Elliott Sharp, Nick Schofield, and Adam Rudolph

Artist: Elliott Sharp

Title: Filiseti Mekidesi

LabelInfrequent Seams

Release Date: 01/29/21

Personnel: Elliott Sharp – composer, libretto, director; Tracie Morris – texts; Edwin Torres – texts; Kamilya Jubran – soprano
Voxnova Italia: Soprano: Susanna Rigacci; Mezzosoprano: Monica Benvenuti, Anna Clementi; Tenor: Sandro Naglia; Baritone: Oliviero Giorgiutti; Bass: Nicholas Isherwood; ENSEMBLE MUSIKFABRIK: Flute: Helen Bledsoe; Oboe: Peter Veale; Clarinet: Carl Rosman; Horn: Christine Chapman; Trumpet: Matthew Conley; Trombone: Bruce Collings; Tuba: Melvyn Poore; Keyboards: Ulrich Löffler, Benjamin Kobler; Percussion and drums: Rie Watanabe, Michael Weilacher; Violin: Hannah Weirich; Viola: Axel Porath; Violoncello: Dirk Wietheger; Contrabass: Florentin Ginot

Impression: Sharp’s newest opera Filiseti Mekidesi translates toshelter migration”, and the chilling tone he has created suitably mirrors the pathos the uprooting process continues to cause for so many refugees and immigrants in search of a safe, new home.

More Info: E# website

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Artist: Nick Schofield

Title: Glass Gallery

Label: Backward Music

Release Date: 02/5/21

Personnel: Nick Schofield – Prophet-600 Synth

Impression: Glass Gallery is majestic minimalist electronic music created entirely on a Sequential Circuits Prophet-600 synthesizer and acts as a soothing balm for the many stresses of our global pandemic.

More Info: Nick Schofield website

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Artist: Adam Rudolph

Title: Focus and Field

Label: Meta Records

Release Date: 12/4/20

Personnel: Sumie Kaneko – vocal, koto, shamisen; Stephanie Griffin – viola; Kaoru Watanabe – shinobue, noh kan, fue, taiko, percussion; gamin – piri, saenghwang; Sara Schoenbeck – bassoon; Ned Rothenberg – shakuhachi, bass clarinet; Ivan Barenboim – b flat clarinet, contra-alto clarinet; Michel Gentile – c, alto, and bass flutes, bamboo flutes; Adam Rudolph – handrumset

Impression: On Focus and Field Rudolph took inspiration from structural aspects of Japanese Noh theater, resulting in a satisfying and meditative sonic brew for those inclined towards soundworlds between Takemitsu and Don Cherry’s Codona project.

More Info: Meta Records site

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Craig Taborn’s Junk Magic, Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl, and Joshua Van Tassel

Artist: Craig Taborn’s Junk Magic

Title: Compass Confusion

Label: Pyroclastic Records

Release Date: 10/30/20

Personnel: Chris Speed – saxophone; Erik Fratzke – bass; Mat Maneri – viola; David King – drums; Craig Taborn – piano, keyboard and synthesizer

Impression: Compass Confusion detonates at the junction of Partch Parkway and Autechre Avenue forming it’s own superhighway, and then curtly curtsies as the most satisfying listening experience of 2020.

More Info: Craig Taborn’s sitePyroclastic Records and Compass Confusion page

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Artist: Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl

Title: Artlessly Falling

Label: Firehouse 12 Records

Release Date: 10/30/20

Personnel: Amirtha Kidambi – voice; Maria Grand – tenor saxophone, voice; Adam O’Farrill – trumpet; Mary Halvorson – guitar; Michael Formanek – bass; Tomas Fujiwara – drums, beer cans on track 2; Robert Wyatt – voice on tracks 1, 3, 5

Impression: Just when we were convinced the core of Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl couldn’t be improved upon, along comes the improbable and inspired inclusion of Robert Wyatt on guest vocals, one of so few utter delights of 2020 – though technically recorded in 2019, so maybe 2020 is actually all bad – only November will tell.

More Info: Mary Halvorson’s site and Firehouse 12 Records site

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Artist: Joshua Van Tassel

Title: Dance Music Volume II: More Songs For Slow Motion

Label: Backward Music

Release Date: 09/11/20

Personnel: Joshua Van Tassel – Ondea, Therevox, piano, vibraphone, field recordings, electronics; The Venuti String Quartet: Drew Jurecka – Violin Rebekah Wolkstein – Violin Lydia Muchinsky- Cello Shannon Knights – Viola

Impression: Horrendous acts of hatred and villainy have begotten great beauty: Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps, Picasso’s Guernica, and Basinskis The Disintegration Loops are now joined by Van Tassel’s Dance Music Volume II: More Songs For Slow Motion.

More Info: Joshua Van Tassel site

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