Sunday, June 25, 2017

Upcoming release: Andrew Goldring - Morning Light (Independent, July 1 2017)

Upcoming release:
Andrew Goldring - Morning Light
(Independent, July 1, 2017)

Buy the CD

Andrew Goldring offers a memorable entry into the psychadelic Americana/singer-songwriter canon with Morning Light, his upcoming EP. It's the Salt Lake City, UT native's first release as a solo artist, after spending the last 5 years or so fronting two different bands. Morning Light is self produced, and mixed/mastered by Philip Shaw Bova (Feist, Andy Shauf, Bahamas).

The result is a lush sound with a layered texture. Goldring has a well defined sound that takes over your brain waves. Cosmic Dance, appropriately enough, is languid and trippy, a layered synth-pop sound with an anthemic melody. The vocals are whispery against the ebb and flow of the music.

Maybe God just speaks in images
Reflections painted on our eyes...

As a writer and composer, Andrew offers well crafted songs and thoughtful lyrics. He ponders universal questions with a fresh perspective, including the well worn topic of love. From Let Me Be,

You were like a ceiling, hanging above my head
But you could string my heart strings 
Till the end of all reason
Now my mind keeps on spinning...

Beautiful Lie is a standout track, a beautiful listen with soaring, poignant vocals and a mournful mood wrapped up in a slow, deliberate, and hypnotic beat.

He's just returned from a successful tour of the southwestern US this spring, and is currently preparing for the release of Morning Light on July 1, 2017. The EP will be released on CD,
Digital, and a limited edition 10” Vinyl pressing. Andrew's music has been featured on NPR affiliate KUER’s RadioWest with Doug Fabrizio, and regularly appears on Utah community radio station KRCL.

Personnel: Andrew Goldring - Drums, Bass, Keys, Guitar, Vocals. Christian Lucy - Additional Keyboards.

  • Cosmic Dance
  • Let Me Be
  • Beautiful Lie
  • Morning Light

Nashaat Salman - Unforgettable (single EP) & New Video

Recently released:
Universal Melodies (Music Project)
Nashaat Salman - Unforgettable (single EP)
EP Release date February 10th 2017
Video Clip Release date May 7th 2017

Buy the EP/Single

Based in Meilen-Zurich, Switzerland, Nashaat Salman ia an engineer and business manager by day, musician and composer on the side. He's nonetheless produced a steady stream of material as a composer over the last two decades or so, including music for film, TV, and other multimedia projects.He launched his Universal Melodies project in 2015 with the release of the first (Vol.1) EP. This EP single is the follow up.

Unforgettable od Middle Eastern/gypsy harmonies wrapped up in an orchestral arrangement that relies on a sparkling grand piano as its base. He offers four versions of the song, two instrumental and two vocal. Lakita Bagwell contributes the vocal track. Her accomplished delivery adds a richly expressive phrasing to the texture of the song, nicely complemented by the horn tracks.

Nashaat studied orchestration and film scoring at the Berkley College of music. He also obtained an MBA from the University of Manchester (Manchester Business School), UK.

Nashaat Salman, Solo Artist : Production: composer, orchestrator, keyboardist, pianist, arranger and producer. - Strings section : Maria Grigoryeva (violin, viola), Lyudmila Kadyrbaeva (cello), Ivan Myasnikov (double bass), Piano: Nashaat Salman and Oscar Sjöberg; Trumpet : Goran Eric; Vocals: track No. 2. Lakieta Bagwell


Friday, June 23, 2017

Art Gallery of Ontario acquires 522 photographs by Diane Arbus

From a media release:

522 photographs by Diane Arbus acquired by the Art Gallery of Ontario
Transformative acquisition makes the AGO the largest museum collector of Arbus in Canada, and one of the largest in the world 

I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn't photograph them. (Diane Arbus)

Toronto, Canada—June 23, 2017—The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) announced today that it has acquired a collection of 522 prints of photographs by American photographer Diane Arbus (1923–1971). Selected by the AGO and purchased through the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, the collection spans the breadth of Arbus’s career, and includes a number of rarely seen or published images from early in her career, as well as many prints from her late career that made her one of the most widely recognized names in 20th century art. Made possible with funds from AGO supporters Phil Lind, Sandra Simpson, Jay Smith, Jozef Straus, and Robin and David Young, the acquisition vaults the AGO towards the top of the list of Arbus collections, making the Gallery’s holdings one of the most significant collections internationally and the largest in Canada.

