works by Pierre Boulez, including Sonatine for Flute and Piano, Polyphonie X for Ensemble, Le Marteau sans Maître, and Pli Selon Pli. But the third and fourth discs also contain recordings of Boulez conducting pieces by Anton Webern, Arnold Schoenberg, Varèse, Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Nono, and Berio.

Sasha Frere-Jones on the art of Éliane Radigue 

Source: Artforum International.

Now, at ninety, rather than building pieces by herself with electronic equipment, Radigue is creating new work in close collaboration with musicians. If you are new to Radigue, it is prudent to forget about compositions and direct your attention to the time you are feeling rather than the music you expect to hear. Sit with her recordings and you will sense her presence beside you, listening for the soft collision of waves and the dance of partials.