Thursday, May 13, 2021

Brian Donohoe - Soundtracks For Trying Times (2021)

This album, which was written and recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, started as kind of an accident. I was initially trying to make an album of ambient electronic music, drawing inspiration from artists like Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, and soundtrack composer Adam Lastiwka, but it turns out I’m not patient enough to make an album like that. The music morphed into the record that I had been trying to make for over a dozen years, since I first started learning how to record and produce my own tracks: it’s my collision of Wayne Shorter, the Postal Service, the Legend of Zelda, and every cartoon soundtrack of the 1980s that burned its way into my childhood brain.

The pandemic caused significant financial hardship for everyone who makes a living in the performing arts. But the isolation, the inability to play or hang with creative friends, quickly became even more painful. As my attempt at an ambient electronic album transformed into a stack of complex electro-jazz-funk-rock tunes (as, you know, happens) it dawned on me – largely thanks to the advice of my brilliant wife – that this was an opportunity to involve my friends in the process. We were forced onto new avenues of remote collaboration that led to something better than anything I could have planned.

Seven of these eleven tracks feature musicians I love and respect a great deal. We were able to collaborate thanks to the technological advances in music and communications over the last two decades: having been stripped of our ability to make money performing live, we’ve learned how to be our own recording engineers and send each other bulky high-resolution audio files. Every musician who contributed to this album is also credited as a composer and engineer.

The past year has been the most challenging in living memory for most people in the developed world. Working on this album, using it as a chance to collaborate with some of the best people I know, made it significantly better for me. I hope it can be a useful soundtrack for some trying times in your life, like it’s been for mine. 
1. Good Evening Thank You 02:24
2. Ninety-Nine 05:27
3. Temple In The Trees (feat. Carter Arrington) 05:56
4. More Salt (feat. Darius Christian) 05:04
5. Slacker Sauce (feat. Chris McQueen) 04:28
6. Disaster Area (feat. Brandon Scott Coleman) 04:36
7. Princess Grumpy 05:07
8. Maze (feat. Nick Clark) 04:52
9. The Icy Aftermath 03:20
10. Bright (feat. Akira Ishiguro) 05:32
11. Time To Rebuild (feat. Matt Muehling) 04:54

Brian Donohoe: alto and tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet, keyboards, synthesizers, electric bass, electric guitar, acoustic and electronic percussion, composer, producer, recording engineer

Carter Arrington: electric guitar, composer, and recording engineer on “Temple In The Trees”
Darius Christian: voice, trombone, composer, and recording engineer on “More Salt”
Chris McQueen: electric guitar, composer, and recording engineer on “Slacker Sauce”
Brandon Scott Coleman: electric guitar, composer, and recording engineer on “Disaster Area”
Nick Clark: electric bass, Moog synthesizer, composer, and recording engineer on “Maze”
Akira Ishiguro: electric guitar, composer, and recording engineer on “Bright”
Matt Muehling: electric guitar, composer, and recording engineer on “Time To Rebuild”

Jared Stone: visual artwork and layout design
Recorded between March 2020 and February 2021 in Austin TX, Brooklyn NY, Cincinnati OH, and London England
Mixed and mastered by Brian Donohoe at Tied At 54 Studios in Austin, Texas

NEC’s Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients

New England Conservatory Announces 2021 Speaker 
and Honorary Degree Recipients for its 150th
Commencement Ceremony
Commencement Speaker
Mavis Staples, gospel and soul singer

Receiving Honorary Degrees:
Carl J. Atkins, Founding Chair of NEC’s Jazz Studies Department
Emanuel Ax, pianist
Deborah Borda, President and CEO of the New York Philharmonic 
Wu Man, pipa virtuoso
Mavis Staples, gospel and soul singer

150th Annual Commencement Exercises to be held on May 23, 2021 and streamed on NEC’s website

Streamed Pre-Commencement Concert Will Showcase Graduating NEC Students from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 on May 22, 2021

