• Music

    Yury Markin – On a Large Scale

    I have to give full credit to legendary multi-instrumentalist Arkady Shilkloper for making mention of Yury Markin’s album on his Facebook feed on which he appears.  I’m familiar with how solid the Russian jazz/experimental record label Fancy Music is, and this latest release does not disappoint. From the label’s Bandcamp site: “Yury Markin is one of the leading Russian composers and jazz pianists, a student of the famous composer Rodion Shchedrin. The double album, coming out in the year of the 75th anniversary of the master, is truly historic. It presents large pieces, displaying the work of Yury Markin in…

  • Music

    Marc Méan – Winds

    I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Marc Méan’s previous works while working on my old blog, but this one just came across my radar, and it is absolutely shimmering (no pun intended, as Shimmering Records is his label for this release).  This will appeal greatly to those who enjoy the work of Lubomyr Melchik and Philip Glass, especially the cinematic feel of the second track.  It was impressive to read that he also had a background in free jazz and psychedelic rock, which gives him a wide palette to work from.  Smooth, gentle and engaging listening.

  • Music - Qobuz

    Heiner Goebbels – A House of Call, My Imaginary Notebook

    Your browser does not support iframes.    As a fan of Heiner Goebbels‘ work as far back as the Recommended / RèR Records days, it’s been a joy to hear his music become more full, more dense, and on occasion, more foreboding.  ECM seems to be the perfect home for his works, and the Ensemble Modern do absolute justice to his compositions. High Res Audio posted an interview on their site regarding this latest release, which you can view below:

  • Music - Qobuz

    The Hilliard Ensemble – Codex Speciálník

    Your browser does not support iframes.    According to Wikipedia, “…the Speciálník Codex (CZ-HKm MS II.A.7) is a 15th-century speciálník (i.e. special songbook) originating from a monastery in the region of Prague.”  It is considered something of a ‘missing link’ between medieval and Renaissance music and it features several rather unknown Czech composers.  The Hilliard Ensemble sing pieces from this book so elegantly that I almost forgot about my classes this evening.  After a rather traumatic week, this was pure balm for my ears, mind and soul. Though you can find it at your favorite CD shop, you may want to consider ordering this through…

  • Music

    Various Artists – Wearing of the Green

    The Sound Of Shellac is a record label out of Norway which refurbishes old 78rpm discs, brightens their sound and releases these tracks into well-curated compilations.  What’s more, they’re offered as pay-as-you-like releases, so purchasing these comps helps show support for such a fine label. This particular disc features artists John McCormack, Paul Robeson and Jelly Roll Morton, but the real charm of this release comes from relatively unknown or forgotten artists like Mrs. Texas Gladden and Tito Schipa.

  • Music

    Johnny Gandelsman – This Is America – An Anthology 2020-2021

    Before I left to China in 2018, the last concert I caught was Iranian-Kurdish master Kayhan Kalhor along with Brooklyn Rider.  As it turns out, their violinist, Johnny Gandelsman, was selling one of his albums on vinyl, which I duly purchased (and have nearly worn out).  I’m pleased to say he has new work out, though this album was released on the 1st of July of 2022. From his Bandcamp site: “To say that 2020 was a difficult year for the United States would be an understatement. Covid 19 took the lives of 385,000 people. Racism and police brutality took the…

  • Music

    György Kurtág – Signs, Games and Messages (mode230)

    Yesterday, I had the pleasure of going out to the picturesque town of Szentendre, about 35 minutes outside of Budapest, with my girlfriend and some fine old friends.  I expected a nice trip, and instead, we not only have that but we were treated to seeing several galleries, bookstores, and a performance space which featured graphic artist Yorgos Tzortzoglu, a local artist of Greek descent.  His exhibit featured scores from Hungarian composer György Kurtág, and lo and behold, he was in attendance!  Though he is 96 now, Kurtág looked in pretty good condition, and had a smile on his face…

  • Music - Spotify

    Duke Ellington – Such Sweet Thunder

    Duke Ellington’s Shakespearian masterpiece, Such Sweet Thunder, is the first album I bought for its typography alone.  I had heard older releases by him, had classic discs like Money Jungle, but this album caught my eye because I had had a deep interest in typography around 1994-1995.  The text on the right was so crisp despite its size, and of course the iconic photo of Duke meditating on the piano with big block capital letters made the album look more like an artifact.  The music is, of course, sumptuous, but if you have a Spotify account, you can enjoy it…