Interviews Reviews

Bluefat January Issue

From Bluefat:

Matthew Shipp: A Crack in the Jazz Egg
Well yeah, go ahead and call Matthew Shipp a jazz pianist, because that in a way is precisely what he is. But, good god, he strides far outside whatever done-to-death images that expression is going to conjur, and clearly, clearly it’s time to do a little probing on that score. The NYC-based musician, who’s also worked in several decidedly non-trad jazz collaborative contexts (David S. Ware, El-P, DJ Spooky, the Maneri Ensemble, Spring Heel Jack, Roscoe Mitchell‘s Note Factory, the William Parker Quartet, among numerous varied others), now comes with the latest in a lengthy series of tightrope walks high above craggy chasms… (Read more)

Like a Rainbow in Curved Air: Terry Riley
Along with his former Berkeley classmate La Monte Young, Terry Riley is the big daddy of the school of composing formerly known as Minimalist, and best known for groundbreaking works such as In C (1968), A Rainbow in Curved Air (1969), Persian Surgery Dervishes (1971) and Cadenza on the Night Plain (2006). Riley’s curious path has led him from the outer reaches of modern jazz to Euro serialism/musique concrète/electronics, and has found him drawing deeply as well on “West Coast” ideas of indeterminacy via John Cage and the alternative-tonality worlds of Harry Partch and Lou Harrison. (Read more)

New Moods for Moderns
A conversation with David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet Kronos Quartet founder David Harrington is a native of Portland, Oregon, who grew up in Seattle and founded his ensemble there in 1973. For him, that time and place were crucial in setting the open-eared course of his globe-trotting Kronos, who have carved a unique niche for themselves as the most broad-minded and modernist string quartet in the entire world; their thrillingly eclectic endeavors have found them interpreting works by a vast and disparate range of composers and musicians including Anton Webern, Taraf de Haidouks, Tom Waits, Café Tacuba, John Zorn, Osvaldo Golijov, Harry Partch, Terry Riley and Henryk Gorecki. (Read more)

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For Gyan Riley, labels don’t apply

From the San Francisco Examiner:

The son of composer Terry Riley — whose seminal minimalist composition of 1964, “In C,” influenced the course of both classical and rock music — Gyan grew up in a household filled with a wide variety of sounds.

Surrounded by his father’s Indian music, contemporary classical music, ragtime, blues and jazz, Gyan — who plays solo Tuesday and with his band at Yoshi’s next week — initially moved in a classical direction, studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As a result, when he later formed a jazz trio to play many of his own compositions, Gyan’s cohorts found themselves facing not your typical jazz charts but far more complex, written-out music that reflects a grounding in complex Western classical forms.

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Expo 70 at Metropolis Underground October 20

From Syracuse’s Metropolis Underground:

Expo ‘70 is the main driving improvisational essence of Justin Wright. Having started the project in Los Angeles in 2003, Wright has pushed his project to new levels, releasing a number of albums as cdr’s and 2 full-length albums. Expo ’70’s first album “Animism”, which debuted in 2007 on Kill Shaman, is an eclectic mix of krautrock, ambient drone, space exploration and minimal compositions. Comparisons range from Brian Eno, Ash Ra Tempel, A.R. & Machines, SunnO))) and Earth, but not directly sounding like any of those artists in their entirety.

Wright’s recent release “Black Ohms” on Beta-lactam Ring Records brings new life to the term drone. A world of sounds that catches the listeners subconscious and drifts them to alien lands and foreign terrain while maintaining a dreamlike quality with shifting melodies and moods. Mostly comprised of single guitar improvisations, Wright manifests rich textures and brooding low end passages full of energy that tend to sound like long synth compositions akin to early Tangerine Dream and early minimalist composers like Terry Riley.

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Terry Riley – More Than Just Minimalism at Le Poisson Rouge


More than 45 years have passed since Terry Riley composed “In C,” a watershed work that heralded the breakthrough of Minimalism. The piece is in no danger of losing its freshness; the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, a mostly undergraduate group based in Michigan, will release a new recording of “In C” in November, along with a second CD containing 18 imaginative remixes. The Michigan players will celebrate their new album with a concert at Le Poisson Rouge on Nov. 8.