New England Conservatory announces gospel and soul singer Mavis Staples as its 150th annual commencement speaker at its commencement exercises on Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. ET. The ceremonies will take place in historic Jordan Hall and be streamed on NEC’s website ( NEC will also bestow honorary Doctor of Music (hon. D.M.) degrees on five distinguished musicians: Carl J. Atkins, Founding Chair of NEC’s Jazz Studies Department; Emanuel Ax, classical pianist; Deborah Borda, President and CEO of the New York Philharmonic; Wu Man, pipa virtuoso; and Mavis Staples.  
Ms. Staples will give her virtual commencement address to the combined graduating classes of 2020 and 2021.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate NEC’s Classes of 2020 and 2021 at our 150th commencement ceremony,” says NEC President Andrea Kalyn. “The past year has tested us all, and I am especially proud of our NEC graduates, who have prevailed in developing and sharing their artistry—whether streaming a concert from their home or from Jordan Hall, performing private virtual concerts for COVID patients, or teaching online lessons to front-line workers. They advance humanity through their music, and I am excited to see the impact they will have on the broader world.” 
This year’s recipients are honored for their lifelong commitment to the performing arts and their remarkable contributions to the field. Recent past recipients include: Jessye Norman (2019); Herbie Hancock (2018); André Previn (2017); Leonard Slatkin, (2016); Ahmad Jamal (2015); Carla Bley (2014); Philip Gossett (2013); George Shirley (2012); Steve Reich (2011); and Quincy Jones (2010). Full list of past Honorary Doctor of Music Degree recipients here. 
190 graduating students from the classes of 2020 and 2021 will be awarded degrees and diplomas including the Bachelor of Music, Graduate Diploma, Master of Music, Doctor of Musical Arts, and Artist Diploma.
A pre-Commencement streamed concert will showcase NEC students from the graduating classes on May 22, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Further details will be announced on the NEC website in advance of the performance.

Honoree Biographies
Carl J. Atkins, Founding Chair of NEC’s Jazz Studies Department

In a career that spans more than 50 years, Carl Atkins has been a woodwind specialist, conductor, composer, ethnomusicologist, administrator, consultant, and teacher, in both “Jazz” and Western European music. A native of Birmingham, AL, Atkins received a Bachelor of Music in woodwinds from the Indiana University School of Music, a Master of Music in conducting from New England Conservatory, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. His major teachers were Eugene Rousseau, Joseph Allard, and Harry Houdeschel in woodwinds; Frank Battisti, Gunther Schuller, Donald Hunsberger, and David Effron in conducting; Robert Cogan, Gunther Schuller, George Russell, David Baker, and Samuel Adler in composition; and master drummer/dancer Kwaku K. Obeng in West African music. 

Atkins has performed on saxophone, clarinet, and flute, and as a conductor, with many noted musicians and organizations including Gunther Schuller, George Russell, pianist Bill Evans, Jaki Byard, William Thomas McKinley, and Herbie Hancock; the American National Opera Co., the Boston Opera Co., Boston Musica Nova, the Columbus (Ohio) Pro Musica, the Swedish Radio Jazz Orchestra, and Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.  

As a composer, Atkins has written music for solo artists, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, and documentary films. His research into West African and African American music and culture was the basis for the script of the award-winning documentary, “Didn’t We Ramble On: Tracing Processionals and Marching With Music in the African Diaspora.” He has recently completed the musical score for a documentary on the August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Atkins was the Founding Chair of the Afro-American Studies and Jazz Department at New England Conservatory, where he also taught woodwinds, African American Music History, and conducted jazz and wind ensembles. He has served as President & Executive Director of the David Hochstein School of Music and Dance (Rochester, NY), President of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Co-Director (with noted Jazz bassist Ron Carter) of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at NEC, Associate Dean for Advanced Studies at NEC, and taught courses in Music History. From 2002 to 2018, Atkins was Professor of Music at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, where he served as Chair of the Department of Performing and Visual Arts from 2012 to 2018. He retired as Professor Emeritus in 2018. 
Emanuel Ax, pianist

