Monday, December 06, 2004


This from the Boston Globe, as a prelim to an article introducing forthcoming composer highlights. Check it out here.

“With the death of Sir Michael Tippett in 1998, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies became Britain's senior knights of music.

“It's a little early to hail Birtwistle and Maxwell Davies as old masters; each is only 70 and still highly active. From the beginning each was a vigorously antiestablishment figure -- a shocked Benjamin Britten walked out of the premiere of Birtwistle's opera 'Punch and Judy' in 1968 -- and neither has exactly been domesticated yet.

“Maxwell Davies has been a frequent visitor to Boston, and his music is often performed here. Birtwistle's music remains relatively unfamiliar to local audiences despite intermittent efforts by Collage New Music, Boston Musica Viva, and the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music.”

But plans are afoot to change that, it seems.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Am I going soft? My current listening pleasure includes the seductive tones of saxophonist Jan Garbarek’s latest offering, In Praise of Dreams (ECM, 2004). Long courted by fame and popularity (since his surprise hit with the Hilliard Ensemble, Officium), Garbarek ploughs his own moody, evocative furrow - regardless of it all.

Of late he has faced accusations of blandness, conservatism, high-class lobby-music and self-pastiche. It’s not difficult to see where the detractors are coming from. But then it’s also not difficult to feel the enjoyment of his sensuous, sinuous melodic inventions.

Garbarek’s recent UK concerts have attracted wildly different estimations. In Edinburgh alone, he attracted the admiration of Kenny Mattheison (The Scotsman): “Garbarek’s steely, keening sonority on both his instruments remains one of the most distinctive and attractive signature sounds in contemporary music, and this quartet is an ideal vehicle for it. His roots in jazz remain apparent, but are only part of an intricate interweaving of folk, ethnic, rock and classical influences that make up the flow of his music. His simple, folk-like melodies and clean musical textures can seem a little too clinical at times, but there is no doubting the musicality and invention of the players.”

Whereas Rob Adams (The Herald) was left with a very different sensation: “The first two segments of a two hours-plus set … were routine, passionless and rather twee. …Those moments when the other three sit down and give the fourth member the spotlight should be the audience's cue for a breather, as pianist Rainer Brunninghaus conjures up a kind of rhapsodic candy floss and Eberhard Weber does his 'my bass is auditioning for Dr Who' schtick. This may once have been amusing, now it's just silly.”

Adams’ praise is reserved for percussionist Marylin Mazur, a musician of undoubted dexterity, enterprise and invention. Then again, when I last heard her with Garbarek a few years ago (at the Royal Festival Hall), she drove me to distraction with her constant busy-ness and interference with the other instruments’ accents.

The album, it has to be said, is a more considered affair. But that too may be good or bad. You’ll have to decide, dear listener.

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Saturday, October 16, 2004


I came a cross a new (to me) blogospheric musical voice a couple of weeks ago, via a lively piece on the Shostakovitch controversies. "Culture means whatever Brian Micklethwait says it means", the writer reassures us. His scope is entertainingly broad -- and in addition to the main site, he's thoughtfully indexed all his classical music musings in one category archive. Nifty. Much more of a predeliction for Mozart and so-called libertarianism than me, for sure; but the writing has soul and intelligence. At least Mickelthwait's not just going through the e-motions.

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Composer: Peter Maxwell Davies
Work: Naxos Quartets Nos. 1 and 2
Media: CD
Genre: Contemporary classical
Catalogue Number: 8.557396
Label: Naxos
Released: October 2004

My current listening pleasure is the first release in a projected 5-cd series from Naxos: world premiere recordings of ten new string quartets performed by the superlative Maggini. What a creative idea it was for the high-quality budget label to commission this set.

These pieces are part of Maxwell-Davies' much-publicised turn from major orchestral works and larger scale projects towards the intimacy and challenge of small ensemble writing; congruent in many ways with the atmosphere of his beloved Orkneys.

Up-to-date information on the composer's activities is available through the MaxOpus site. You can also purchase recordings of Max's music by digital downloads and/or CD compilations of your own choice delivered by post.

As Anthony Holden economically observed in, er, The Observer: "Elegant, accessible, full of mood swings, these inventive works begin [Maxwell-Davies's] long journey in a classical Orcadian landscape, via Beethoven, Haydn, Chopin and Scottish dance music, to a powerful interim resolution with echoes of Bartok and Berg."

There are echoes in there (for me at least) of Kodaly's evocative Kreutzer Sonata.