But when Mr. Riley appeared at that club on Sunday night, “In C” was the furthest thing from the agenda. What became clear during the performance — which also featured Mr. Riley’s son, the guitarist and composer Gyan Riley; Tracy Silverman, an electric-violinist; and Ches Smith, a percussionist — was just how poorly the Minimalist label suits Mr. Riley now.

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Chance Aesthetics Concert in St. Louis

Next week features an avant concert in St. Louis:

The performance will begin with Music of Changes Book IV: New York, December 13, a piece for solo piano by experimental composer John Cage (1912 -1992). Written in 1951, Music of Changes was Cage’s second fully indeterminate work, with compositional decisions made in consultation with the I Ching, the classic Chinese text. Performer will be Peter Henderson, assistant professor of music at Maryville University.

Next on the program will be The Oracle, a new improvisatory work based on a mobile hanging from the ceiling of the E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall. Performers will be guitarist William Lenihan, director of jazz performance; percussionist Henry Claude, teacher of applied music; and cellist Tracy Andreotti. In addition, the performance will feature three dancers: Mary-Jean Cowell, associate professor and coordinator of the Dance Program; David Marchant, senior lecturer in dance; and post-doctoral fellow Ting Ting Chang.

Following intermission, the program will conclude with In C, a classic 1964 work by Terry Riley (b. 1935). Often credited with launching the minimalist movement, In C consists of 53 short, simple musical phrases — lasting from one-half to 32 beats — each of which can be repeated an arbitrary number of times by any combination of musicians.

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Classical Music in New York

The New Yorker previews some upcoming shows:


Under the leadership of the violinist Mark Peskanov, the floating chamber-music series has gone in for new music in a big way. The brash young Fireworks Ensemble (featuring the guitarist Oren Fader and the flutist Elizabeth Janzen) takes the stage for four concerts, with Peskanov and the composer-pianist David Del Tredici as guests. Sept. 2 and Sept. 4 at 8: Del Tredici performs the world première of “Mandango Suite,” in a program that features new and recent pieces by such composers as David Shohl, Elizabeth Adams, Charles Wuorinen (Sept. 2 only), and Frederic Rzewski (“Les Moutons de Panurge,” which closes each of the four concerts). | Sept. 5 at 8 and Sept. 6 at 3: Largely the same program, with the addition of the world première of another Bargemusic commission, Russell Platt’s Duo for Violin and Cello (with Colin and Eric Jacobsen of Brooklyn Rider). (Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn. 718-624-2083. For program details, see


Sept. 8 at 7:30: Christopher O’Riley’s NPR program “From the Top” has given valuable exposure to many outstanding young classical musicians. One of them, the violinist Caroline Goulding, is about to go pro, with a self-titled album on the Telarc label. Her New York recital début (with O’Riley at the piano) features works by Gershwin, Kreisler, and Corigliano, the first of two Tuesday concerts at the cutting-edge downtown performance space; two more “From the Top” stars, the pianist Ji-Yong and the composer-pianist Stephen Feigenbaum, are her guests. | Sept. 8 at 9:30: The Amsterdam Cello Octet—the only full-time combo of its kind—makes its New York début, offering a diverting mix of U.S. and European minimalist and avant-garde music—most of it new to New York—by Arvo Pärt, Terry Riley, Krzyztof Penderecki, Olga Hans, and Cristóbal Halffter. (158 Bleecker St.

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Conversation with Brian Eno and Jon Hassell in Minneapolis

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis will host Eno and Hassell next month.

Legendary musician/composer/producer Brian Eno (Roxy Music, Talking Heads, U2, David Bowie, Devo) and renowned trumpeter/composer Jon Hassell (La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Peter Gabriel) continue a 30-year free-ranging dialogue—“making the world safe for pleasure/control and surrender/kinds of abstraction sickness/transcendence and intoxication: what sex, art, religion, music, and drugs have in common”—a discourse and collaboration, a lively conversation between two friends, between two brilliant minds.