Born in modern day Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. Mr. Ax made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and in 1974 won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize.
Highlights of the 2019/20 season included a European summer festivals tour with the Vienna Philharmonic and long-time collaborative partner Bernard Haitink, an Asian tour with the London Symphony and Sir Simon Rattle and three concerts with regular partners Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall in March 2020.
Additional recitals and orchestral appearances last spring were postponed due to Covid-19 and like many artists around the world, Mr. Ax responded to these unprecedented circumstances creatively. He hosted “The Legacy of Great Pianists,” part of the online Live with Carnegie Hall highlighting legendary pianists who have performed at Carnegie Hall. Last September, he joined cellist Yo-Yo Ma in a series of surprise pop-up concerts for essential workers in multiple venues throughout the Berkshires community.
Mr. Ax has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, his most recent being Brahms Trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Leonidas Kavakos. He has received GRAMMY® Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. In the 2004/05 season Mr. Ax contributed to an International EMMY® Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, Mr. Ax’s recording Variations received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year (19th Century Music/Piano).
Mr. Ax is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Skidmore College, Yale University, and Columbia University.
Deborah Borda, President and CEO of the New York Philharmonic

Deborah Borda has redefined what an orchestra can be in the 21st century through her creative leadership, commitment to innovation, and progressive vision. She became Linda and Mitch Hart President and CEO of the New York Philharmonic in 2017, returning to the Orchestra’s leadership after serving in that role in the 1990s. Upon her return, the Orchestra established a new vision that included the introduction of two contemporary music series and Project 19, the largest-ever women composers’ commissioning initiative, to celebrate the centennial of American women’s suffrage. Ms. Borda has held top posts at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She currently also serves as Chair of the Avery Fisher Artist Program.
The first arts executive to join Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership as a Hauser Leader-in-Residence, she now serves on Oxford University’s Humanities Cultural Programme Advisory Council. Recipient of honorary doctorates from the Curtis Institute of Music and Manhattan School of music, her recent accolades include election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2018), being named a Woman of Influence by the New York Business Journal (2019), and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Women in Classical Music Symposium (2020). 
Wu Man, pipa virtuoso

Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso, Wu Man is a soloist, educator, and composer who gives her lute-like instrument—which has a history of more than 2,000 years in China—a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. She has premiered hundreds of new works for the pipa, while spearheading multimedia projects to both preserve and create global awareness of China’s ancient musical traditions. Projects she has initiated have resulted in the pipa finding a place in new solo and quartet works, concertos, opera, chamber, electronic, and jazz music as well as in theater productions, film, dance, and collaborations with visual artists. She has performed in recital and with major orchestras around the world, is a frequent collaborator with ensembles such as the Kronos and Shanghai Quartets and The Knights, and is a founding member of the Silkroad Ensemble. She has appeared in more than 40 recordings throughout her career, including the Silkroad Ensemble’s Grammy Award-winning recording Sing Me Home, featuring her composition “Green (Vincent’s Tune).” She is also a featured artist in the 2015 documentary The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. 
Born in Hangzhou, China, Wu Man studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she became the first recipient of a master's degree in pipa. At age 13, she was hailed as a prodigy and became a nationally recognized role model for young pipa players. She subsequently received first prize in the First National Music Performance Competition, among other awards, and participated in premieres of works by Chinese composers. She moved to the U.S. in 1990 and was awarded the Bunting Fellowship at Harvard University in 1998. She was the first Chinese traditional musician to receive the United States Artist Fellowship (2008) and the first artist from China to perform at the White House. In 2013, she was named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year. She is a Visiting Professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and a Distinguished Professor at the Zhejiang and the Xi'an Conservatories.
Mavis Staples, gospel and soul singer

“I’m the messenger,” Mavis Staples says. “That’s my job—it has been for my whole life—and I can’t just give up while the struggle’s still alive. We’ve got more work to do, so I’m going to keep on getting stronger and keep on delivering my message every single day.”
Hailed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” Staples is the kind of once-in-a-generation artist whose impact on music and culture would be difficult to overstate. She’s both a Blues and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer; a civil rights icon; a GRAMMY Award-winner; a chart-topping soul/gospel/R&B pioneer; a National Arts Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient; and a Kennedy Center honoree. She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., performed at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, and sang in Barack Obama’s White House.

