Colin Stetson is reimagining Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony

I just read on twitter that Colin Stetson, one of the greatest saxophonists alive, is working on a new version of one of the greatest symphonies of the 20th century.

Here’s the trailer, featuring a minute of the newly recorded composition:

Henryk Górecki’s famed third symphony, perhaps the absolute standard when it comes to mournful modern classical music, is a personal favorite of mine. I played it after both of my parents died. I even listened after my cats passed away. It evoked perhaps the purest expression of sadness I’ve ever heard. Some music is perfect for anguish, some for anger, and some for absolute despair. Symphony No. 3 is sadness distilled, a cathartic listen if there ever was one.

This symphony was my introduction to holy minimalism, a term coined to describe the work of Polish-born Górecki and fellow Eastern European composer Arvo Pärt, as well as many others. This is perhaps my favorite “genre” of modern classical music, so you could imagine how excited I am at the prospect of one of my favorite current musicians tackling this monumental piece.

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Colin Stetson’s solo work has been a juggernaut in the world of experimental jazz. His playing and recording techniques have produced saxophone music like the world has never heard. I imagine the man can channel that unrivaled ability and passion into this timeless masterpiece, and I’ll believe it when I hear it.

Here’s hoping it turns out as incredible as it deserves to be.

Oneohtrix Point Never has a new song, first single from Garden of Delete

If you follow this blog at all, you’ll know that Oneohtrix Point Never is one of my favorite living artists. Every time he releases new material, it’s a shock to the system, a completely unexpected delight.

This time is no different. Here’s the song, I Bite Through It:

Supposedly he’s been on an industrial tip after crafting a special set of abrasive material for his tour in support of Nine Inch Nails, but this sounds, typically for OPN, like an utter mushroom cloud deconstruction and reconfiguration of the genre, if anything. It’s too early to fully process this, and like every album of his, we’ll need the full context to truly understand. I’m just jazzed we’ve got something new to enjoy!

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The album comes out November 13 on Warp (WARP266) and you can preorder it from Bleep. I’m doing that right now because I’m a hopeless addict.

Joanna Newsom Has Returned! New Single: Sapokanikan

I absolutely love Joanna Newsom.

I was just talking with friends the other day, sharing our hopes that Newsom would return possibly after winter, early next year. Her last album, the monumental triple-disc Have One On Me was not only a masterpiece; it sustained enough soul-chilling moments to last us the past half-decade.

So expectations are kind of high for her upcoming album, Divers. Announced today along with this video, it’s coming a week after my birthday: October 23, this year.

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Black To Comm’s Gigantic Self-Titled Album

This album made a spot on my Best of 2014: Honorable Mention list, for a lot of great reasons. Here it is, streaming free in its entirety.

 

It breaks traditionally stone-faced drone music into wondrous, almost funny eruptions of surprise and joy. Its 83 minute running time seems monolithic and impenetrable until you actually hit play and topple inward. The first track bursts with a mischievous philosophical rant, peaking with the line,

“Grab yourself by the anus and turn yourself inside out. Reveal your inner workings! Put that which is most basic out into the light, and put the decorative outer wrappings where they belong.”

The final track ends in a fever dream of early industrial rock vocals and manicured feedback swirls. A whole lot of really fun, weird music happens in between. Fans of Fennesz, black metal, drone rock, David Lynch, and fucked up dreams: listen now.

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Black To Comm is the artist name of German musician Marc Richter. He doesn’t have a lot of pictures online, so I just thought I’d share the album art in high resolution.

Aphex Twin – asiatsana [live]

It’s been an amazing week for Aphex Twin fans and everyone else with open ears. Still digesting Syro, I feel compelled to share this clip. It features a piano on a swing.

Asiatsana, rendered on prepared piano, sends the listener off on glistening waves of heartbreaking beauty. This spare sound echoes around chirping birds in an ancient, solitary space that Richard D. James gently inhabits on rare occasion (see also: Avril 14th or Jynweythek Ylow).

There are a couple interesting things to note about this tune. First, the name is his wife’s – Anastasia -rendered backwards. That’s easy enough. Secondly, “prepared” simply means that something has been done to a piano to create specific, idiosyncratic sounds for a given piece of music. Sometimes objects are placed on the hammers to mute or otherwise modify their tone. In this case, RDJ has swung a piano on a giant harness to bend pitch via the Doppler effect. It’s gorgeous. It’s over the top. It’s perfect, as far as I’m concerned.

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This is a somewhat recent photo of Richard, looking far less crazy than I’m used to. I’m not worried about him going boring, though. I’m sure he’s still got tits and a satanic grimace on the inside!

Remember, you can buy Syro from Warp and probably everywhere else on the internet. Just listen to it. New Aphex Twin music exists!

Destroyer – The Laziest River

When I purchased the 2lp edition of Destroyer‘s 2011 pop masterpiece Kaputt, I had no idea that the bonus track promised on side C would slowly become the languid circulatory system of the entire album.  It swims in an embryonic well from which the other tracks drink, all held breath and deep plunge.  It’s patient and fragile, and just may comprise twenty of my favorite minutes.

If you have only heard the standard tracklisting, press play now.  It’s rare when something labelled “bonus” actually elevates the experience of listening to a great album.  The Laziest River feels absolutely essential at this point, and while I sympathize with the probable intention of encouraging vinyl purchases, it seems unfair to leave everyone else with an unfinished story.  So buy it if you can, but this song can be downloaded and amended to your playlist for a quick fix.

Best Songs of 2012, part 2: “N.E.W.”

This will loop indefinitely over the Elysian fields of an afterlife of my design.

Actress (aka Darren Cunningham) redefined ambient beauty with this piece, lighting the spiritual wires from the organ works of Camille Saint-Saëns through Brian Eno’s Discreet Music while sparking fresh air to flame.  Blooming the color of Arvo Pärt’s devotional tilt in an exploratory space odyssey from the dreams of Oneohtrix Point Never or Stanley Kubrick, N.E.W. is uplifting and warm, alien and awestruck.  We’re inside a nebulous pipe organ riding the cusp of a singularity, dancing on the membrane between ascension and obliteration.  Let it repeat.

I should mention the video:  I have no clue where the footage is from, but it strangely works.  This copy was chosen mainly, however, because it can be set to 720p, so the sound quality is superb.