The collection at the AGO covers three broad and overlapping periods of Arbus’s career. Among the less well-known—and rarely published or exhibited—are her early photographs from the mid-1950s. This includes Female impersonators in mirrors, N.Y.C., 1958. The second phase of Arbus’s work is comprised of her photographs for magazines such as Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar, which began in 1960 and continued to her death. Arbus created many portraits for these and other publications, of celebrities and luminaries like James Brown, Mia Farrow, Coretta Scott King, Norman Mailer, Marcello Mastroianni, Eugene McCarthy and Mae West. Other portraits during this period were of less recognizable or unknown people, such as Jack Dracula lying by a tree, N.Y.C., 1961, published in Harper’s Bazaar in November 1961, or A family one evening in a nudist camp, PA.,1965, a picture taken on assignment for Esquire that never appeared in the magazine.
Beginning in 1962, Arbus began taking square-format photographs, among which are some of her most famous images, such as Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C., 1962; Russian midget friends in a living room on 100th Street, N.Y.C., 1963; Puerto Rican woman with a beauty mark, N.Y.C, 1965; and Identical twins, Roselle, N.J., 1966. Of the 522 works acquired by the AGO, 221 are prints made by the artist and 301 are prints made by Neil Selkirk, the only person authorized by the Estate of Diane Arbus to make posthumous prints of her work.

“Diane Arbus is known for images that engage and entrance the viewer, revealing untold stories about her subjects but also making us think about ourselves,” said Stephan Jost, the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO, of the Art Gallery of Ontario. “The expansion and development of our photography collection are a priority, and there is no better way to signal our intentions than with a transformational acquisition of this depth and breadth. We are incredibly grateful to our donors for their support, for a collection that is a gift to the AGO – and to the people of Ontario as well.”

The AGO has been committed to building a collection of photographs that reflects the artistic, historical, and social impact of the medium. Carefully stewarded by Maia-Mari Sutnik, Curator Emeritus, Photography and former AGO Curator of Photography and Special Projects; and Sophie Hackett, current AGO Curator of Photography, the Gallery’s collection has grown to one of significance—both in number and distinction—that spans the history of photography from the 1840s to the present day. The holdings explore not only the canon of photography and its renowned historical figures, but also the broader scope of the medium and the key role it has played in our visual culture – one of the first photography departments in a fine arts museum to openly embrace such a collecting mandate.

With over 60,000 objects, the photography collection counts strengths in several areas including portraiture, press photography, pop photographica, photographic albums, and social documentary photography, as well as in-depth holdings of such photographers as Linnaeus Tripe (1822–1902), Robert Flaherty (1884–1951), Josef Sudek (1896–1976), Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898–1995), Henryk Ross (1910–1991), Arnold Newman (1918–2006), Michel Lambeth (1923–1977), Garry Winogrand (1928–1984), Suzy Lake (b. 1947) and Edward Burtynsky (b. 1955), among others.

The museum’s Arbus acquisition is also consistent with an approach that centres on identifying and securing a series of deep and substantial collections that make the AGO an important resource for photography. This includes holdings of artists who are widely known, such as Arbus; those who were important figures in the development of the medium, like Charles Nègre (1820–1880); and others whose work is historically important for the images they captured, such as Canadian pictorialist Melvin O. Hammond (1876–1934).

Prior to this, the AGO held no works by Diane Arbus. This acquisition transforms the AGO’s focus on photography with significant and substantial holdings of one of the most important artists of the 20th century, whose work continues to fascinate and resonate, decades after her death.