She’s collaborated with everyone from Prince and Bob Dylan to Arcade Fire and Hozier, blown away countless festivalgoers from Newport Folk and Glastonbury to Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, performed with The Band at The Last Waltz, and graced the airwaves on Fallon, Colbert, Ellen, Austin City Limits, Jools Holland, the GRAMMYs, and more. At a time when most artists begin to wind down, Staples ramped things up, releasing a trio of critically acclaimed albums in her 70’s with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy that prompted Pitchfork to rave that “her voice has only gained texture and power over the years” and People to proclaim that she “provides the comfort of a higher power.” Staples’ most recent album We Get By, written and produced by Ben Harper, is a clarion call to love, to faith, to justice, to brotherhood, to joy and is a timeless appeal to the better angels of our nature.

HARVARD BOOK STORE PRESENTS A Virtual Event: David Sulzer Music, Math, and Mind: The Physics and Neuroscience of Music

A Virtual Event:
David Sulzer Music, Math, and Mind: The Physics and Neuroscience of Music

May 14, 2021
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.

Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
About Music, Math, and Mind
Why does a clarinet play at lower pitches than a flute? What does it mean for sounds to be in or out of tune? How are emotions carried by music? Do other animals perceive sound like we do? How might a musician use math to come up with new ideas?

This book offers a lively exploration of the mathematics, physics, and neuroscience that underlie music in a way that readers without scientific background can follow. David Sulzer, also known in the musical world as Dave Soldier, explains why the perception of music encompasses the physics of sound, the functions of the ear and deep-brain auditory pathways, and the physiology of emotion. He delves into topics such as the math by which musical scales, rhythms, tuning, and harmonies are derived, from the days of Pythagoras to technological manipulation of sound waves. Sulzer ranges from styles from around the world to canonical composers to hip-hop, the history of experimental music, and animal sound by songbirds, cetaceans, bats, and insects. He makes accessible a vast range of material, helping readers discover the universal principles behind the music they find meaningful.

Written for musicians and music lovers with any level of science and math proficiency, including none, Music, Math, and Mind demystifies how music works while testifying to its beauty and wonder.

Praise for Music, Math, and Mind
"If you ever suspected that musicians belonged to a secret society, this is the book that blows the mysteries wide open. Using a potent cocktail of math, physics, history, biology, and neurology, Dave Sulzer explains why music is the medicine most of us can’t live without. This is a book written for the initiate and the noninitiate about the universal way sound and music connect us, both human and nonhuman." —Peter Gabriel, singer-songwriter, musician, and activist

"Dave Soldier’s excellent book turns into an encyclopedia of our tonal imagination as it catalogues the nefarious passion that gives our creativity its edge." —John Cale, songwriter, composer, performer

"If you think you love music as much as you possibly could, think again. Music, which is so hard to define, and which connects to everything, has yet to reveal every level of its joy to you. This book will help you experience music as an animal, a neural pathway, or a mathematical principle." —Jaron Lanier, writer, computer scientist, and musician

Chris Schlarb & Chad Taylor - Time No Changes (May 2021 Astral Spirits)

It can be tempting to describe the interplay of certain musicians as “telepathic.” But that might be an unnecessarily supernatural term. The best musicians don’t read minds, after all. They do something far simpler, something much more down to earth. They listen. They absorb. And then they respond. Music – especially improvised music – is an exchange between the players, a give-and-take. It’s a gradually unfolding conversation that, at its best, reveals a hidden layer. Or maybe a whole hidden universe.

The record you now hold in your hands is one of those conversations. On Time No Changes, Chris Schlarb and Chad Taylor invite the listener to eavesdrop on a musical dialogue that blossoms over the course of 40 enveloping minutes. The album was recorded in a single session at BIG EGO in Long Beach, California, where Schlarb has been dreaming up various parallel dimensions for the past decade or so, either with his always evolving Psychic Temple collective or with an ever-expanding cast of characters drawn from various SoCal scenes.

Taylor, of course, is best known for his work with Rob Mazurek in the Chicago Underground Duo — though that long-running project is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to his ongoing explorations. Taylor and Mazurek recently contributed to Psychic Temple’s sprawling Houses of the Holy double LP, backing Schlarb on a side of gorgeous orchestral jazz.

