Today we are cheering for one of Philadelphia’s finest bands. Bardo Pond will release a new album, Volume 8, on February 2, 2018. We are fortunate that they have decided to share a track from the album ahead of time with us. “Kailish,” a rousing jam riven with flute and distorted guitars, is below.
Neosho’s latest video, “Time Traveler,” is part of the composition process itself. Using an Ableton patch that responds to visual images as part of the arrangement, they have created dizzying audio and video. Programming isn’t all that’s there however; there are also jocular vocals and a sax solo that could be teleported from the mid-80s. Time travel indeed.
Now, and Then
Orchestra Della Svizzera Italiana; Dennis Russell Davies, conductor
Pablo Márquez, guitar
November 17 sees the release of Now, and Then, an ECM recording of transcriptions by composers Bruno Maderna and Luciano Berio. In addition to his creative pursuits and new music advocacy, Maderna (1920-1973) was in demand as a conductor of classical repertoire. Rather than performing the instrumental music of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque eras with its original, reduced, forces, he made transcriptions of figures such as Frescobaldi, Legrenzi, Gabrieli, Viadana, and Wassenaer (all included on this CD) for the modern orchestra. They are successful arrangements, spotlighting the sonorous brass choirs that epitomize the antiphonal music of this era while deftly incorporating idiomatic passages for the other sections of the orchestra.Russell Davies leads sumptuous yet finely detailed performances of these pieces.
Berio (1925-2003) recreated his Sequenza XI for solo guitar as the ensemble work Chemins V (1992). It is a delirious, sensuous trope on the original, allowing the guitarist – in this case the estimable Pablo Márquez – plenty of virtuosic solo work, while responding to it with imaginative orchestral textures. Some of these serve to augment the percussive quality of the guitar, while others lengthen and sustain the pitch material, creating a haloing effect. Partway through, a thunderous climax in the percussion precedes the longest of the solo cadenzas, underscoring that this is no mere arrangement but a profound reshaping of the original.
In the United States, Russell Davies may be best known for his championing of minimalists. However, like Maderna, his catalog and duties have been widespread both in terms of repertoire and geography. Witnessing him, years ago, tackle formidably complex premieres with American Composers Orchestra, it is gratifying to hear him return to similarly intricate fare in the Berio. Now, and Then is an imaginative and finely wrought recording: recommended.
The second collaboration from alt-folk guitarists Bill Mackay & Ryley Walker, SpiderBeetleBee, will be released on October 20th via Drag City. A lovely video below of railway travel in eras past accompanies their song “Lonesome Traveler.” Another track streams, as well as ordering instructions (you will want those), via their Bandcamp page (below).
Last week, Thrill Jockey recording artist Dan Friel released Guitar Module 2017, an album by his new trio Upper Wilds. Guitars rife with distortion and layered vocals populate the LP’s propulsive songs.
“UFO” is the album’s second single. It encapsulates the Upper Wilds’s approach to music-making, with the vocals interspersed with copious amounts of instrumental soloing and guitar switching back and forth between the roles of doubler and foil. Guitar Module 2017 is a versatile and compelling piece of work, likely to be appealing to hard rock and indie fans alike.
Best known for his work with Sonic Youth, in recent years Lee Ranaldo has carved out an interesting solo career. “Moroccan Mountains” is the lead off track from Electric Trim, his first LP for Mute (out 9/15/17). Check out the evocative, seven-and-a-half minute long video that accompanies the song below.