About Diane Arbus
Diane Arbus revolutionized the art she practiced. Born in 1923, Arbus grew up in an affluent New York family that owned a department store on Fifth Avenue. At age 18 in 1941, she married Allan Arbus and for a decade the couple worked together producing photographs for fashion magazines; he operated the camera, she styled the images. Although she started making pictures for herself in the early 1940s, it was only in 1956, when she numbered a roll of film #1, that she began seriously pursuing the work for which she has come to be known.

Her first published photographs appeared in Esquire in 1960. During the next decade, working for Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar and the other magazines, she published more than 100 photographs, including portraits and photographic essays, some of which originated as personal projects, and occasionally were accompanied by her own writing.

Arbus was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1963 and 1966 for her project, “American Rites, Manners and Customs”, and she augmented her images of New York and New Jersey with visits to Pennsylvania, Florida and California, photographing contests and festivals as well as public and private rituals. “I want to photograph the considerable ceremonies of our present,” she wrote. “These are our symptoms and our monuments. I want simply to save them, for what is ceremonious and curious and commonplace will be legendary.” The photographs she produced in those years attracted a great deal of critical and popular attention when a group was selected for the legendary 1967 New Documents show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

In 1970, Arbus made a portfolio of original prints entitled A box of 10 photographs, which was meant to be the first in a series of limited editions of her work. Although she died by suicide the following year, Arbus was already a significant influence and something of a legend among serious photographers, although only a relatively small number of her most important pictures were widely known.

In 1972, her photographs became the first work of an American photographer to be exhibited at the Venice Biennale. In that same year, The Museum of Modern Art mounted a major retrospective which toured the United States and Canada. The monograph that served as the catalogue for that exhibition has never been out of print and remains one of the most important and widely distributed photography books of all time.

In a career that lasted little more than fifteen years, Diane Arbus produced a body of work whose style and content have secured her a place as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century.

Once Around Saturn: These Promises (Independent - June 29 2017)

Once Around Saturn These Promises
(Independent - June 29th 2017)

Pre-order/Stream/Download the CD

Once Around Saturn is the stage name of Sydney, Australia based synth pop solo artist Dan Kelso. He's been around 2014, releasing a string of of singles in. "These Promises", his latest release, is an EP that collects four of his songs. Along with Kelso, the release features  Glenn Whitehall and Amanda Easton on lead and back-up vocals.

It was an engineer in the Sydney studio where he was recording who connected him with singer Amanda Easton, who adds a lot to the Once Around Saturn sound. Her vocals are timeless in style, and would be equally at home in a pre-WWII cocktail lounge. Kelso's upbeat songwriting lets her lovely pure tone take over the high end of songs like Fortress of Love, the lead single.

"Synth-pop" covers a lot of territory. Here, Kelso uses the electronics to create layers of texture and melodic interest, using a range of sounds that would be at home on a disco dance floor, circa 1985 or so. Titan Excursion is anchored by a trippy, hypnotic beat, and whispery vocals that float above it. The title track, These Promises, features Glenn Whitehall on lead vocals above a danceable retro groove.

Kelso acknowledges his obvious influences. "It's no secret that I love Synth Pop; from the classic British eighties acts to the more contemporary sounds of other artists who are also clearly influenced by that earlier era. As technology progresses, new sonic possibilities become more accessible to the independent artist, but at the heart of it all is the sense of song."

Kelso confesses that he's in the studio recording new material every few months or so -- there will be plenty more where this comes from.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

It's Just Craig - Dark Corners (Independent - June 30, 2017)

It's Just Craig - Dark Corners
(Independent - June 30, 2017)

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Enjoyably inventive within a traditional genre, Dark Corners is the second release for the ensemble It's Just Craig, the brainchild of Craig Helmreich. The Intro sets the tone with a fuzzy antique piano line and leads into Go, the next track. The song builds on a minimalist acoustic opening, shuffling in a languid pace to a lush arrangement that includes keyboards and jangling guitar.

Americana, Goth Country, or whatever label you want to put on the genre, is all about drawing the emotional heart out of the everyday, both when it comes to words and music. It's Just Craig takes the premise and adds a modern sense of production. Craig et al specialize in catchy hooks and songs that are more complex than they first sound, with a soft rather than strident approach to vocals. There are jazzy riffs in songs like Captain and Siren Sings, with a lot of rhythmic variation throughout all the tracks.