With Schlarb on 6- and 12-string acoustic guitars (plus subtle keyboard accents) and Taylor on drums (plus mbira interludes), the most obvious touchstones for Time No Changes are Sandy Bull and Billy Higgins’ collaborations, which fearlessly crossed currents and blew minds back in the 1960s. With sharp simplicity, Bull called those long improvisations Blends; they blended not only a variety of musical concepts (raga, folk, jazz, etc.), but also two keen musical imaginations. Bull and Higgins were certainly listening to one another, sending and receiving transmissions from moment to moment.

A somewhat under-appreciated aspect of those Bull/Higgins Blends is their unabashed looseness. They’re far from perfectly rendered; the thread is sometimes lost entirely. For Schlarb, that was an inspiration in the making of Time No Changes. “Listening back, there were a few moments here and there when I felt a little self-conscious,” he remembers. “Like, ‘Oh man… I fall out of time!’ Or ‘I flubbed that picking pattern!’ Then I went back to listen to Sandy and Billy and remembered how fucked up and beautiful that album was.” In other words, Bull and Higgins weren’t interested in perfection. They were interested in flow.

In her recent book Transcendent Waves, sound healing practitioner Lavender Suarez describes the “flow state” as a “trancelike space of deep focus” where “we can create freely, letting go of ego and self-criticism.” That’s the vibe that you’ll get throughout Time No Changes, as Schlarb and Taylor glide through two spontaneously generated 20-minute song suites. Taylor’s sensitive playing is fluid and forward moving, delivering a feel that’s free flying without ever losing momentum. Schlarb, playing in the EEEEBE tuning used by Stephen Stills and Bruce Palmer, floats down this rhythmic river, finding mystical modalities and luminous melodies along the way.

Throughout, there’s an easy, warm rapport between the two musicians. They’re not trying to impress one another with flashy technique or unnecessary embellishments. But the results are impressive, nonetheless — even to the players themselves. “The OGs return!” Taylor exclaims at the end of Side A. You’re very likely to agree with his sentiment. - Tyler Wilcox, Longmont, Colorado 

1. Time No Changes (Part One) 13:09
2. Creedmoor 07:39
3. Time No Changes (Part Two) 08:40
4. Mother With Child 03:10
5. Sassafras 08:25

Chris Schlarb - 6- and 12-string acoustic guitar, Moog synthesizer, Hammond organ
Chad Taylor - drums, mbira

Produced by Chris Schlarb
at BIG EGO, Long Beach, California

Mixed by Chris Schlarb and Devin O’Brien

Recorded Saturday, December 14th, 2019
Engineered by Devin O’Brien

Mats Gustafsson & Joachim Nordwall - Shadows of Tomorrow b​/​w The Brain Produces Electrical Waves (May 24, 2021 Astral Spirits)

1. Shadows of Tomorrow
2. The Brain Produces Electrical Waves

Michael Foster & Ben Bennett - Contractions (May 2021 Astral Spirits)

1. resin rain 03:54
2. this one goes out to the board of trustees 08:10
3. offshore flesh crystals 07:23
4. brownian motion 07:37
5. smoke coming from the bio 10:19
6. 8pm sharp 07:17
7. your subscription to slumped meat on stage is about to expire 09:08

Michael Foster: saxophones
Ben Bennett: drums, percussion

Recorded over the course of 2019 by Don Forks at Palliative Studios

Chris Williams & Patrick Shiroishi - Sans Soleil (May 2021 Astral Spirits)

1. cherry 09:31
2. the last rhodesian was a lie 09:31
3. history is violent 10:26
4. in the pines, in the pines 12:36
5. present looms 06:07
6. [mis]quoting spirituals 10:24
7. winters flow into springs 06:36

Chris Williams: Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn, Synth, Objects
Patrick Shiroishi: Alto, Bari, Sopranino, Soprano and Tenor Saxophones, Clarinet, Electric Toothbrush, Glockenspiel

Engineered by: Jared Rodriguez
Mixed and Mastered: Weston Olencki

Vernacular - The Little Bird (May 2021 Astral Spirits)

"Forty years ago a group of hipsters fled Manhattan for . . . has it even been that long? I cannot fathom for I’m still alive and so many of my comrades have fallen to age, to the Amerikka machine. We started our Harlem project with great promise, young energy, and foolish intent. We thought that the government should fund our liberations, and as I look back Ishmael Reed was correct in saying that we should have reached out to our black middle class business owners, lawyers and doctors for the money to free our people from the decay of racism, class difference, and nigger-ism.

