A weekly rundown of the music our staff and listeners are loving lately! Are you interested in contributing some thoughts on your favorite new music albums? Drop us a line!
Joshua Roman on JACK Quartet’s recording of Tetras by Iannis Xenakis:
From the insanity of the opening glissandi, or slides, to the final whimper, it’s hard to imagine a more captivating 17.5 minutes than Tetras. The precision and intensity brought to this performance by the JACK Quartet are almost frightening. If you can pull your jaw off the floor long enough to get past the shock and awe factor, the innovative structure and sounds of the piece kick in. Fantastical glissandi of all shapes and sizes, wild percussive sounds (using many parts of the instruments not traditionally in play), tremolo and hitherto unheard of scales are provocative and forceful in their narrative roles. Underneath all of that, Tetras creates a space where your imagination can go wild, at times wailing, at times full palpable tension, or in chaotic ecstasy.
Maggie Molloy on Florent Ghys’s Télévision:
I listen to the weather forecast pretty much every morning—but I have never heard it like this before. French composer and bassist Florent Ghys’s eclectic new album “Télévision” begins with a piece composed for double bass, voice, guitars, percussion, and, oh yeah, five weather forecasts. Yes, five weather forecasts.
But it’s not all just sunshiny, warm weatherman banter—the piece actually serves as an introduction to Ghys’s idiosyncratic compositional style. As the title of the album suggests, his music is like a mashup of video and sound clips, sampled speech, multi-tracking, found sound, and more—and it’s all tied together with perfectly groovy pizzicato basslines and subtle yet witty social commentary. The colorful and unapologetically contemporary works live somewhere in the realm between chamber music, minimalism, sound art, and seriously catchy pop tunes.
So the next time you’re looking for something new, turn off your TV and tune into Florent Ghys’s musique concrète masterpiece, “Télévision.”
Maggie Stapleton on Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal’s Musique de Nuit:
This duo is one of my go-to musical pick-me-ups. The delicate, sprinkling sounds of the kora along with the low, resonant cello is a soundscape that can turn around a glum day or transport me to a centered place. Musique de Nuit is a spectacular follow-up to their debut album, Chamber Music (which, BTW, was on our pilot playlist for Second Inversion when we created the project three years ago!) and was recorded in a mere TWO sessions – one on Ballake Sissoko’s rooftop in Bamako, and one in a studio. Who does that? These guys. With infuence from West African folk traditions, a hint of Baroque music, and a fresh take on the concept of “Night Music,” rest assured you can listen to this morning, day, or night and retreat to a world of enchantment.