Goodnight is the lead single from the release, a synthy, danceable track with a stuttering percussion line and lyrics that are typical of the album's understated sentiment.

I'm sick of good night...from six feet away 
It's Just Craig by Kyle Helmond

It's essentially a concept album in a gothic Americana sort of vein. Tracks 1-8 follow the story of the captain of a cargo boat and his journey across the sea. It's sometimes a lonely story, sometimes an exciting one. Track 9 is blank, a space before the "hidden" track. Track 10 is the odd one out, a song called Thirty-Nine, inspired by the hedonistic mid-life crises of he and his friends.

He's assembled the same group of musical friends for the follow-up ride to his debut releaes, Blood On The Table. Along with the personnel, he reprised the approach, with lots of live tracking, very few takes, minimal overdubs, 100% analog. Marc Ford (Black Crowes/Ben Harper/Magpie Salute) is on guitar, joined by Elijah Ford on bass, piano and electric/acoustic guitars. Craig plays guitar and sings, with Jason Slota on drums, Rob Shelton on keys, John Vanderslice producing, mixing and playing keys on Goodnight (with Rob Shelton). New on this outing are Jess Von Strantz and Kels Von Strantz on vocals and vocals/cello, respectively.
It's Just Craig by Kyle Helmond

In his other life, Craig is a corporate attorney working and living with his family in Fishers, Indiana. The vinyl version is likely to be released in mid to late August.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Win a Trip to Africa via Ethiopian Airlines to Celebrate Canada150

From a media release:

Ethiopian Airlines Canada asks Canadians to share their video story to celebrate Canada150, for their chance to win a package trip to Africa!

June 8, 2017, Toronto, Ontario- Ethiopian Airlines Canada wants to hear from Canadians by video submissions, asking them, "Why they love Canada so much" and then posting it on the airlines' social media Facebook page.

• The most creative and engaging video will win a trip to Africa! A 10-day vacation package from Toronto to Victora Falls, Zambia and then to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The contest winner will experience breathtaking adventures as part of the itinerary and Ethiopian Airlines Cloud9 Business Class.

"This is a very exciting year for Canada and Ethiopian Airlines Canada, we are both celebrating big milestones, " said Birhan Abate, Ethiopian Airlines Canada Country Manager. "Canada is a multicultural country which unites many different cultures. We wanted to create a fun interactive contest for our 5th Anniversary operating in Canada in the spirit of the Canada 150 celebration. Something that would allow Canadian's to share their special heart warming stories of why they love Canada."

Abate said the response Ethiopian Airlines Canada received from the first social media contest launched last year was positive and "overwhelming." He said he wanted to do something special to mark the sesquicentennial year.
Victoria Falls, Zambia
How it works:
  • Create up to a 60 sec video entry to share with us "Why do you love Canada so much?"
  • Upload the video to Ethiopian Airline Canada's Facebook page
  • Like our Facebook page
  • Top 5 videos selected by Ethiopian Airlines Canada managment team to be posted on Ethopian Airlines Canada Facebook page.
  • The selected Top 5 videos to be judged by fans.
  • Based on point values one video winner to be announced in August 2017.   
  • Full details of the contest on our promotions page and on Ethiopian Airlines Canada Facebook page.

About Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is the fastest growing Airline in Africa. In its seven decades of operation, Ethiopian has become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success.

Ethiopian operates the youngest and most modern fleet to 93 international destinations across five continents. Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft.

The airlines operates three direct flights weekly from Toronto to Addis Ababa with connections 53 destinations.

Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa with seven business centers: Ethiopian Domestic and Regional Airline; Ethiopian International Passenger Airline; Ethiopian Cargo; Ethiopian MRO; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; Ethiopian In-flight Catering Services; and Ethiopian Ground Service. Ethiopian is a multi-award-winning airline registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Akropolis Reed Quintet: The Space Between (Innova Recordings, March 24, 2017)

With material from a release:

Akropolis Reed Quintet: The Space Between
(Innova Recordings, March 24, 2017)

Buy the CD

Does it sound disrespectful to say a new music release can be a highly entertaining listen? I hope not, because I was entertained, cajoled, intrigued, and transported in probably equal measures by The Space Between, the new release from the Akropolis Quintet.