The music was always there. For me it was the pulse of the whole enterprise, a stunning tribute to our genius. New music magicians like Sun-Ra, Ornette Coleman, Sonny and Linda Sharrock, those Ayler brothers and the like gave us the language to try anything. There were more of these visionaries than poets, and their work lives longer than any poem of mine’s will. This is no sad statement, for the soul of the African has always been linked to the beat. My own son’s generation discovered this through hip-hop, but the embracing of an instrumental music skipped the generations after its birth, the new music did not seem to make it to my son’s peers.

In Cleveland, there are a few young brothers doing the “new music” without the wayward politics of their forbears, only the soul, heart and muscle of the music lives now. Vernacular, a group of three young musicians – two black men, and a white man – unaware of how crucial their enterprise will be to the coming years. I’ve come to know their journey through a young poet I know, whose head is harder than mine, but savvy is spirit, and his glows. He asked me to write to you, the listener, to give you a map of their place in history; I was not willing at first for I was feeling old, and attacked. Why should I help explain what they could only know as a lonely enterprise?

As albums go, this “little bird” is passion music, I enjoyed many of the selections, I did not like their slower works, nor did I enjoy how short it was. It should have been longer, but they left me wanting, so I guess they’ve understood some things are left to the sure voice. I tease my young poet all the time, he does the same – who will be the next mover in out collected history of moving, he asks? I say don’t fret that, it will only make you a target. FBI crackers will tap your phone, and open your mail. The war against the free has come to a head. Choose wisely."

1. The Blood* 07:11
2. The Voodoo Runs Rafeeq Down 07:04
3. Memphis (First Song) 07:39
4. The System of Mister's Hell 07:16
5. The Wretched Of The Earth 10:50
6. Live with Black Ox Orkestar 17:43

Vernacular is:

R.A. Washington: trumpet, percussion
Chris Kulcsar: drums, guitar
Lawrence Daniel Caswell: bass, voice

Vernacular 2003. All songs by vernacular, except *by Sam Waymon, arrangement by Vernacular.

Recorded July 5th & 6th, 2003 at The Black Eye by Jeff Ottenbacher. Mixed at Funsize Studio by Jeff Ottenbacher.

Bonus track credit: Live improv by Vernacular & Black Ox Orkestar. Performed at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, in the Fall of 2004. Live mix engineered by Gary Heinrich. Black Ox Orkestar is Thierry Amar, Jessica Moss, Gabriel Levine, and Scott Levine Gilmore.

Stefano Leonardi & Antonio Bertoni - Viandes (May 2021 Astral Spirits)

One of the best perspectives with which to savor human existence was provided by Jacques Attali, when he declared that the world should not be looked at or read, but listened to. In the last hundred years, the propensity of many cultural projects has been to verify the "sounds" of the world, going beyond musical instruments, and benefiting from the incredible acoustic qualities that nature has given us a long time ago: stones, shells , flints or rudimentary ancient flutes are able not only to trace an aural path, that is, to determine our geographical position for listening, but are also capable of providing very particular sounds, which are the envy of any experimenter or builder of sounds.

How timely can it be to look at the past and ancient sounds? A lot. Given that any advancement in techniques will not be able to scratch the symbolic meaning attributed to music by a community, the challenge lies in knowing how to obtain the maximum result in relating sound practices spaced apocalyptically over time. It is something that is also based on respect for men and their concepts of life: today, faced with the spread of musical slavery that persecutes us, it is the same science that is asking for help from the arts, an ideological sustenance useful for facing truths that they hide in the power of music, sometimes disposed of in tribal practices or circumstantial rites.