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Friday, October 15, 2004


Though I'm not a regular viewer of Jools Holland's UK tv show 'Later', I still enjoy it as a lively presentation of near-mainstream (but slightly quirky) rock, world, nu-pop and outside-left folk. The intrigue tonight was privided by US thrashists Green Day and their election anthem, 'Idiot America'.

The song made its biggest impact after John Kerry's appearance on 'Letterman'. Commented Salon: "Playing with murderous precision, the band signaled from its first line that they weren't out to be good sports. The sound was turbulent, churning, big and tight, veering off into guitar whirlwinds and then snapping to attention in an instant. Standing in a line across the stage as if they were a firing squad, the band communicated the feeling of both being on the front line and laying out a deadly line of attack."

This from Pitchforkmedia: "Idiot's slicing power chordage reaches to Green Day's old English and Cali punk influences with tingling fingers, adds acoustic instruments without sounding forced or contrived, and lyrically grapples with the cultural predicaments and awkward shittiness of 'subliminal mind-fuck America,' circa 2004: 'Now everybody do the propaganda/ And sing along in the age of paranoia.' Armstrong delivers the title track couplet like a command at the revolution day sock-hop, and its instrumental viciousness is enough to shatter punchbowl glass."
Not my usual listening ambient. Maybe it's just that overwhelming desire to evacuate the world of GW....

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Saturday, October 09, 2004


People who hunt for classical records and CDs in the London area can hardly fail to know about Gramex, the wonderfully eccentric haunt in Lower Marsh, the market location a stone's throw away from Waterloo Station. Usually stocked with around 5-600 cds, often newly-minted from reviewers and remainders, they have come into a goldmine recently: an 11,000 strong collection. For the first time it has pushed the shop into an alphabetical system. We'll see how long that lasts! There are many treasures to be had at bargain proces. Get down there as soon as you can... Oh, and don't forget Neil's Barrow either...

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Monday, September 27, 2004


This from Andrew McGregor on the BBC - Classical Review website, concerning Teldec's 'premiere' issue of Gyorgy Ligeti's Cello Concerto:

"The Violin and Cello Concertos have both been recorded several times before, but that doesn't detract from the importance of these versions. Siegfried Palm was the dedicatee of the Cello Concerto, and his unique authority combined with the commitment of the ASKO/Schönberg Ensemble and their director Reinbert de Leeuw (rehearsing and recording in the presence of the composer) makes for a memorable account of this shimmering 60s score.

"A superb recording, and fascinating sounds from a contemporary composer who never sounds quite like anyone else, and also writes good notes about his own music. If only all CDs of contemporary composers were this interesting, and necessary..." More.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Daniel Vincent writes to NFE with the following update:

"The new Onion Jack album has been completed and is awaiting mastering for release in October. I'm very pleased with it as it covers all the ground OJ has visited in the past couple of years (rock, prog, electronic, ambient), whilst at the same time moving us into exciting new territory.

"Also of note is The Brixton Session a set of acoustic songs recorded one afternoon in a studio in... wait for it... Brixton. Four tracks of singer-songwriter acoustic miserablism. Add to that collaborations with various people: The Parallel Rise, Lost Suburbia, History of Guns, to name but a few - things have been quite busy here! Oh, and I'm playing regular gigs in London..."

Definitely worth looking out for. The other relevant sites are: MrsVee (record label) and SouthLondonLive.

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Saturday, September 18, 2004


Technicians at Sweden's public television have unearthed a complete original recording of a Jimi Hendrix concert in Stockholm from 1969 on a tape long thought to have been destroyed. It comes from a period when the guitarist was at his most innovative. Collaborations with Miles Davis and others at the more avant garde end of the musical spectrum were being mooted.

(c) AP Photos

The unmarked tape was recently found stashed on a shelf deep inside the station's enormous archives during a project to transfer archived material from tape and film to digital, according to SVT spokeswoman Catarina Wilson.

The black-and-white recording from Stockholm's concert hall was ordered to be destroyed by a producer in 1969, a time when it was too expensive to keep all raw footage. Hendrix died the following year.

Wilson said it was likely that one of the state-run network's workers, perhaps a Hendrix fan, stashed it on the shelf, where it sat for 35 years gathering dust.

Part of the 56-minute concert was broadcast on SVT in 1969, before the Jimi Hendrix Experience disbanded, but it has never been shown in its entirety. SVT is determining if it still has the rights to show the entire broadcast of the concert.