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Musique Machine Reviews

From Musique Machine:

Toby Dammit – L’Uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo
L’Uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo is the new slice of effective face pounding and brain slapping power electronics outpouring from imposing tattooed covered Italian Toby Dammit( aka Emanuele Gorreri)

Churner – Spirit Defector
Built via microphones, processors, turntables and voices Spirit Defector is all about building a hope sucking, sludgy and dense noise drone/violent ambient crossbreed; which pulls you down in a very grimly satisfying and often suffocating manner.

Blues Control – Local Flavor
Blues Control are on to to something here; this their third album, following two diverse albums, Puff and a self titled album, both released in 2007. The aforementioned LP’s consisted of some of the most interesting music of the year of their release, wrenching maximum effect from seemingly minimal means. The band consists of Lea Cho and Russ Waterhouse, switching off on fuzzed out guitar, ancient keyboards and tape loops. The percussion is provided not by a drum machine, but sourced from a Walkman. The previous albums were sometimes rough around the edges, as in the opening track of Blues Control, which is so overblown as to barely be contained. During the more docile moments, the music contained on those first two records possesses a ragged roughness which reminds of late sixties drone/experimental practitioners, particularly Terry Riley.

Tarab – Take All The Ships From The Harbour,And The Take T
07’s Wind keeps even Dust Away; the last album by Tarab(Australian sound artist Eamon Sprod) still stands as one my favourite manipulated field recording records of all-time; with it’s highly captivating,atmospheric & skilful manipulation of wind and other haunted sounds. So when I heard about this new album I was understandble very excited.

Pixel – The Drive
The Drive takes the distinctive and key Raster-Noton clinical and static lined electro beat back bone, and adds it to moody and often cinematic guitar amplifier atmospric dwells and drones- all taking the labels distinctive sound in a new direction.

Textile Orchestra – For the Boss
For the Boss is a wonderful eye bulging,deranged and manic muilt-coloured sonic out pouring in two lengthy parts. Taking in elements of: crazed cartoon like improv, total twisted turntablism, musical elements snatched and abused from all manner of places, and general unhinged sonic tomfoolery.

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Performances Releases

Reminder: Los Angeles New Music Ensemble Presents Time, Minimalism, and Electronics This Week

From the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble:

Los Angeles New Music Ensemble-Time, Minimalism, and Electronics

Friday, August 7, 8pm
Santa Monica Art Studios
3026 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica CA
$5 students, $10 adult
Phone: 505 270 4965

Program info:
This summer the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble is proud to present a summer series based on time, minimalism, and electronics. The program is centered around Terry Riley’s masterpiece of the minimalist movement, In C. In C has been lauded throughout the world as a seminal work in the history of contemporary music. Yet more importantly, the truly transcendent nature of the piece when heard live is something that we believe should be experienced by everyone. When played with skill, precision, and passion, Terry Riley’s visionary set of 53 musical cues becomes a transformative performance, and it is these attributes that we intend to bring to Southern California this summer.

We are also pleased to present two pieces especially commissioned for this series by Patrick Conlon and Dan Formidoni, and two older works by Evan Ziporyn and Dr. Marvin Lamb.

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Vox Arcana Play Chicago

From the Chicago Reader:

Vox Arcana’s compositions look to three distinct sources of inspiration: the New York School composers (Earle Brown, Morton Feldman, John Cage), early minimalists LaMonte Young and Terry Riley, and key AACM figures Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, and Leroy Jenkins. On the trio’s self-titled debut the pieces create a productive tension between written sections and wide-open improvisation: rigorously structured, highly kinetic parts dissolve into spontaneous eruptions where lines and textures collide in exhilarating bursts. Lonberg-Holm’s bowing alternates between viscous and delicate, and he sometimes adds heavy electronic effects to his output. Daisy, in other settings a ferociously driving drummer, focuses on color and clatter here; on some pieces he even adds marimba. Falzone is the one player who keeps it simple, his buoyant tone dancing amid the chaos or leaping into his instrument’s upper register for a paint-peeling squeal.

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