Viandes's drawing, carried out by the musicians Stefano Leonardi and Antonio Bertoni, lands heavily in a field unwanted by the consumer society, in the same way that today visitors to a Paleolithic cave look with suspicion at the places and habits of their predecessors: the control and vanity of attitudes have overcome any will to restore an open channel to what is apparently not visible. 

Viandes' idea is to regain possession of a communication that is through the inanimate, appropriately solicited: improvisations (those of today as well as those of long ago) worked on traditional instruments from a part of the world or on instruments prepared in such a way as to to grasp a constant reference to an implicit objective materiality, as the desire to represent the musical sense of the past and to develop a tactile sensitivity of the music.

It is a workshop of knowledge that takes place between the two musicians: on the one hand, Leonardi immerses himself in a series of temporal and geographical stratifications that can be connected to the exhalations: from the xun (an ancient Chinese globular flute) to the dilli kaval (a flute in Anatolian wood), from transverse flutes to Sardinian "pipes" (the launeddas, released in its three parts, and the silittu, an obsolete flute made of elderberry wood); on the other, Bertoni governs the laws of friction, dividing itself between the guimbri (traditional Gnawa stringed instrument) and the cello, prepared and played to live a carnal experience of rubbing. 

The matter of "blowing" and the matter of "handling", intended as the main responsible for musical creation, meet for a rare session of beauty and instrumental simulation, of energy and instincts, capable of making us experience the overflow of sounds, the rough stone (maneuvers to approach ancient quarries or the pavement of one of our urban roads) or the industriousness of a community. They are very high-profile improvisation experiments, which we should all follow up, relying on what looks like a temporal "upside down" of the sound material. In two words, an apology for the future in defense of music. - Ettore Garzia

1. Lupercus 08:33
2. Fléau 07:13
3. Baccanale 04:00
4. Viandes 08:44
5. Hircus 03:14
6. Schiocco 01:55
7. Fatua 04:43

Antonio Bertoni – cello, guembri
Stefano Leonardi – flute, sulittu, dilli kaval, bass xun, launeddas (mancosedda, tumbu)

All compositions by Antonio Bertoni and Stefano Leonardi
Recorded by Antonio Bertoni on October 26, 2018, live acoustic sound, no overdubs
Mixed and mastered by Antonio Bertoni

Rob Frye - Chihuahuan Desert / Birdscapes (2021 Astral Spirits)

1. Lesser is More 06:09
2. Cloudspur 04:24
3. Grasslands 03:40
4. Pyschopomp / Mountaingem 03:47
5. Slowly Crossing the Infinite 05:09
6. Duet for Organ Wren and Alto Flute 07:36
7. Voices in the Forest 06:23
8. In the Air Like Clouds 03:22
9. Bird Pose 05:34

SIDE A: Chihuahuan Desert Birdscapes (2020)
October, 2020 commissioned by Ballroom Marfa

Rob Frye - synthesizers, handmade flutes, processing
Xeno-canto field recordists Paul Marvin (1, 2, 5), Bruce Lagerquist (1), Manuel Grosselet (1, 4), Matt Baumann (2), Andrew Spencer (2, 3), Justin Watts (3), Chris Harrison (3), Richard E Webster (4), and Ross Gallardy (4).

SIDE B: Birdscapes (2018)
October, 2018 developed for collaboration with Martin Kaulen

Rob Frye - flutes, processing
Satya - voice (9)
Field recordists - Peter Boesman (7) and Richard Ranft (6)

Gunnar Backman - Between Standards (May 13, 2021 Simlas Produksjoner)

1. Gunnar Backman - Between Standards 43:04

Gunnar Backman - Electric Guitar , Virtual amp and FX

Solo Guitar Live
Recorded March 7 2021
Recorded , Mixed and Mastered by Gunnar Backman

Martin Desjardins Septet - Musique en quête d’images vol​.​1: Les portes closes (May 2021)

1. Le carrousel 05:20
2. Pour Satie 06:21
3. Mélo-milonga 03:22
4. Monkerie 06:04
5. Les portes closes 1ère partie 05:03
6. Les portes closes 3e partie 01:33
7. Les portes closes 4e partie 01:34
8. Les portes closes 5e partie 00:36
9. Le tunnel 09:42