I loved their playful take on the iconic themes of classical European music. In the first track, jesus is coming, you hear a sampled child's voice over a strongly rhythmic pulse of wind instruments, with other spoken voices and snippets of dialog, shouting, children crying...It sounds like a dog's breakfast but turns out to be a seamless fabric of sound that cries out for a modern dance interpretation.

Refraction ties dissonant harmonics and a fluid sense of melody together with a hypnotic rhythm. It's a highly evocative piece in several sections. At the base of it all is a superb sense of musicianship that allows for the complex texture of the music.

The mood turns elegaic on Gallimaufry, with its sinuous interplay of melodies on the various instruments. The album closes with John Steinmetz’s “Sorrow and Celebration,” which imitates a ceremony or ritual, calling people together to mourn and rejoice.

The Space Between Us is the third studio release from Akropolis Reed Quintet, a group with a singular instrumentation, well on its way to redefining how modern wind chamber music groups present classical music. It’s an album about conflict and resolution, a story of how art and its reflection on life can bring people together.

Formed in 2009 at the University of Michigan and winner of the 2014 Fischoff Gold Medal, the Akropolis Reed Quintet takes listeners on extraordinary imaginative musical adventures. They have commissioned more than 25 new reed quintet works, published a catalog of original and arranged reed quintet sheet music, and have garnered more than 22,000 online views for the Web Premiere video series of new reed quintet repertoire. Akropolis injects its dynamic repertoire into communities and schools around the country, and in 2015 won the Fischoff Educator Award. The group was recently awarded two grants from Chamber Music America and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs for a January 2017 community residency in Detroit.

Woodwind instruments tend to be neglected overall in the musical canon of any genre; it's nice to hear the fresh innovation of this appealing collection of new music compositions.

Rose Hall Estate - Jamaica's Haunted Mansion

Rose Hall Estate
Jamaica's Haunted Mansion

Today, the property is a luxury resort with two award-winning golf courses and oceanviews not far from Montego Bay, Jamaica. But long with the modern resort facilities, there is Rose Hall Estate, a whitewashed mansion with a darker history that is one of its present day attractions - hauntings.

Rose Hall Estate
Many of the so-called Great Houses - the homes of colonialists - in Jamaica were burned to the ground during the slave rebellions of 1831 to 1838. Rose Hall Estate, somehow, escaped with less damage than most others. Many claim that it is because the mansion was haunted, even before the rebellions came along.

Annie Palmer - The White Witch

According to local legend, the house is haunted by the spirit of one Annie Palmer, also known as the White Witch. The story of Annie's ghost has been growing since her death in the 1830s. She's been the subject of a dozen or more novels, including The White Witch of Rose Hall by H. G. De Lisser, published in 1928.
A Picturesque Tour of Jamaica by James Hakewill, 1778

The mansion dates from 1750. As the story goes, Annie Palmer arrived in Jamaica in the spring of 1820 at the age of 18, having married John Rose Palmer. She had been raised by a nanny after being left an orphan in Haiti. The nanny had taught her the art of voodoo, and some say that Annie had used it to entice Palmer to marry her.

According to the legend, Annie Palmer murdered three husbands and too many of the male slaves she coerced into her bed to count during her decade as mistress of Rose Hall Estate, which was then a plantation. Nowadays, some believe that it was the lead content in her china dishes slowly drove her insane.
Bedroom - Rose Hall Great House by Sarah Ackerman

Finally, one of the slaves she was sexually abusing had enough and murdered her. It was said that he buried her and performed voodoo spells to keep her evil spirit from returning, but the spells weren't done correctly.

Some say the whole story is a myth, and that there never was an Annie Palmer, but many people have reported sightings of the White Witch over the decades.

Nowadays, it's an intriguing stop on a Jamaican vacation.

