Jen Shyu Interviewed

Source: I Care If You Listen.

Jen Shyu is a multilingual vocalist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and dancer with a penchant for creating highly theatrical and immersive performances. On October 30, 2019, the premiere of her new work Zero Grasses will take place at National Sawdust as part of John Zorn’s Commissioning Series. Zero Grasses is based on the concept of our loss of ability to communicate with nature—the idea of a world with no grass, flowers, or animals; the barren land we face in climate crisis; and zero connection with other humans despite social media. On the flip side, zero also refers to current movements for zero waste and zero tolerance for harassment. Among her many accolades, Shyu is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2019 United States Artist Fellow. Shyu’s work often features a strong narrative component, lighting and set design, and original music performed on an array of instruments. I had the pleasure of seeing her perform another original work entitled Nine Doors at the 2018 Resonant Bodies Festival, and if Zero Grasses is anything like it, there’s a lot to look forward to from this master storyteller.

Jaimie Branch Interviewed About New Album

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

“The concept is music,” says avant-garde jazz trumpeter Jaimie Branch of Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise. “It’s not a concept album, like a Rush album or something.”

Yet conceptual trappings hang all over Branch’s second album with her Fly or Die quartet: cellist Lester St. Louis, bassist Jason Ajemian, and drummer Chad Taylor. The ragged, hypnotic opener “Birds of Paradise” is answered with the back-end title track. The main event (“Prayer for Amerikka”) is a two-part, 11-and-a-half-minute blues and political epic, which segues into another track (“Twenty-Three n Me, Jupiter Redux”) by way of an improvised passage from St. Louis.

“I try to write all my music like a suite,” acknowledges Branch in her distinct Chicago twang (she’s now based in Brooklyn). Even so, her newfound ambition on Fly or Die II is unquestionable.

George Crumb Profiled Ahead of University of Pennsylvania Performances

Source: WHYY.

George Crumb — one of America’s premiere avant-garde composers, whose 70 years’ worth of work has been described as “some of the most poetic and atmospheric music written in this century,” earning him Grammys and the Pulitzer Prize — is a modest guy.

He once built a large studio on the side of the house where he could compose in more comfort. But it wasn’t comfortable.

“It was too big,” he said. “There were big windows that looked out on the backyard. There were always squirrels and birds doing their tricks out there. I couldn’t concentrate.”

Crumb prefers to work in a tight space with a low ceiling and no windows. What he hears inside his head when he’s working in West Virginia.

Magma Interviewed By Musicians

Source: The Quietus.

Ahead of their appearance at Tusk Festival we canvassed members of Voivod, Hawkwind, Gong, The Utopia Strong, SunnO))), 808 State and more to see what they would ask Magma if they had the chance… And here are the results.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of French exploratory rock band Magma. While they haven’t been operational for the full half century (they were on hiatus between 1984 and 1996), it feels like their significance and popularity has regrown outside of their native France, since reforming, especially during the last decade. A ten year period of revitalisation which was arguably inaugurated in the UK by an absolutely blazing show at the Barbican, a decade ago today.

The faithful have always known how good they are, which is not to say that they’ve always been universally loved. I don’t think it is controversial to suggest that their style of radical mercurial progressive fusion won them more detractors than fans internationally. (Occasionally the sign of a good band, I’d say.) Their sound is impossible to describe succinctly but if you’re thinking of them in terms of boiler plate prog or fusion you’ve already steered off course.

Robin Rimbaud on Modular Synthesis


Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner, has been making sounds and playing with technology since he was 11 years old. Not being interested in the systematic pattern of recording, releasing product and touring to support that much of his activity has been outside of standard music routines, and more aligned with an art practice. over the years he designed permanent sound works in the Raymond Poincaré hospital in Garches, France as part of the bereavement suite (Channel of Flight), the Science Museum London and in Vex house, the London residential house in collaboration with Chance de Silva architects. He scored The Big Dance in Trafalgar Square for 1000 dancers and the re-opening of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in the company of Queen Beatrix, and in 2016 scored the world’s first ever Virtual Reality ballet, Nightfall, with Dutch National Ballet. Back in 2012 Scanner toured with « Live_Transmission: Joy Division Reworked », an audiovisual show with Heritage Orchestra, and in 2014 was Visiting Artist at MIT in Cambridge USA. More recently, he has written works for London Sinfonietta, BBC Concert Orchestra and other real world musicians! One of the most influential Electronic composer, releasing his first CD in 1992 and many other ever since…

Jessica Pavone Interview

Source: National Sawdust Log.

Jessica Pavone was in high spirits when she answered the phone last Wednesday. Her longtime friend and frequent collaborator, guitarist Mary Halvorson, had just been announced as a 2019 MacArthur Fellow. “I never felt so proud of someone,” said Pavone, an Astoria-based composer and multi-instrumentalist whose signature instrument is viola. “We were emailing each other yesterday, and she was like, ‘we gotta go out for sushi, it’s on me.” I called her and I asked, is that why you were saying sushi’s on you? ‘Yeah, sushi’s on me for five years!’ It was really cute.”

Pavone also has other reasons for cheer. This week sees the release of a new album, Brick and Mortar (Birdwatcher), from the J. Pavone String Ensemble, featuring Pavone and violist Joanna Mattrey, with violinists Erica Dicker and Angela Morris. The album’s five pieces explore the composer’s love for long tones and the use of vibrations as a kind of sonic tonic, as well as deploying a modest degree of indeterminacy—all conjured with her ensemble’s spellbinding chemistry. The project is celebrated in two separate concerts: Oct. 4 at Firehouse 12, in New Haven, where the group also will preview new music to be recorded in the studio, and Oct. 7 at Roulette in downtown Brooklyn, which also will feature the premiere of a new piece for octet.