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Friday, September 17, 2004


The latest Early Music Weekend on the South Bank (it now happens every autumn) offers a wide variety of delights, including music from the Castillian court of 1504 presented, interestingly, by the Italian ensemble Micrologus. There's also the Orlando Consort singing music circa the Toledo Summit of 1502.

Then Schola Antiqua, Ensemble Plus Ultra - the names get more and more PoMo in 'Early' Music! - and His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts (sic) combine for what is being described as "a sumptuous reconstruction of a Mass as it might have been celebrated in the Court of Isabella." So she's have stuck her thumb to her nose as far as Church etiquette was concerned and gone for those heathen instruments, then? We'll never properly know, but it'll be a feast of sound, no doubt. And the event is under the rubric of 'Inventions', after all.

These innovative productions are among the identity trails of new EMW director Tess Knighton, it seems. It's getting better and better.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004


Now that the Summer is over (sad, but true) the Royal Festival Hall, in the throes of re-development, has re-commenced its 'Commuter Jazz' and lunchtime free concert series.

On 7 October, when I shall unfortunately be ensconced in a work meeting, the innovative British composer, saxophonist, flautist and improviser Theo Travis will be performing at
12:30 pm in the Main Foyer.

He joins forces with arguably the UK's top solo bassist and 'looper' Steve Lawson, "in a duo that performs imaginative and beautiful music - both composed and improvised using looping technology."

Thanks to Henry Potts for drawig my attention to this gig.

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Saturday, September 11, 2004


It's probably churlish, but today is my least favourite day in the annual musical calendar: the occasion when one of the world's greatest music festivals is marred by jingoism and irony-free sentimentality. The Last Night of the Proms. In today's Guardian newspaper critic Andrew Clements gives a pretty fair assessment of the season. Apart from the Boulez and Birtwistle premieres, 2004 has not been a great year for new music. Under Nicholas Kenyon the programming has become more cautious and more predictable.

Next year marks the centenary of the birth of Michael Tippett, one of the great British composers of the twentieth century, and someone who showed how you can honour tradition and blaze a trail for innovation at the same time. Disgracefully, not one of his compositions was on show this year. Hopefully 2005 will see a brighter Proms.

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Monday, September 06, 2004


Though I’ve only got to one Prom this year (a superb dramatic reconstruction of Britten’s 'Curlew River'), there are many I would have loved to have attended. The goodies on offer have included last Friday’s Ensemble Intercontemporain performance (under the composer’s baton) of Pierre Boulez’s ‘Sur Incises’.

Scored for trios of pianos, harps and percussion, this piece started life – like much of Boulez’s recent work – as a modest piano solo written a decade ago. It is now well over half-an-hour in length, elaborated to a shimmering exploration in sound. Complex surface textures jostle to introduce underlying themes of bustle and tranquillity as the piece unfolds. One of Boulez’s major inspirations here was Stravinsky’s emblemic ‘Les Noces’.

Tonight it’s the turn of Simon Rattle to unleash the formidable skills of the Berlin Philharmonic in Messiaen’s breathtaking swansong ‘Eclats sur l’au dela’ and Debussy’s richly suggestive ‘La Mer’; two quite different takes on the notion of musical impressionism. I'm also glad to see that, honouring his own Birmingham years, Rattle is taking the Phil back to Symphony Hall as part of their UK tour - for the first time in sixty years, I believe.

Earlier today the enterprising Britten Sinfonia gave the world premiere of Simon Holt’s ‘The Coroner’s Report’ in (of all places) the Lecture Theatre of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Good to see contemporary composition inhabiting – quite literally – historic Britain!

NMC also have a new, second disc out of Holt's compositions: 'Kites', 'Feet of Clay', 'Eco-Pavan', 'Boots of Leath' and 'Lilith'. The Rattle-conducted 'Boots of Lead' disc [NMC094] will be released in October 2004.

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Saturday, September 04, 2004


The latest CD release from Daniel Patrick Quinn, Severed From The Land features voice, synthesizers, cello, violin, trumpet, guitar, bass and percussion in an interesting post-rock melange. You can listen to MP3 clips on the Suilven Records website by following the link to his page. Quinn describes his hard-to-classify sound world as "ambient, folk, semi-jazz, avant, drone minimalism." It has already been commended by luminaries such as Robert Wyatt.