Toutes les pistes sont composées par Martin Desjardins

Pistes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 :
Alain Baril, saxophone soprano
André Larue, saxophone alto
Martin Desjardins, saxophone ténor
Michel Côté, saxophone baryton
Vincent Gagnon, piano
David Gagné, contrebasse
Olivier Forest, batterie

Pistes 6, 7, 8:
Alain Baril, clarinette
Martin Desjardins, saxophone alto
Michel Côté, saxophone ténor
André Larue, clarinette basse
MarieH Blay, piano
David Gagné, contrebasse
Olivier Forest, batterie

Samuel Organ - A Safe Place In Cyberspace (May 2021 DMY Artists)

This is the record I’ve dreamt of making for years now. A polarising trip that wanders between the ethereal and the turbulent. An experience that lulls the listener into a stasis, before reminding them that everything is probably not as it once seemed in this safe place. Much of my group and solo work up until this point can be characterised by being quite highly conceptual - whereas creating this body of work felt very much about going through quite a symbolic process of honesty with myself. That polarising sonic landscape represents figures in my life and elements of the past, and I’ve reached a point where I feel confident enough to present myself and my music in this way as it’s the truest connection to me I can offer the listener

The boundaries of the diverse sonic landscape are pushed further by collaborations with people that truly inspire me creatively. A Safe Place In Cyberspace includes features from acclaimed visual and sound artists like BABii, and drummer Adam Betts, praised for his work with the likes of Squarepusher and Jarvis Cocker. When asked who truly inspires me, I never even consider figureheads within popular music and widely celebrated artists - I think of my friends and creators within the circles I feel lucky enough to find myself within.

Samuel’s new music is rooted within the realms of electronic music, but his taste for classical composition and experimental jazz can be found as you turn the corners through the track listing. If you get a sense for where you feel the music is taking you, you can also find equal weight in its counterpart. At moments throughout the album you’ll be deep in abrasive club focused dance music, only to be expeditiously taken to an empty room within the clubs confines, where Samuel sits at an upright piano.

Samuel is a founding member of the experimental jazz group, The Physics House Band - whose work has included collaborations with Stewart Lee, as well as many tours and notable performances worldwide alongside artists like Alt-J, Django Django, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Jaga Jazzist. The group have received high praise and support from The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Times, NPR, BBC Radio and Antony Fantano. 

1. Guidance 03:42
2. Kindness feat. BABii 04:33
3. Rat feat. Slugabed 03:48
4. Opaque 03:39
5. Default feat. Dazey 03:36
6. The Eeriness Of Faxton 03:22
7. Orchestral Behaviour 04:46
8. Outer Circle feat. Colossal Squid 04:40
9. Seance feat. Slugabed 03:22
10. Shine Marsh feat. Cole Longanecker 02:43
11. Magic Circle 03:04
12. Unswear Words And Undo Deeds 01:55

Produced by Samuel Organ
Additional Production by Gregory Feldwick (Track 3, 9)
Additional Vocals by Daisy Emily Warne (Track 2)
Additional Vocals by Daisy Jean Russell (Track 5)
Additional Drums by Adam Betts (Track 8)
Additional Production by Cole Longanecker (Track 10)

Cossi Anatz - Live (May 2021 Digger's digest)

Live album / compilation gathered by Cossi Anatz founder / band leader Michel Marre from his personal archives recorded in the late 70's, early 80's.

This Live album Includes the tracks from his seminal album + 5 exclusive tracks taken from Live session recorded in Prades-Le-Lez, : Veiren Ben / Moyen Age / Biguine / Jo Maka / Santa Espina featuring special guest like Doudou Gouirand and more... Privately released by Michel Marre.

1. Veiren Ben 08:33
2. Moyen Age 06:46
3. Magali Vous Dit Merde 01:39
4. Hortus 08:48
5. Le Cheval 04:50
6. Saharaoui 07:58
7. Africa 04:53
8. Biguine 05:05
9. Aden Arabie 10:19
10. Jo Maka 05:05
11. Santa Espina 06:53

Produced by Michel Marre
Mastered by Laurent Audemard