Joan La Barbara: Finding the Right Words to Inspire Sound

Joan La Barbara will turn 70 years old in June, but shows no signs of slowing down. La Barbara will premiere her new song cycle, The Wanderlusting of Joseph C., at Roulette in Brooklyn on May 24. The song cycle breaks with La Barbara’s usual style of vocal abstractions and moves firmly into the realm of language.

Playlist.

Jakub Hrůša, Keiji Haino, Anthony Braxton, Chaya Czernowin, Annika Socolofsky, Stefan Fraunberger, and other striking sounds heard lately at Night After Night HQ.

Album review: Pierluigi Billone, ITI KE MI; Equilibrio. Cerchio

Memory is a tricky thing – one reason why critics often abstain from speaking in absolutes. You might witness a live event of seemingly ineffable magnitude. Yet assuming there’s no recording immediately available, no dispassionate document by which to check your instincts once the moment of initial contact cools and fades, who’s to say whether you overreacted?

Mariel Robert and Eric Wubbels: Intensity and Immersion

As both a member of the highly regarding Mivos Quartet and as a solo artist in her own right, cellist Mariel Roberts has demonstrated an affinity for uncompromising music and a capacity for making even the most challenging works sing. Composer Eric Wubbels is among the numerous beneficiaries of Roberts’s advocacy – his gretchen Am Spinnrade, a duo for cello and piano, is featured on Roberts’s new CD, Cartography, with Wubbels himself at the piano. In advance of an album-release concert at National Sawdust on May 19, as well as a New York Philharmonic Contact! program that includes Wubbels’s katachi coming up at National Sawdust on May 22, the two sat down recently at a neighborhood café to compare experiences and agendas.

Playlist.

Bill Rieflin, Jaimie Branch, Roscoe Mitchell, Ben Richter, Alice Coltrane, Threefifty, Erkki Kurenniemi, and other striking sounds heard lately at Night After Night HQ.

Album review: David Lang, thorn

For all that his large-scale works have commanded the spotlight over the last decade or so, David Lang initially burst into the public eye and ear with pithy, concise, and clever chamber works… On ‘thorn,’ an appealing new CD by flutist Molly Barth, Lang’s puckish instrumental miniatures assume center stage.

Steven Schick: In Pursuit of an Externally Facing Artistic Practice

Making music today must be about nothing less than asserting moral force. It must be about how we — we who have so much and who live so fully — can act responsibly in a world where so many have so little. It must be about the voices too faint to hear.

Playlist.

Igor Levit, Aaron Dilloway, Zeal & Ardor, Vanessa Rossetto, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Félicia Atkinson, Daniel Corral, and other striking sounds heard lately at Night After Night HQ.

Album Review: Vanessa Rossetto, erased de kooning + rocinante

Everything that’s erased leaves its trace of its passage behind: a point as familiar to the manuscript recyclers of antiquity to modern-day digital data-recovery sleuths. Deletion rarely amounts to a positive thing, but on ‘erased de kooning,’ one of two recent recordings by Vanessa Rossetto, an act of bulk erasure results in an absorbing new piece surprisingly rich in ghostly associations.

Tristan Perich and Christopher Tignor: Intuitive Processes

Though it’s not exactly a case of “opposites attract,” those who know the music of composer-performers Tristan Perich and Christopher Tignor might not automatically pair the two creators despite a shared association with electroacoustic music and technical ingenuity. Yet in a recent interview in advance of their joint appearance at National Sawdust on May 5, they discovered a healthy amount of overlap in their working methods and philosophies.