'Scarlett...has signed a deal to make her first record..."Scarlett Sings Tom Waits" is being recorded now...' Genius or disaster? Via Jeff Dinelli.
NemesisVex blogs about the Emerson String Quartet's American Originals:
The album starts with Ives' String Quartet No. 1, "From the Salvation Army", a work of surprising tonality. The piece has such an amiability -- based, as it is, on revival and gospel hymns -- it's tough to resolve the work's playfulness with the thorny clusters and dissonances for which Ives would eventually be known.
I'm just back from walking the iPod, and listening to Ives. This got me to wondering how much of Ives' maverick side came from his father. Do we really know what his father was like or is our knowledge via filtered anecdotes from the son?
Ives's father was the bandleader George Ives, about whom little is known beyond Charles' not always reliable recollections. Whether the father really anticipated the son's experiments is impossible to determine...
Michael Broyles, in Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music, also talks about George Ives. First, he suggests the father was the black sheep of the family for coming back from the Civil War and making music his profession, for example in this quote:
Many years later Philip Sunderland, three years older than Charles Ives, remembered vividly life in Danbury where he had grown up. His comments speak for his generation: "They [the people of Danbury] didn't take George Ives very seriously. He was only the bandleader."
Broyles does point out early signs of Charles' radical modernism in compositions like The Celestial Country and Variations in America, although no explicit description of his father's personality.
[Peter Hamlin] asked for a composition that was 'real music' but which was also a study in approaching the alto sax's lowest notes in every way possible. And so Walking the Flat came to be. It's fun and it's good listening. mysterious and energetic, a set of variations on direction rather than on melody.
This certainly appeals to the timbre-ist in me.
By the way, just like the composer's Vermont, we get snow here in the Bay Area. Fortunately, this one only occurred at elevations above 1000 feet so we flatland urbanists didn't actually have to experience it if we didn't want to.
last.fm has just announced the opening up of their music streaming. I'm still sorting out what this means, but in the meantime, here is Terry Riley's La Muerte en Medias Caladas Negras from the album The Book Of Abbeyozzud.
Hmm, this is freely streamable from imeem as well:
The late John Fahey's website describes the music as "american primitive guitar." The piece Sharks may be a particularly good example of the primitive, yet innovative sound Fahey could achieve. Songza coughs up a minute clip of it:
Derek Taylor reviews Sharks:
A collaboration with Jim O’Rourke, taped in the younger guitarist’s bedroom, the album makes extensive use of echo, loops and samples on pieces like the bottleneck-by-way-of-sine-drone “Sharks” to create music that is equal parts ambient and terrestrial, fever dream and reverie.
I've been more strenuously listening to the music of Fahey for the last year or so. I'll say the same thing I would say about Miles Davis -- he was an artist, not just an instrumentalist.
Steve Hicken on John Luther Adams' Dark Waves:
Dark Waves is an aptly titled piece for two pianos and electronic sounds. The piece moves through time in a series of swelling and receding sounds lurking in the lower registers of the pianos for most of the piece. The feeling is one of mesmerizing foreboding.
Amid the turbulent waves we may still find the light, the wisdom and the courage we need to pass through this darkness of our own making.