Posted inPlaylist

A Dynamical Systems Playlist

A dynamical system is a system whose state evolves with time over a state space according to a fixed rule. A dynamical system is all about the evolution of something over time. To create a dynamical system we simply need to decide (1), what is the “something” that will evolve over time and (2), what is the rule […]

Posted inReview

Ode to the Jungle

Welcome, welcome to Garden Europa! Well, no, not welcome exactly—because you cannot be allowed enter—but welcome to the fence. Peer just over the wire. Look, isn’t it beautiful? Everything’s clean, everything works! And listen, listen to this: our anthem, our glorious anthem, the height, the apotheosis of music—of culture!—itself: Beethoven’s (surely you’ve heard of him?) […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Beauty in Shadows

Daisy Press: “You Are the Flower — Music from Hildegard von Bingen, Vol. 1” (StorySound Records) Kotoka Suzuki: “Shimmer, Tree” (Starkland) Halla Steinunn Stefánsdóttir: “strengur” (Carrier Records) “The quality that we call beauty,” writes Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, “must always grow from the realities of life, and our ancestors, forced to live in dark rooms, presently came […]

Posted inInterview

A Glutton for Sound

As a Southcentral Alaskan kid in the early ’90s, I was unaware of the composer patiently crafting his strict and sensuous body of work 600 miles to the north, close to the Arctic Circle. In 2013, after living, studying and composing for a decade on the Eastern Seaboard, I co-founded a new music project in […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

The Best is Noise

Raven Chacon, percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani, and bassist Carlos Santistevan: “Inhale/Exhale” (Other Minds) Gidon Kremer, Kremerata Baltica: “ppp” (SKANI) In an ongoing effort to spend as little time as possible with my own thoughts, I often have something on: A new album, a podcast, an audiobook, the same recording of “Chess” that I’ve been playing into […]

Posted inInterview

Together on the Way

Born in 1955 in Rheinberg, Germany, and raised in Westphalia, Eva-Maria Houben’s musical career commenced at the age of 12 when she began playing organ in Sunday services at the church where her father worked as a presbyter. Subsequently working as a teacher at both school and university level, she has written numerous books of […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Theater of Music Playlist

You walk on stage, and it’s terrifying: senior-recital-gone-wrong, late-to-a-masterclass-with-Big-Name-Soloist, career-ending-farce-with-your-parents-in-the-audience terrifying. As always, it’s inexplicably hot on the boards (or too cold, or the lights are too bright) and you’re sure the audience can see the sweat glisten on your frustrated, unhappy face. You’re flubbing notes left and right, barreling through an old favorite, lilting […]

Posted inInterview

The Birth of a New Ritual

As a child, Alvin Curran would lie in bed at his parents’ Providence, Rhode Island home and listen to the counterpoint between the booms of trains shunting together at a nearby rail yard and foghorns down at the harbor a few miles away. “Was that a piece of music?” I ask him. “Absolutely,” he replies. […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

We Are All Ghosts

Ashley Bathgate & Kate Moore: “Stories for Ocean Shells” (Cantaloupe) Genova & Dimitrov Piano Duo: “Amy Beach: Complete Works for Piano Duo” (CPO) Anna von Hausswolff: “All Thoughts Fly” (Southern Lord)  Kali Malone: “Pipe Inversions (for Kimberger III)” (Important Records) There’s a building near the Tiergarten in Berlin, just behind a section of the Zoological […]

Posted inInterview

The Nature of the Mind

Laurie Anderson, the 71-year-old performance artist, storyteller, musician and wife of Lou Reed, was looking out at the fog. She seemed exhausted, but her green eyes were alert. I met her in her green room in the middle of a packed four-day festival at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, where she was joined by her colleagues, […]