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"What happened? You were posting daily until February, and then nothing. I really found your commentary and links stimulating. Come back soon." Many thanks to Dana W. for this enquiring and encouraging message. It started with a couple of technical hitches, and then other aspects of life took over. But NFE is back, and will be updated once or twice a week. Maybe more. We'll see. Meanwhile, much gratitude to those who have written, and apologies for any concomitant delay in correspondence.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2004


The irrepressible Benjamin Zander was on the airwaves again this morning, promoting his new CD of Gustav Mahler's Third Symphony, and promoting the performance of the First Symphony by the Philharmonia at London's Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 25 January 2004. At 6pm, an hour-and-a-half before the concert begins, Zander will give a talk about the work. This has been his custom over many years, and indeed the CD contains a bonus disc of his peroration too.

Zander, a conductor who also earns a living as a motivational teacher, is a great believer in the possibility of peresuading people to engage with music through encouragement, context and explanation. In the continuing debate over whether our greatest abstract art form 'speaks for itself' or whether it needs advocacy, he is very much the advocate.

Zander argues that the regulative experiences of Western culture have increasingly distanced people from the demands of lengthy, complex music. His aim is to 'bridge the fear' and to seek to offer an imaginative route into a confusing sound-world through the medium of language and (particularly) metaphor. He says that everyone -- and he means everyone -- can draw inspiration from a Mahler symphony with the right guidance.

The argument seems to assume the normativity of a certain kind of tonality, of course. And the universality of the Western art-music tradition. There's plenty of room for argument about those.... but it is hard to deny Zander's enthusiasm, or the idea that explanation and encouragement (done without patronising or presuming) can indeed enhance people's capacity to receive music.

I suppose I ought to test him out myself, since, though I appreciate Mahler's art, I can hardly be said to find him inspiring. Small doses, perhaps -- a contradiction in terms, I know! -- but I can sometimes find Mahlerian mannerisms ponderous and draining. Pity I have other engagements on Sunday...

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004

[250.1] QUOTA

"You are the music while it lasts" -- T. S. Eliot

"Listen. 'Listen' is an anagram of 'silent'. And so everything is an anagram of everything else." -- Paul Morley

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Friday, January 16, 2004


The performance of John Cage's legendary 4' 33" at the Barbican Centre tonight is being broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and will then be shown on the digital TV station, BBC 4. These will be the first network airings of the work in the UK and they are already causing something of a stir. BBC Radio 3's Roger Wright gave a sterling performance on the 'Today' programme this morning, sweeping aside criticisms that (in the words of the London Metro free paper) Cage's piece "consists of nothing'. He pointed out that those who dismiss it as a mere gimmick have usually never sat through a 'performance'.

NFE readers will be relieved to hear that the London Symphony Orchestra have rehearsed the 'silent' work thoroughly, including its three intervals. Wright wasn't able to confirm how they were going to approach it, however, so he couldn't answer interviewer James Naughtie's anxious question about whether it might end up being 4' 46"! Meanwhile another cultural critic wittily dubbed the furore "much fury about sound signifying little." (Well OK, that was me.)

Of course you'd have to be pretty po-faced not to be amused by all this. But 4' 33" has a serious point to it. Not only is there no such thing as silence, as it demonstrates, but there is an extent to which the listener's apprehension shapes the experience of what is heard -- and that is one way in which sound is translated into music. Thus the instruction to the players to "approach the piece in a musical way." Not all silence is the same. Indeed Cage's work can truly be described as the grandfather of ambient music. Eno eat your heart out.

There is one further twist to this tale. In readiness for the performance, BBC Radio 3 will have to switch off its emergency back-up system, which is designed to cut in when there is an unexpected silence on air. A couple of years ago they failed to do this for the crucial silence that forms part of the annual Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph. Embarassingly, happy musak broke into the broadcast at its most poignant moment, causing more outrage than even the late Cage is likely to. But less than Birtwistle's 'Panic' at the Last Night of The Proms, apparently.

The concert is part of the Cage composer weekend. Oh yes, and here's a hypertext version of 4' 33", too...

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004


World-renowned cellist Stephen Isserlis tells an amusing audience story in The Guardian:

"[T]he incident took place in Prague, where I was playing a rarity, Dvorak's early cello concerto (not the famous one) with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Near the beginning of the work, I noticed a gentleman in the front row falling asleep.

"Normally, I have no objection to people falling asleep in concerts; of course, I'd much rather they would stay awake and listen, but I accept that it does occasionally happen. This man, however, was falling asleep in a way that rather caught the attention: his neck had seemingly taken on a life of its own, trying (understandably) to escape the company of his head, drooping down to impressively contorted angles before shooting up again to its accustomed position beneath his chin every 20 seconds or so.

