APNM (Association for the Promotion of New Music) releases Vol. 3 of their ongoing series documenting recordings of music by their member composers. Featuring works by Erik Lundborg, Ionel Petroi, Hiroya Miura, Louis Goldford, Michael Gogins, Peter Child, Aine Nakamura, and Krists Auznieks, APNM Vol. 3 is an important chronicle of a core organization in the New York new music community.
The third volume of releases from the APNM (Association for the Promotion of New Music) focuses on works that incorporate the electronic medium. Techniques ranging from analog synthesis, manipulation of pre-recorded material, strictly computer generated material, and integration with live performance shape the works in this set. The APNM was founded in 1975 by Jacques-Louis Monod to provide a community for composers with a shared aesthetic sensibility. The organization presents concerts, promotion, and publishing services to its member composers.
Erik Lundborg’s haunting Miss Anderson opens the program. Assembling material from a synclavier improvisation in 1987 by the composer, the work is expansive and atmospheric. A dense series of sustained harmonies morphs as internal voices are added, removed, and shifted, creating a seven minute chorale. Registral and timbral changes mark structural areas, notably the introduction of airy, gong-like songs near the five and half minute mark that lend the final ninety seconds of the work a disembodied character.
Ionel Petroi’s Huit Danses Surprise features sounds from the DX7 synthesizer, processed with rapid frequency modulations. Quick, narrow oscillations of pitch in the introduction are reminiscent of the theremin, creating concentrated energy within each new pitch entrance. A more diverse textural landscape follows, with rhythmic articulations framing a series of contrasting gestures, and a sectional form carving out space to explore various timbral variations. The closing passage of the piece returns to the sound world of the introduction, albeit in intensified form.
Hiroya Miura’s Chromatograph - Hommage to Švankmajer takes its inspiration from the work of a Czech master of stop motion animation, Jan Švankmajer. Fascinated by the ways that the viewer’s perception of visual objects can be shaped by how an animator handles the transition from one frame to the next, Miura composed a work that emulates this process in sound. Focusing on the tremolo technique of mallet instruments, itself an illusion of sustain produced by stringing together many minute elements not unlike animation, Miura played with the rate of articulation and arrangement of material to experiment with ways of shading the composite result.
Louis Goldford’s De la détente for fixed media, violin, and cello, is dedicated to Michael McElvain, a friend of Goldford’s and pianist who tragically passed away. We hear processed excerpts of McElvain’s voice, taken from voicemails Goldford saved, mixed with shards of material in the violin and cello. Goldford embeds glitchy, unstable textures throughout the piece, almost to suggest a fragile connection with someone who is no longer with us, piecing together fragments of sonic memory. Despite the melancholy context, we also hear hints of the casual, whimsical communication he shared with McElvain in Goldford’s treatment of the voicemail recordings and the character of interaction between the acoustic instruments and the electronics.
Three Trees 1 by Michael Gogins is an algorithmically generated composition that uses a system Gogins designed in Java. The percolating modal material undulates through arpeggiated figures, reveling in bell-like timbres and varying levels of density. The coolness of the sounds and inexorable unfolding of material give the piece an otherworldly quality.
Peter Child’s When the Sky Clears is written for computer generated sound and narrator, using Pure Data and relying on sounds that are drawn from the early vocabulary of electronic music, such as sinusoidal oscillators, filtered noise, and musique concrète. As such, no live performance is exactly the same. The Gertrude Stein-esque text is by visual artist Lina Viste Grønli, and plays with syntax, meaning, and the ambiguous nature of language, and in its climactic stanza, plays with the phrase “This is not America” in the context of the charged atmosphere during the Trump era. A recording of a storm and subsequent bird song follows, providing a hopeful coda.
Aine Nakamura’s The koma is not for spinning is a sound collage of recordings of the composer’s voice speaking in English and Japanese, and singing. Engaging with issues of multi-dimensional identity, home, and the natural world, Nakamura creates a ritualistic meditation that straddles diverse sources of expression.
The final work on the recording, Krists Auznieks’ Avots, is written for fixed media with glockenspiel, and centers that instrument’s fragile, innocent timbre as a focal point around which the electronics create swelling, atmospheric halos of sound. The glockenspiel plays constellations of luminous pitches, outlining similar contours with subtle variation. At the midpoint of the piece, the glockenspiel rests, revealing the undulating chords in the electronics, before returning with a scalar passage, surrounded by tintinnabulating tremolos.
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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