This year, Toronto-based vocalist Fides Krucker‘s first foray into improvisatory composition Vanishing is released in the United States and internationally on guitarist Tim Motzer’s own 1k Recordings imprint.

Made up of spontaneous compositions, the album finds the musical unit of Krucker and Motzer exploring six surreal, melancholic, and emotionally charged tracks they dub as ‘lost worlds’ and ‘sonic films’. Born of five days of improvisation in 2017 in a Philadelphia heatwave, Vanishing’s six tracks are intended to present wordless stories and ‘conversations’ between the musician’s organic interplay. Of the compositional process, Motzer notes that, “[regardless of] the choice of a key or mode, the parameters of loops, or microphones; it did not take much for one of us to begin and the other to follow. Twice—when one voice was not enough—Fides added a second improvised line.”


Vanishing opens with the brief “Scintilla”: Krucker’s voice sings with crystal clarity on simple vocables, as Motzer’s plaintive guitar crawls in, and the song comes to a natural, grieving crescendo. Throughout the rest of the album, Krucker continues to masterfully present various haunting colors from her voice: hums, lilt, sob, twang, fry, chant, breaks, drones, and operatic wails that veer into glossolalia. She evokes the broad kinship of other vocal pioneers like Patty Waters, Cathy Berberian, and Lisa Gerrard — all while maintaining her own identity. 

Similarly exploratory is Motzer, who sympathetically uses prepared guitar, e-bow, and electronic elements to ensure an immersive, otherworldly soundtrack. On the title track “Vanishing”, he uses reversed sounds and a Spanish-like guitar feel for a beautiful underlay; whereas on “Ruins” and “Eema”, both artists weave unnerving but engaging dark, synthetic atmospheres with real-time loops and modification.

New York-based drummer Jeremy Carlstedt joins the duo on both “Density” and the title track, adding sensitive textural support throughout. Of “Density”, Krucker says, “it was made after a conversation about Trump — that’s why it is so heavy — and that was Summer 2017. Things are so much worse now. There is a grieving in the album and a sharing of culture…”


Advanced praise from a previously limited Canadian release of Vanishing comes by way of Innerviews, where Anil Prasad paints Krucker’s voice as both “lovely” and “elastic” — and All About Jazz, whose Geno Thackara boldly glows, “Fides Krucker’s voice is less an instrument than a force of nature.” The Whole Note’s Andrew Timar also described the album as “cinematic in scope”, pegging the musicianship as “superb”. Timar also quips, “some days taking a walk on the sonic wild side is what the doctor should order.”


Vanishing is now available for download and streaming on Bandcamp: https://1krecordings.bandcamp.com/album/vanishing

A special CD pressing is also available, signed by the artists. The CD is limited to 200 copies, and includes an 8” x 12” poster. Photography for the album was provided by Avraham Bank, and designed by Yesim Tosuner of Backyard Design.

Works on the album are:
1 Scintilla・2 Vanishing・3 Ruins・4 Rime・5 Density・6 Eema


For more about the artists, please visit fideskrucker.com and timmotzer.com

To inquire about a physical or digital review copy,
please write to [email protected]

This Spring, Lawler + Fadoul, the duo of flutist Zara Lawler and marimbist Paul J. Fadoul formally launch and celebrate their second album Clickable: The Art of Persuasion, released earlier this year on Ravello Records, an imprint of PARMA Recordings. The album is the foundation of their theatrical concert that explores both the “music and words of persuasion.” With powerful storytelling, the album masterfully conveys both positive and negative angles of coercion, pressure, manipulation, and coaxing with virtuosic instrumentals, song, and theatrical text.

Clickable deals with timely issues of propaganda, self-promotion and social media, and the power of music to create community. At a time when many people are at home consuming media, one can become unaware of the persuasive language entering our consciousness daily. Clickable both calls attention to that phenomenon, and provides an antidote through fun, rich, and complex music making.

The album includes: a spoken-word commentary on social media (Click. Tweet. Like. Repost., with words by poet Liza Jessie Peterson); dust jacket texts set to music (one of the books being Power Money Fame Sex, from the self-help satire book of the same name by Gretchen Rubin), — plus a lullaby, a protest song, a serenade, and four commercial jingles.

