Newsbits: Oren Ambarchi / Moondog / Ben Frost / Braxton in Berlin

Oren Ambarchi’s new release, Simian Angel, is reviewed.

Dominique Ponty and Stefan Lakatos have recorded an album of Moondog’s music, including previously unpublished pieces.

Ben Frost has recorded the soundtrack to the second season of Dark, a Netflix series. The first two tracks are released as a preview.

Anthony Braxton’s Sonic Genome will headline the first night of the Berlin Jazz Festival. The remaining acts will be announced in the coming weeks.

Why Do We Ignore The 70s French Underground?

Source: The Quietus. Lots of good info on 70’s French fusion / progressive rock.

English-speaking music fans don’t clumsily refer to “underground and progressive German music of the 70s”, because we have a handy shorthand: Krautrock. No such luck if you’re looking to refer collectively to a body of work that is just as challenging and impressive overall: the French avant-garde/progressive underground of the same period.

Throughout the 70s, both French and German musicians made some astonishing music: progressive, avant-garde, often anti-capitalist and usually a fuck you to Anglo-American blues-rock. Though never massively popular in their own countries, a few bands made an impact, playing live in the UK and the USA: Can, Magma, Faust, Ange. Come the 80s, the French and German undergrounds largely dropped off the radar of music fans in the English-speaking world for the best part of two decades.

Then came Julian Cope’s Krautrocksampler and the Freeman Brothers’ Crack In The Cosmic Egg. A narrative emerged that helped us understand the context of this innovative music, later developed and fleshed out by the likes of David Stubbs and Rob Young. You’d never have to tell a tQ reader that Krautrock is the result of the children of Nazi-era parents wanting to create a music that was distinctly German, yet owed nothing to their musical tradition, nor to blues-rock. We recognise Can and Neu! as among the great originators, and have record collections bulging with Popol Vuh and Amon Düül II represses. But Heldon? Lard Free? Besombes-Rizet? Not so much. France is different.

Kris Davis Joins Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice 

Source: Berklee College of Music.

This fall, acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Kris Davis will join the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice as associate program director of creative development. She will assist in teaching composition and contemporary improvisation courses for the institute, and develop programs and events related to gender parity in jazz.

AMN Picks of the Week: Jessica Ackerley / Parias Ensemble / CARL / *Todas Las Anteriores

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.

Jessica Ackerley – A New Kind of Water (2019)
Parias Ensemble – St. Marks Sessions (2019)
CARL (Kamins / Smith / Durham) – Solid Bottom (2019)
*Todas Las Anteriores – Mis Ojos Arden en el Espacio Ciego (2019)

Who’s Fighting for Gender Equity in Classical Music? 

Source: 21CM.

If you play music and live in the world, you’re probably aware of classical music’s alarming lack of gender diversity, particularly in leadership roles. Marin Alsop of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra remains the only female music director of a major American orchestra, and major orchestras continue to exclude works by female composers in their season programs.

Data on the gender split among professional orchestra performers offers a more complex view of the situation. At first glance, the numbers are encouraging: In 2018, 48 percent of players in orchestras represented by the League of American Orchestras were women, a vast improvement from orchestras of the past. However, positions for brass, percussion and some wind instruments – not to mention principal positions – are disproportionately occupied by men.

But we can also look to those numbers for encouragement: They show us that gender parity can at least be improved. One reason for the increase of women in orchestras since the 1970s has been the implementation of blind auditions. Another? Increased social acceptance and visibility of women in roles from which they have been historically excluded.

AMN Picks of the Week: Catherine Sikora / øjeRum / Jessica Pavone / Bardoseneticcube & Shinkiro / Claire Rousay

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.

Catherine Sikora – Warrior (2019)
øjeRum – Without Blood The Sun Darkens (2019)
Jessica Pavone String Ensemble – Brick and Mortar (2019)
Bardoseneticcube & Shinkiro – Beyond the Edge of the Universe (2019)
Claire Rousay – a moment in st louis and a moment at the beach (2019)