Society for New Music: Various Composers - Music Here & Now (Innova Recordings, Apr 28, 2017)

With material from a release:

Society for New Music
Various Composers - Music Here & Now
(Innova Recordings, Apr 28, 2017)

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The two-disc set commissioned by the Society For New Music offers a variety of moods and approaches to new music composition through the work of several composers. Rob Deemer's Cantos is full of drama, propelled by a kinetic sense of rhythm that whirls around, building momentum. It's a striking piece that carries you through to a cathartic end. Jacaras, a piece for piano, violin, and cello by Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, changes the mood to a more emotional, distraught sensibility.

A melancholy oboe/clarinet opens Jorge Villevicencio Grossmann's Whistling Vessels, an intriguing journey in sound with several sections. Libations, a composition by 'Doctuh' Mike Woods, takes a driving jazz bass line and adds an avant garde sense of harmonics. The result sparkles with a fresh sense of both genres.

Music Here & Now brings the new music field - often accused of and viewed as obtuse and elitist - into the purview of the more adventurous listener, of which there are more and more. The focus is on the emotional heart of the music with results that should please those reluctant to endorse new music along with its longtime fans.

Urban hubs like Brooklyn, Chicago and San Francisco have long been seen as incubators of creative cross-pollination, but since 1971, the Society for New Music has been making the case that cultural and artistic collision and germination can happen away from the city lights. With the release of Music Here & Now -- their fourth album on innova Recordings -- once again shows that new music is alive and well in the heart of New York state.

Based in Syracuse and comprising composers and creatives from New York, the Midwest, Peru, China, Mexico and beyond, the Society for New Music is the oldest new music organization in the state outside of Manhattan and commissions at least one new work each season from a regional composer. Music Here & Now pulls together works from Rob Deemer, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Gregory Wanamaker, Zhou Tian, Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann, “Doctuh” Mike Woods and Mark Olivieri. Encompassing a wide range of styles and influences from Mexican to Peruvian folk music to jazz to classical to the natural world to social and political concerns, the music here stakes a claim to an aural world informed by but not bound to geography or genre.

The award-winning Society for New Music is comprised of a core of dedicated professionals who live in the heart of New York State, but who are nationally and internationally renowned. Most have performed and recorded together for 15 to 20 years or more. They all bring their passion for new music to the enterprise.

Society for New Music’s mission is to commission, premiere and record new works by regional composers; advocate for new music via Fresh Ink on WCNY-FM and its affiliates; provide regional musicians an opportunity to perform the music of their peers; encourage young composers (Israel Prize, Rising Stars, Young Composers Corner and workshops); and bring new music to as broad an audience as possible, plus composers-in-residence in the public schools.

Illinois native Rob Deemer was educated at the Univ. of Texas-Austin, Northern Illinois, and USC. SUNY Fredonia wisely lured him to Upstate NY. His experience in film music was useful in this collaboration with videographer Courtney Rile for Cantosin 3 movements - Hammer, String, Wind. They captured aurally the sounds of nature matching the visual beauty of Upstate NY.

Born in Mexico, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon earned his doctorate at the U. of Pennsylvania. Now a Professor at Eastman School of Music, he was a Pulitzer finalist in 2011. “Jácaras” were popular ballads interspersed between the acts of a play to entertain the audience. Each variation in Ricardo’s Jácaras evokes a type of folk music from México.

Gregory Wanamaker, a native of Skaneateles, NY, earned degrees at Shenandoah Univ. & FL State before returning to teach at the Crane School-SUNY-Potsdam. SNM paired Greg with Carrie Mae Weems to collaborate on a music/video they titled A Story within a Story, reflecting on the persistent struggle for civil rights in the U.S. on the basis of gender, race and religion. Carrie Mae went on to win a MacArthur Genius award.

Born in China, Zhou Tian was educated at Curtis, Juilliard and USC. He came to ‘the heart of NY’ to teach at Colgate University. His Morning after the Deluge was inspired by a landscape painting by William Turner (1843). The shifting landscape dissolving into layers of mist against a rising sun inspired Mr. Zhou to design the same for the music.

Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann hails from Peru via Brazil. After earning his DMA at Boston University he settled in Upstate NY to teach at Ithaca College. Whistling Vessels  makes use of his Peruvian heritage by incorporating indigenous ancient Incan whistling (singing) vessels with contemporary chamber ensemble.

Ohio native ‘Doctuh’ Mike Woods studied at Indiana & the Univ. of Oklahoma,the first African-American to receive a doctorate in composition from Oklahoma University. Hamilton College made it worth his while to settle in the ‘heart of NY’. Libations is written as if it were a drink used in a ceremony, but the wine and/or the inebriation is the effect of the jazz solos.

Born in Upstate NY, Mark Olivieri is also a pianist, as equally versed in vernacular idioms as he is in jazz and classical music. While earning his doctorate at Buffalo, he served on the Brockport faculty, then Hobart-William Smith Colleges snapped him up. Commissioned for SNM’s annual Vision of Sound  new music with dance program, Stress Test seamlessly weaves these styles together.

New Music: Juri Seo: Mostly Piano (Innova Recordings, Apr 28, 2017)

With material from a release:

Juri Seo: Mostly Piano
(Innova Recordings, Apr 28, 2017)

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As promised, Juri Seo's new release focuses on her beautifully liquid piano compositions...mostly. She plays it on the first track, a jazzy piece entitled #three, with percussion and bass. It was inspired by noted jazz trio The Bad Plus, merged with elements of late Romanticism. It's Beethoven meets jazz.

“Three Mini Etudes in C”, played by Thomas Rosendranz, begins with the familiar arpeggios of piano studies, then veers into semi-chaotic, agitated territory, covering a gamut of emotions and approaches.

Her Piano Sonata No. 1, appropriately titled “La Hammerklavier” (or Hammer Piano) is percussive, speeding up and slowly down in a dizzying whirlwind. Pianist Steven Beck brings it to life with an assured sense of its style. The piece takes its cue from Beethoven’s Op. 106. and pianist Steven Beck navigates the piece’s extreme registers of expression deftly.

“Études for cimbalom” is the exception to the piano-focused release, performed by Nicholas Tolle, one of the most adventurous players of the Eastern European hammered dulcimer in contemporary music. It is moody and striking, offering a range of dramatic expression. The final track, “vi,” bring together Rosenkranz and and percussionist Mark Eichenberger to conjure strangely consonant music flecked with chromatic twists and turns.

Through the piano, that most traditional of musical filters, Seo pours her eclectic influences and the results are coherent, but refracted and many-hued: Beethoven meets 20th-century avant-garde meets modern jazz. She scales the heights and plumbs the depths of the instrument, attempting to engage with the widest scope of pianistic possibilities.

Born and raised in Korea, Seo came to the United States in 2005 for graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Music at Princeton University.

2017: Millennials and Travel

2017: Millennials and Travel

Millennials are a unique group in so many ways, it should come as no surprise that their travel habits and preferences are different than their predecessors too.

Mass Media

Based on research by Topdeck Travel, 35 percent of Canadian millennials say they have made a decision on where to travel based on a movie they saw. That figure is backed up by similar studies in the U.S. More interesting details about Canadian millennials:

• 21% decided on their travel destination because of a food trend that went viral on Instagram or other social media, like cronuts, the doughnut/croissant cross made famous by Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City, or rainbow bagels from The Bagel Store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
• 10% said their trip destination was inspired by a favourite celebrity.


Canadian Millennials love to travel, that's the easy part. The rest is often surprising.
• 32% of Canadian millennials said they would cut down or even give up dating to save money for travel.
• 16% said they were on the lookout for a romantic relationship during their travels.
• 10% use dating apps more often while traveling abroad than they did at home.
• 31% said that socializing while they were traveling was an important aspect of their trip.
• 23% reported that they have passed up on opportunities to travel in the past because they couldn’t find anyone to go with them.
• 25% felt badly about how little they’ve traveled in their lives.