I always thought it would be cool to do a show that had live commercial breaks! And then once we started to think of jingles as this incredibly American artform of persuasive music, it just expanded into these other kinds of persuasive music.
Zara Lawler

Clickable includes commissioned works by Canadian composer Jason Nett, American composer Ralph Farris, and hip-hop poet Liza Jessie Peterson. Comprised of studio and concert hall recordings, and one live track, the theatrical bent of Clickable is presented in the audio-only experience by way of different sound environments, sound effects, layering, and unusual instrumentation. Beyond the core of flute and marimba, Lawler + Fadoul’s fresh arrangements of folk and baroque composers plays with a palette of vocals, dulcimer, washboard, and even boxes of candy used as maracas.

Clickable was incubated and debuted at nancy nanocherian’s the cell theatre.


Please note: A previously announced performance which was to be held this Spring at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre at New York’ Symphony Space will be rescheduled for Fall 2020.


For more about Lawler + Fadoul, please visit lawlerandfadoul.com

To inquire about a physical or digital review copy,
please write to [email protected]

On Thursday, April 9th, 2020, 8pm, the Interpretations Series continues its 31st season with founder Thomas Buckner interpreting world premieres. Held at Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY, tickets are $20 for adults / $15 for students & seniors, and available on Roulette.org and Interpretations.info

Soo Yeon Lyuh with her haegeum

Baritone Thomas Buckner presents his 31st annual concert premiering newly commissioned works.  This concert features performers/composers who use varying degrees of improvisation in their works. All composers featured will perform – Earl Howard (synthesizer and saxophones); String Noise’s Pauline Kim Harris (violin);  JD Parran (woodwinds); and Buckner himself.

They will be joined by Conrad Harris (violin). Soo Yeon Lyuh (haegeum, a two-stringed Korean bowed instrument); Andrew Drury (percussion).

Composers who have remained active performers share a quality of spontaneity and individuality that I find particularly appealing, states Buckner. “The composers on this program have improvised and performed written music with me over many years, and understand through experience how I work, and my particular strengths as a singer. Each has responded to the challenge of writing specifically for me in an original and challenging way.


WORKS ARE:


Pauline Kim Harris (String Noise)

※ Pauline Kim Harris’s Gold/Crack, a new large-scale composition by violinist/composer Pauline Kim Harris. Written specially for baritone, Thomas Buckner and violin duo, String Noise, it is a trilogy that may be performed in single movements, in pairs or as a whole. The work is inspired by the Korean word “geum,” which means both “gold” and “crack,”  evoking the belief that strength comes with imperfection by mending and rebuilding brokenness. Gold/Crack is also inspired by sculptor Yeesookyung’s Translated Vase: a Moon Jar made from discarded fragments of other Moon Jars, held together with 24k gold leaf epoxy; and by a John Ashbury poem, Untitled. The text is interspersed throughout as a reflection of memory and echo of the most inner subconscious.

Earl Howard

※ Earl Howard – “Particle Bey”  – for baritone, electronics and live processing, and haegeum is a structured improvisation where the structures are clearly defined, Particle Bey uses binary time (call and response), very slow measured time (where the distance between pulses is long enough to be forgotten), undulating time (flows and splatters), with live electronic processing by the composer.

JD Parran

※ JD Parran – All Most the Blues – for baritone, electronics and live processing, winds, and percussion. Featuring poetry by Michael Castro, a former poet laureate of St. Louis, Missouri. Castro’s words are set to music that combines and juxtaposes both composition and improvisation in order to express the organic, humanistic energy of the poetry.

 

 

※ Thomas Buckner’s Declaration of Independencefor baritone, electronics and live processing, winds, haegeum, two violins, drums and percussion is a work that gives shape and form to spontaneous group improvisation.


Listen to Buckner’s singing with this clip from his solo release Inner Journey:


UPCOMING SERIES FINALE PERFORMANCE

※ THURSDAY MAY 7, 2020, 8pm:
Mélanie Genin / Mari Kimura – Genin performs new music for harp by Christian Dachez, Michael Greba, Saad Haddad, Pauline Kim Harris, Mantovani, and Ricardo Romaneiro. / Kimura presents her latest motion sensor system MUGIC™ with works by Dai Fujikura, Chinary Ung and a new work of her own.


For more information, please visit interpretations.info

GRAMMY® Award winners Apollo’s Fire and Jeannette Sorrell are poised to launch a semi-annual Chicago-area residency. On March 12th, 2020, they will begin with O Jerusalem! – Crossroads of Three Faiths, a groundbreaking program that evokes ancient Jerusalem through music and poetry.

In anticipation of their upcoming performance, several of the musicians wanted to take the opportunity to share their stories.

“As we celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Jerusalem, several of our musicians with Jewish and Middle Eastern roots have chosen to share their family immigration stories with you.”
Apollo’s Fire


DAPHNA MOR, recorder and ney
Like most people of Jewish heritage today, I come from a family of immigrants and refugees.  My mother’s family fled from their homeland, Bulgaria, during WW2 to escape the Nazis. They did so by taking trains through the Balkans, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. Miraculously they all arrived safely in the Middle East. My father’s family was less fortunate.  His parents met in Germany in 1945 in a Displaced Persons camp established by the U.S and the United Nations. Having lost nearly all of their family members, both of them were alone and had nowhere to go. The Americans settled them in an apartment in Regensburg, Germany.  And there my father was born. I often think of their years in Germany – living among the Germans including former Nazis… not knowing where they would end up, trying to rebuild their broken lives. Once Israel became established, they emigrated there.

Unlike my grandparents, I am an immigrant by choice – an Israeli and American citizen who had the privilege to choose her new country and to follow the passion of being a musician. This is not true for millions of refugees and immigrants around the world today, and each one has their own unique story. Please have them in your minds and hearts while listening to our music.


RENÉ SCHIFFER, cello and viola da gamba
I suppose you all have noticed for a while that I am an immigrant.  What you may not know is that my father is a Hungarian Jew.  He and his family were very lucky not to be deported by the Nazis in WW2.  But of course hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews – including three of my dad’s four grandparents and many of his friends – were killed in the Holocaust.  So after the war, my father and his older brother decided to go to Israel.  They were teenagers, and both were serious classical musicians heading towards professional careers in chamber music.  After two years in Israel (1949-50), they saw that there were not yet enough opportunities in Israel for classical musicians.  So they returned to Hungary…  communist Hungary.  

Six years later, they escaped the Iron Curtain under cover of night, on foot – during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.  A boy in their group almost froze to death while crossing a semi-frozen canal.  But they kept going and miraculously made it across into Austria.  As the Hungarian refugees poured into Vienna, many countries (including the U.S.) welcomed them.  My father and uncle chose for the Netherlands.  The Dutch government provided a bus to take them to Holland.  They both became prominent Dutch musicians – they played in the Haydn Quartet (originally called the Dekany Quartet) which can be heard on many recordings, including the complete Haydn string quartets.


SUE YELANJIAN, contrabass
My grandfather, O’Wagon Yelanjian, fled Turkey as a teenager around 1908 to escape the massacre of Armenians in Turkey.  He came alone, and was sponsored by a stranger. During WW1 he served in the U.S. Army.  After the war, my grandfather’s sponsor in Wisconsin wanted his Armenian fiancée to emigrate to the U.S.  She wouldn’t come without her best friend… and that was my grandmother, Angele Djivelekian. She married my grandfather without knowing him.  She was from Constantinople and brought her oud with her.  I recall her playing it for me, using a feather to strum the strings.  They went on to have two sons. When those children (my father and uncle) started elementary school, they knew no English.  As a reaction to his difficult early school years, my father didn’t teach us to speak Armenian.  However, my grandparents lived next door and there was a large population of Armenians in the area who formed a community. This colored and enriched my early years.


JEANNETTE SORRELL, founder and artistic director
I have always been proud to be the daughter of an immigrant. But only recently have I begun to understand just how proud I should be.  When my father came to the U.S. at the age of 27, he already knew about 4-5 languages – but English was not one of them. Though he had been a journalist and translator in Europe, he quite willingly took some clerical and menial jobs in his first year in America. He worked briefly in a shoe store, a deli, and as an elevator operator. But within 5 years, he had mastered English so well that he was working as a journalist again – this time for an arts and culture newspaper in San Francisco.  

Eventually he met my mom, a 22-year-old nurse from a small Midwestern town.  She did not know much about Europe or the horrors of World War II. She did not realize that this young European man, who spoke so passionately about theatre, literature, and opera, but would not say much about his past – was Jewish. (And her family would probably not have approved, if they had found out.). But she had incredible intuition. She knew that he was a profoundly good person.  And so… she married him.  

Like many immigrants, my father then went to night school while working full time to support his young wife and baby.  He sped through graduate school in record time, earned a Ph.D., and became a professor. He instilled in our little family a love of history, literature, and the arts.  It took 50 years and DNA testing, plus an encounter at Carnegie Hall, for us to find out that he is Jewish. But that’s another story.

If the U.S. government in 1957 had not welcomed immigrants, or if my mom had not been willing to trust a foreigner… I would not be here today.  And neither would Apollo’s Fire.

Photo by Barb Hauser

California-based composer-pianist Jeremy Siskind has written a major new suite for piano: Perpetual Motion Etudes for Solo Piano, combining jazz harmony and complex textures.

Highly virtuosic and athletic, the suite seamlessly combines classical and jazz aesthetics, boldly conjuring the spirits of great composers like Kapustin, Gershwin, Gismonti, Hersch, Hancock, Corea, and Mehldau.  Playful, romantic, thoughtful, and personal, these Perpetual Motion Etudes present an ambitious journey through modern piano music. 


[1] An album:

Recorded at the Yamaha Artist Salon in New York City, the album will be released on the Outside In Music label  on March 30th, 2020.

Recorded on a Yamaha CFX, a nine-foot concert grand, and funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign, the album features nine new compositions.

Physical and digital distribution for Perpetual Motion Etudes for Solo Piano is through the Outside in Music label, and is available through all major music platforms. The album was engineered by Aaron Ross, and mastered by Joe Patrych.


[2] An accompanying book of sheet music:

Self published by Siskind and edited by concert pianist Spencer Myer, the book is now available for sale in both hard copy and PDF versions at jeremysiskind.com.

Each piece is presented in a through-composed version designed for classical pianists plus additional instructions for each piece intended for improvisors.

 


[3] A concert tour from MARCH 15 – April 9:
Siskind with Angelin Chang

Siskind will debut Perpetual Motion Etudes in the US.

From March 19th onward, he will be joined by, and performing with, GRAMMY®-winning pianist Angelin Chang.



Orange County: March 15, 2020, 5 pm,
Wilshire Auditorium
315 E Wilshire Ave, Fullerton, CA

Cleveland: March 19, 2020, 7:30 pm,
Drinko Recital Hall, Cleveland State University
2001 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH

Fort Wayne: March 20, 2020,
Sweetwater Performance Theater
5501 US-30, Fort Wayne, IN

Kalamazoo: March 21, 2020,
Kalamazoo College
200 Academy Street, Kalamazoo, MI

Chicago: March 22, 2020, 7:00 pm,
PianoForte Chicago
1335 South Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL — Free admission

New York: March 25, 2020, 7:00 pm,
Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall
154 W 57th St., New York, NY — Tickets are $35 online via Carnegie Hall

Philadelphia: March 27, 2020, 7:30 pm,
@exuberance
1220 N Mascher St., Philadelphia, PA

Natick: March 28, 2020, 7:30 pm,
Falcetti Pianos
579 Worcester St., Natick, MA

Los Angeles: April 9, 2020, 9:00 pm,
Blue Whale
123 Astronaut Ellison S Onizuka St. #301, Los Angeles, CA — $25 admission

See a full list of performance and teaching dates here.


Siskind says, “I’m a bit obsessed with finding the most orchestral, diverse, and innovative ways to use the piano. Each piece represents a journey into the outer limits of the possibilities of the piano.” He goes on to define ‘perpetual motion’ as having “the pianist’s left hand and right hand work in tandem to fill in any space left by the other – the ceaseless music fits together like gears in an infernal clock.” The impetus for the music came by way of combating anxiety, and to compose through concentration and flow; to be present, expressive, and fluid through the piano.  “Although these pieces can’t eliminate [self-negativity], they effectively ‘force’ the issue because they’re written in perpetual motion. There are no rests or breaks between the two hands, which fit together precisely, like the blocks in a well-played game of Tetris or like two dancers dancing intricate steps in a tight space.” 


For more about Jeremy Siskind, please visit jeremysiskind.com