Listening - Monday, April 19th 2021

I’ve been struggling to decide what to listen to if anything recently when I woke up this morning and hungrily pulled 15 albums from the shelf.

I’ll list them here as I listen & see if I actually get through them all today.

Feels nice to really feel stoked about putting something on the stereo though!

Sudden Hunger

Another playlist.

Delicious 80s tape music in the popular acousmatic style of the time. Sadly the closing piece fell flat for me, but the rest of this collection is a top notch tour through 80s tape music as it was being practiced in Sweden at the time…

Highly textual, I wish I spoke French. Superficially this doesn’t leap out at me other than being an interesting piece of 60s new music… it has many interesting moments of combination and transition. I think I like the transitional moments the best. When things settle, they tend to tread water aesthetically until the next gleaming shift… still, it’s way more adventurous than most 60s art music and I think this wants a closer listen with more background and context than I was able to give it. The further into it I got, the more I enjoyed it. Past the idomatic 60s tropes there seems to actually be lots of interesting things happening… I still wish I could speak French.

Um, obviously also highly textual. :-) Most of the tracks on this are settings of famous poems. As the cover says: Williams, Neruda… but also there are some poems outside of the canon – the James Dashow and Thomas DeLio settings use texts by John Ashbery and P. Inman respectively…

The Wesley Fuller tracks kicking off the comp are all settings of poems by William Carlos Williams. This is.. just a classic style song cycle for piano and baritone. I thought the harmony throughout was nicely fluid and evocative, but these strike me as passable / nice idomatic studies that don’t venture far from convention…

I hate to write the effort off without having taken the time to for example study the relationship between the setting and the text, but beyond some inventive lush moments in the piano part (and there are some really nice piano moments) this just reads like a student work to me. In other words: mostly just passable, going through the motions, highly derivative.. maybe I’ve just heard too many student works in this style.

I’m now biding my time waiting on the Dashow which was the reason I tracked this compilation down in the first place!

In the meantime though, Shirish Korde has a much more creative (IMHO) ensemble offering in his Drowned Woman Of The Sky song cycle, which sets text by Pablo Neruda.

The vocal writing is interesting (yay!) and the ensemble part ebbs and flows along with the soprano… sorry Wesley Fuller but this is how you write a compelling song cycle. :)

Well, now I’m at the end of my day – I’d saved the Dashow and DeLio for last, but I think I hit my music saturation point for the day. That didn’t take very long!

So I’ll pick up on this again in the morning, then.


Now, the Dashow!

… has led me down a rabbit-hole. It’s OK, I was expecting that.

To be continued…