Similar surveys by Contiki, a European tour operator specializing in the 18-35 market, found that many millennials had given up on the traditional goal of buying a home in the overheated real estate markets, opting instead to spend their money on travel. Thirty-three percent of 18-to-21 year olds, and 39 per cent of 22-to-36 year olds, surveyed said they were happy to borrow money to go travelling.

Business Travel

In the U.S., millennials make up about a third of the work force, and they're changing business travel too.

• Digital World - constant connectivity is a must for any accommodations;
• They are more likely to use Uber or Lyft (81%) than rental cars or regular taxis;
• They prefere Airbnb to a luxury suite.
• With more millennials taking more business trips than previous generations, the practice of adding a few days of vacay time to a business trip is on the rise too.

What's driving them is what is driving the travel industry, and changing travel for everyone. It's also opening up whole new market forces.

New Music: Ross Feller - X/Winds (Innova Recordings, Feb 17, 2017)

With material from a release:

Ross Feller - X/Winds
(Innova Recordings, Feb 17, 2017)

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In the liner notes, composer Ross Feller talks about "thorny, angular gestures" that pervade his music, and that's a good description of its energy. It's kinetic, agitated, an emotional roller coaster ride, tempered by a grand sense of style - a kind of refined chaos.

Feller lets the contradictions in these elements animate the music, their clashes generating the energy of the pieces. Throughout, there is an emphasis on a deep-seated sense of resonance, and tactile and physical attributes of sound as they are experienced. This is muscular Modernism at its most immediate and urgent, in the grand tradition of Charles Ives and Henry Brant.

In “Triple Threat,” labyrinthine patterns are mapped onto various musical parameters, then disrupted by Gilles Deleuze’s and Felix Guattari’s three fractured lines: break, crack, and rupture. In places, parts are obscured through masking techniques such as pitch and timbral overlapping and in others, sheer force pushes elements into the foreground and shoves others to the back.

More meditative and less forceful, “Still Adrift” nonetheless reflects Feller’s interest in juxtaposition and sound as a physical force. Processed and resynthesized piano samples to amplify the live piano’s resonance and suggest the sense of a virtual, acoustic space.

The title track – blown to great heights by the Oberlin Conservatory Wind Ensemble – navigates the space between these two ends of the spectrum, conjuring mayhem through webs of textural densities, and employing conflicts between various contradictory impulses that build to a frenzy, eventually leaving only resonant trails and air.

A Chicago native, Feller began in high school to systematically explore the boundaries of his saxophone through improvisation, and experiment with various compositional techniques. He co-founded the avant-garde, jazz-rock ensemble Dot Dot Dot, and then went on to study composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He currently teaches at Kenyon College, Ohio.

“Feller sees sound itself as a primary material of his music, no matter how rigorously he structures pitch and rhythm. Sound is bent and smeared, layers bleed into one another and then detach. Instruments overlap and create morphing meta-instruments. All this is guided both by a scrupulous ear and by the metaphysical programs animating the flow… Feller proves that the idea of exploring new worlds, of breaking molds isn’t dead at all. Modernism for him is a tradition of freedom and experiment, mixed with an intellectual armature of rigor and paradox. For listeners who have grown up with indie rock, free improv, industrial noise, this will be familiar terrain. Likewise those who like their art with a dash of conceptualism and philosophy will find plenty to satisfy their appetite. Dig in.” – Robert Carl, composer and music critic.

Bypassing the Ogre

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Skateboarders vs. Minimalism: Rodney Mullen at the Drake Hotel Toronto June 23-24 2017

From a media release:


Tickets for Rodney Mullen
RSVP Block Party

TORONTO - Don’t miss street skating legend, Rodney Mullen, in an intimate conversation with artist Shaun Gladwell as they discuss how skateboarding led to a fascination with contemporary art. Monkey Shoulder will be on hand with custom cocktails and a lucky few will have the chance to meet Mullen.

Then, coast to Drake Commissary to see a live demo of Gladwell's video work, Skateboarders vs. Minimalism with skaters creatively misusing replicas of minimalist sculpture followed by a full-on block party of DJs, food trucks + Monkey Shoulder mixes. Find the party in the parking lot with neighbour Henderson Brewing.

Check out Rodney Mullen: