Brooklyn Rider, that wonderful string quartet that includes a couple of old pals, has a Kickstarter for The Brooklyn Rider Almanac. My composition for the Almanac is "Morris Dance," written for Mark Morris, of course. It's a a thrill to hear BR play it, and I look forward to checking out the rest of the commisions from a truly impressive list of contributors....
Chris Speed, Chris Tordini, and Dave King are going on tour to support the Skirl album Really OK. Great group.
Hank Shteamer is supporting the post-hardcore band Craw with a Kickstarter to get some classic 90's vinyl back up. I suspect the late '80s and early 90's contain some of the rarest music these days...
Ben Ratliff has some really amusing stuff to say about Coachella.
Congrats to John Luther Adams for winning a Pulitzer for Become Ocean. Alex Ross review here. I haven't heard Become Ocean yet, but did love seeing For Lou Harrison live twice last year at Ojai. I wrote:
John Luther Adams is very much in the grain of American mavericks. Mark exposed me to his hour-long meditation for string orchestra, string quartet, and two pianos For Lou Harrison a few years ago. Live the greatness of piece became even clearer to me, even thoush I could tell what a struggle it was to navigate the canvas of 4:5:6:7 polyrhythm. (I heard talk about how some of the orchestra complained.) In addition to whatever travails the orchestra went through, much of the audience didn't like it and grew noticeably restive. Someone even jeered "play it again" at the end at both performances. It didn't matter. For Lou Harrison was invulnerable and intoxicating even in adverse conditions.
It is not hard to listen to if you know what to listen for. There are only two sections, and while it may seem like there is nothing but repetition, in fact there is no harmonic repetition.
The problem I occasionally have with minimalism, post-minimalism, and even with forebears like Cowell and Harrison is a certain inelegance in the harmony.
Not here. Luther Adams exhibits marvelous harmonic control in For Lou Harrison. Each change in the slow-moving chord progression is unexpected yet absolutely correct. At last we have Bruckner-level chorales for the new style! Therecording by Stephen Drury and The Callithumpian Consort is wonderful and includes extensive and helpful notes by Peter Garland.
Another recent deserving award winner is Steve Coleman, who just got a Guggenheim. Coleman is one of our most influential musicians, and he just keeps resolutely doing his own thing and spreading his word. A new interactive website, M-Base Ways, is live.
On the stereo yesterday: Play Blue by Paul Bley, a 2008 concert performance from Oslo. It's a very strong album from one of my biggest influences. I'm thrilled to learn he's still such an unrepentant explorer.