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by Ryan Muncy

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ism is the second solo album by saxophonist Ryan Muncy, and the third on the International Contemporary Ensemble’s New Focus imprint, TUNDRA. The recording resurrects one of the instrument’s forgotten masterpieces alongside a diverse collection of newer works which continue to highlight the instrument’s increasingly prominent role in new music.
The centerpiece of the album, James Tenney’s 1978 Saxony, is a 27-minute musical arch that traverses the entire saxophone family in a harmonic vocabulary rooted in the overtone series. The work’s pluralism presents a challenge for the performer: Tenney closely controls the harmonic structure and temporal pacing, but leaves the style, timbre, phrasing and melodic content to the performer. This recording showcases Muncy’s ability as an improviser, storyteller, and remarkably versatile musician. Erin Gee’s Mouthpiece XXIV for saxophone and percussion features extraordinary percussionist Ross Karre while solo works by David Reminick, Morgan Krauss, and Evan Johnson each push the instrument to reveal newly-idiomatic expressive abilities. The album closes with a tribute to composer Lee Hyla, a close friend and collaborator of Muncy, whose two-minute Pre-Amnesia (1979) begs for the instrument’s extremes.
The album’s aim is to cast the “-ism”—a suffix which has signified a number of musical practices and artistic movements—onto the ever-increasing breadth of tremendous new works for saxophone. Muncy’s playing and curation are focused, putting his formidable virtuosity at the service of a piercing musicality. The artwork and collectible physical object were designed by renowned paper engineer and illustrator Simon Arizpe (simonarizpe.com).


released September 9, 2016

Engineered, edited, mixed, and mastered by Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audio
Produced by Ryan Muncy, Ryan Streber, and Joshua Rubin (track 1)
Recorded on June 29-30, 2015
Design by Simon Arizpe
Ross Karre, percussion, on track 2




New Focus Recordings New York, New York

New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary music of many stripes, as well as new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Daniel Lippel (who is the current director), composer engineer Ryan Streber, and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003-4, and features releases from many of new music's most active performers and composers. ... more

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