Geoffrey Smith surveys recordings by guitarist Bill Frisell
Tchaikovsky, Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (concert version) / Nine Sacred Pieces, G. Dziļums, K. Rūtentāls, Latvian Radio Choir, S. Kļava
(released on June 14, 2019)
Ondine ODE1336-2 | 77’07″The appearance of the Latvian Radio Choir at the Library of Congress last fall was one of the highlights of the year in music. Their new disc, recorded earlier this year in the resonant acoustic of Riga’s
Classic Album Sundays New York City, the communal active listening sessions founded by Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, revisits this all-time classic. We invite you to take a seat in front of the hifi, listen and learn with your hosts, Paul Raffaele & Barbie Bertisch, founders of Love Injection Fanzine. Join us monthly on a Sunday to unpack some of the most iconic LPs in existence.
New York City
Time and Date: Sunday July 21st 2019 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Nowadays, 56-06 Cooper Ave. Ridgewood, NY 11385
Paul Raffaele and Barbie Bertisch
The post Classic Album Sundays NYC Presents Air ‘Moon Safari’ appeared first on Classic Album Sundays.
Classic Albums Sundays DC celebrates Air’s “Moon Safari” on the 50th anniversary of the Moon Walk!
On the cover of Air’s 1998 debut album, in small letters next to the duo’s logo, are the words “French Band.” A lot of people thought that was their name: Air French Band. They appeared on the soundtrack of Doug Liman’s 1999 screwball-rave movie Go as “Air French Band.” And while that moniker might’ve been just monstrously clumsy, you can see how some people might’ve been fooled. After all, Frenchness was and is central to Air’s identity in a way that it never really was for, for instance, Air’s contemporaries and countrymen in Daft Punk. Daft Punk might’ve more or less pioneered a strain of dance music that was known, however briefly, as “French touch,” but they sounded like they came from Detroit and Germany at the same time. Air could’ve only ever been French.
One of the things that makes France — especially to those of us who, say, only went to France once, when we were kids — so fascinating is this strange contradiction that exists at the heart of French popular culture. The French, after all, developed their own form of implacable, existentialist cool, and yet the country, time and again, seems to fall in love with the cheesiest elements of our own popular culture. It’s a vast overgeneralization, but this is the country that produced Le Samourai and still fell in love with The Nutty Professor. So it is with Moon Safari, an album that absorbs and internalizes some of the worst impulses of mellowed-out mid-’70s cheese-pop, then sells them back to us as exquisite space-lounge.
Join us at one of our album listening sessions around the world to experience Air in a way you never have before.
Time and Date: Sunday July 21st 2019 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Songbyrd, 2477 18th st NW, Washington, DC 20009, United States
Audio Menu provided by Audioism.
REGA Planar 3 turntable with Elys MM Cartridge, REGA Fono MM Phono Preamp, Audioism MicroZOTL Preamp (David Berning Design), Audioism Venue-Class Playback System, Xcilica HD System Processor, Audioism ZOTL Amplifiers (David Berning Design), Class AB Hybrid Amplification for Subs, WyWires Audio Interconnects
The post Classic Album Sundays D.C. Presents Air ‘Moon Safari’ appeared first on Classic Album Sundays.
The 33⅓ series revolutionized the music book. If you’re not familiar with the format, it’s a pocket-sized book series (usually just a little bigger than a CD case), that gives an author free rein to crystallize their favourite albums’ spot in the canon and cut to the quick of what fans want to know: How the album was made, what the principals thought, what the producers contributed, how fans reacted, what else happened while it was made.
In a world where analysis of any kind seems increasingly scarce — but especially music analysis — it’s no surprise that fans of vinyl records and physical media are so drawn to the deep wells of scrutiny and ideas made available by 33⅓. These are basically longer-form liner notes that we spend hours obsessing over. After reading every available volume in 2014, Slate’s Stephanie Burt said of the series, “I’ve learned more than I thought I could learn, and sometimes more than I wanted to learn, about acts I loved and acts I learned to enjoy, acts I discovered and acts I still loathe (sorry, Ween fans).”
No note is left unturned in the quest to discover the intent, feeling, and meaning of each track and how that divine alliance of songs forms the album. Getting beyond the headline act, 33⅓ books often give you a closer look, giving credit to collaborators (there are always many, even when it appears otherwise) who otherwise escape the spotlight, especially studio engineers.
The series was founded in 2003 by editor David Barker and published by Continuum. At the time, Continuum was focusing on philosophers. Barker, a music obsessive, thought the concept would be great applied to albums. As the series started to saunter from its academic roots and adopt more creative interpretations, the future wasn’t looking so bright. Bloomsbury, buoyed by the huge success of Harry Potter, acquired Continuum in 2010 and took it from there.
The series has stuck with its academic ethos. As with most music writing these days, it’s a passion pursuit rather than an economic one. While in the early days the going rate for a 33⅓ volume was $2,000 per book, as author Daphne Carr — who wrote the volume on Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine — put it, “the standard rate is zero dollars, all of which is paid immediately.” In a turn of art imitating art, authors are compensated with royalties, which might not be much, unless it’s picked up by a professor for coursework.
Being anything but strict and prescriptive in the rules for the series, 33⅓ takes the opposite approach, allowing the books to be as creative, experimental, and groundbreaking as their subject matter. It’s allowed music writing to evolve in a way that it couldn’t have otherwise. Some volumes are straight musical analysis; OK Computer’s volume is written by a musicologist at Oxford University and takes quite an academic slant, while the dissection of REM’s Murmur offers linguistic analysis.
Others take heavy strains of personal narrative. Sign O’ The Times takes you on a journey through the author’s personal relationship with the album. Even more tangential is Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey To The End Of Taste. The much talked-about meta-study delves into the status of musical judgement, the history of kitsch, “bad taste,” and the history of Quebec to boot.
Some of the more interesting takes on the 33⅓ imprint put a fictional character or narrator between themselves and the subject. The volume on Band’s Music In The Big Pink from John Niven has been dubbed a “factional novella.” It retells the story of how the album came together through the eyes of the fictional Greg Keltner. Other fictionalized takes include PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me: A Story, which is a series of short stories by Kate Schatz. Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle, a former psychiatric nurse, employs therapy notes to retell a character’s love of Ozzy Osbourne in his 33⅓ volume on Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality.
Their 135-book (and growing) catalog is diverse, starting with Dusty Springfield’s Dusty in Memphis and covering albums from Sly And The Family Stone, A Tribe Called Quest, Tori Amos, and The Magnetic Fields, to name a few. While more mainstream and already celebrated albums do get a look in, it’s as much about celebrating the underground and giving a voice to the subcultures that don’t necessarily generate the same kind of online traffic as Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj. 33⅓ gives us deeper access to the unsung heroes of modern and alternative landscapes, like My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, LCD Soundsystem, J Dilla, and Ween.
While many fear that as the pervasiveness of the album declines, a book series like 33⅓ is also under threat. The volume on Talking Heads’ Fear of Music by Jonathan Letham was slated to be the last volume back in 2012, but series editors Ally-Jane Grossan and Barker continue to rally for it. “Just imagine trying to explain Sleater-Kinney to a room full of British publishers who have just concluded a discussion of the potential market for a linguistics monograph on the semiotics of Che Guevara.” Well, I know which I’d rather read.
If anything, the book series is more important than ever in an attention-deficit world, forcing the reader to slow down and think about the album as a whole — the nuances in each song and the work that goes into producing art (both album and book). For a younger generation who perhaps has less appreciation for the album as a cohesive format or understanding of why it should be embraced, it’s a key education piece, and way to communicate with future generations.
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Donald Macleod explores “the poet of the piano”, Fryderyk Chopin.
Donald starts this week’s episode with a look at how Chopin’s Polish heritage shaped his music. Although he left the country at the age of 20, dance forms like the polonaise and mazurka left a strong mark on his writing. Next, we catch fleeting glimpses of the composer through his letters, and his relationship with his instrument, the piano. Chopin’s reticence to perform made his rare appearances extremely lucrative, but he much preferred the more intimate and sociable surroundings of the salon, where his trademark light touch could be appreciated to the full. We hear about Chopin through the eyes of his most illustrious contemporaries – his lover George Sand, and fellow composers Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann. To end, stories of the composer’s ever-feeble health – Berlioz is supposed to have said Chopin was “dying all his life” – which makes the scale of his achievement all the more heroic.
‘Życzenie’ (The maiden’s wish), Op 74 No 1
Piano Concerto No 2 in F minor, Op 21 (3rd mvt, Allegro vivace)
4 Mazurkas, Op 17
Polonaise No 5 in C minor, Op 40 No 2
Polonaise No 6 in A flat, Op 53 (‘Heroic’)
Ballade No 4 in F minor, Op 52
2 Mazurkas (Mazurka in G; Mazurka in B flat)
Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor, Op 11 (2nd mvt, Romance—Larghetto)
Preludes, Op 28
3 Mazurkas, Op 50 (No 1 in G; No 2 in A flat; No 3 in C sharp minor)
2 Nocturnes, Op 55 (No 1 in F minor; No 2 in E flat)
Etude in A flat, Op 25 No 1 (‘Aeolian Harp’)
‘Krakowiak’: Grand Concert Rondo in F, Op 14
Mazurka in B minor, Op 33 No 4
Andante spianato, Op 22 No 1
Impromptu No 3 in G flat, Op 51
Nocturne in F sharp minor, Op 48 No 2
Barcarolle, Op 60
Etude in C, Op 10 No 1
Ballade No 2 in F, Op 38
Variations in B flat major on ‘La ci darem la mano’, from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, Op 2
Scherzo No 4 in E, Op 54
Sonata in G minor for piano and cello, Op 65 (2nd and 3rd movements)
Mazurka in G minor, Op 67 No 2
2 Nocturnes, Op 27 (No 1 in C sharp minor, Larghetto; No 2 in D flat, Lento sostento)
Scherzo No 3 in C sharp minor, Op 39
Ballade No 3 in A flat, Op 47
Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58 (3rd movement, Largo)
Waltz in E flat, Op 18 (‘Grande valse brillante’)
Berceuse, Op 57
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales
For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Fryderyk Chopin https://ift.tt/2RFfDxj
And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q