Second Inversion hosts and community members share a favorite selection from this Friday’s playlist and a few other gems, too. Tune in at the indicated times below on Friday, April 29 to hear these pieces. In the meantime, you’ll hear other great new and unusual music from all corners of the classical genre 24/7!
Nina Simone: Stars from Little Girl Blue (Naive Records)
Elton John named one of his pianos after her, Beyoncé cited her as a strong musical influence, and in 2014 cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton released an entire album dedicated to offering Nina Simone the voice of her cello. That album is Little Girl Blue, and we’re featuring one of the pieces from said album that I admire most: “Stars.” The bare texture of “Stars” gives it a sober atmosphere, yet it is a passionate piece that keeps building up. – Rachele Hales
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 8am hour today to hear this recording.
Donnacha Dennehy: Stainless Staining from Stainless Staining; Lisa Moore, piano (Cantaloupe Music)
This is a busy time of year. Personally, I have lately been in the mood to just keep my head down and focus on the tasks at hand. The vacations and summer plans are all arranged, but right now, there’s work to be done. My pick for this week is music that supports such a mindset: Donnacha Dennehy’s Stainless Staining. The intricate rhythmic modulations and evolving motives here are the perfect soundtrack for taking care of business. This is not surprising, given the cinematic qualities that are present in this work; at points, this piece sounds like a film score in search of a film. The sustained intensity to which this piece builds is somewhat unexpected given its minimalistic and relatively relaxed opening, but it is ultimately quite pleasing. Also notable is the wide variety of sounds that Moore draws out of the piano; these sounds and their flow into and out of each other are truly beguiling. Have that third cup of coffee and enjoy the ride! – Seth Tompkins
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 10am hour today to hear an excerpt from this recording.
Brian Eno and Icebreaker: Stars from Apollo (Cantaloupe Music)
Music can take you anywhere in the world—from the shores of Spain to the Steppes of Central Asia, from the romantic forests of France to the regal palaces of Russia. But music also has the power to take you far beyond this world—out into the dark mysteries and uncharted territories of the universe.
Brian Eno’s Apollo takes you to the furthest reaches of outer space through a series of ambient and atmospheric pieces performed by the 12-piece contemporary music group Icebreaker. The pieces were originally composed in the 1980s for a feature-length documentary titled For All Mankind, directed by Al Reinert. The original version of the film had no narration, and simply featured 35mm footage of the Apollo moon missions collected together and set to Eno’s music.
But honestly, you don’t have to watch the movie to appreciate the music—it stands on its own. Icebreaker brings sparkle, polish, and an inimitable sense of awe to Eno’s music, highlighting the shimmering timbres, subtle orchestration, and nebulous atmospheres of outer space. We can’t all be astronauts, but this music will definitely have you seeing stars. – Maggie Molloy
Tune in to Second Inversion in the 5pm hour today to hear an excerpt from this recording.
Ahnnu: Perception (Leaving Records)
LA-based composer Leland “Ahnnu” Jackson artfully dissects the customs of hip-hop for their abstract emotional essence in his 2015 album, Perception. Mixing field recordings with ‘90s mixtape production methods, Ahnnu creates a dusty, distant ventilator hum, which slips into the subconscious unnoticed, rendering the album a soundscape for the id. Ahnnu bypasses the rules and logic of perception and, with surgical precision, stimulates the limbic system in a considerable number of ways – the neck-prickling, nervous, noir energy of Informant’s modulated synths to the nostalgic, reflective, vinyl textures of Anneal. Given hip-hop’s well established extroversion, Ahnnu’s ambitious project taking the art form to conceptual introversion yields highly intriguing results. – Brendan Howe