"At first, I (and the audience members around him, and several members of the orchestra) found it funny; but I grew increasingly irritated as it started to affect my concentration on the music.

"Before the last movement, I moved the music stand so that it stood firmly between me and him (normally, this isn't a great idea because a music stand in front of the cello soaks up some of the sound, but I was getting desperate). However, his head kept appearing at horribly regular intervals beneath the stand, before being jerked back by his indefatigable neck.

"So by the end of the performance, I was in a foul mood and, when I was presented with flowers as I bowed, I threw them - in rather a petulant gesture, I admit - into the man's lap. He woke up briefly, smiled and went back to sleep (and departed after the concert, I was told, looking very contented with himself and with his flowers)."

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Tuesday, January 13, 2004


Though I now live outside London, I'm privileged to be able to sample, from time-to-time, the many live musical treats the capital has to offer. Do most of the people who live there all the time realise how lucky they are? Almost certainly not. This week, Britten and Cage aside (see below), jazz-rock legends Colosseum return to the Jazz Cafe in Camden (Thursday 15 January 2004). At Pizza Express Soho on the same evening are polymaths Joanna MacGregor and Andy Sheppard, blending perspectives from their different but interesecting musical trajectories. They have a three night residency, following on from Gilad Atzmon and The Orient House Ensemble (12-14 January), who refract Jewish, Mediterranean and central European musics through a jazz prism. And on Friday there is a free double bill - the John Law Trio in the Royal Festival Hall foyer at lunchtime (12.30), and in the evening Dylan Howe's Quartet (17.15 - 18.45). Law is an adventurously expressive improviser with a classical background and a penchant for Thelonius Monk. Howe, who combines post-bop originals with standards, is son of guitarist Steve. What diverse riches. A week is a long time in music...

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Monday, January 12, 2004


A reviewer recently commented that, while the composer John Cage is a relatively well-known figure, his music is virtually unheard. This week London concert-goers have the opportunity to bridge that gap with an imaginative weekend of concerts, talks, films and free events in celebration of Cage. Hosted by the London Symphony Orchestra (who also give the second of a pair of concert performances of Britten's 'Peter Grimes' tonight, incidentally), the series takes place at the Barbican Centre.

Highlights include '4'33"' (along with Cowell's 'Piano Concerto' on Friday 16 January; Cage and his heroes (Ruggles, Satie and Varese, including Varese's 'Ameriques' on Saturday 17 January, followed by percussion extravaganza 'Constructions in Metal'; Cage and the New York School (Wolff, Brown, Feldman et al) including 'Concerto for Prepared Piano' and 'Song Books' on Sunday 18 January.

Josh Ronsen's very helpful John Cage Online links are also worth a visit. The sayings and epigrams are here.

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Sunday, January 11, 2004


Around 12 weeks ago artist Maggi Hambling’s imaginative scallop sculpture in honour of Benjamin Britten was unveiled on the shingle beach at Aldeburgh, the town where the composer spent much of his life. It evokes a significant line from his most famous opera, Peter Grimes: "I hear those voices that will not be drowned." Prior to Hambling’s tribute the only permanent physical symbols of the great man’s presence in Aldeburgh were his grave and a church window.

But sadly the burghers of small town England are up in arms about the presence of Hambing’s ‘modern art’ in their midst. Although one local resident described it as “superbly sited and, whatever the weather or the state of the sea [something that] always blends in with the natural beauty of the scene", nearly 600 residents have been persuaded by malcontents to sign a petition asking for it to be removed and re-sited at Snape.

Before they gripe at this condemnation of their philistinism, yes I’d be happy to have it in my backyard. Britten, who was born 90 years ago in November 2003, put a great deal into the town. Along with Michael Tippett he’ll rightly be remembered as one of the great twentieth century British composers. His worth certainly deserves better than this senseless bickering.

The Britten-Pears Library is in Aldeburgh and, thankfully, no-one has so far suggested booting it out.

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Saturday, January 10, 2004


Front-rank British composer Peter Maxwell Davies' future compositional plans will concentrate entirely on chamber (including choral) music, reports the latest issue of Schott Acktuel: The Journal (1:2004). Schott published Max during the 1950s and early 1960s, and in more recent times have put out a number of his scores, including 'Carolisima'. There are more plans for 2004 starting with 'Angelus', an acapella work for the BBC Singers, which will be given its world premiere at St Giles Cripplegate, near London's Barbican Centre, in connection with other celebrations for the composer's 70th birthday. These include performances of 'St Thomas Wake'. 'Eight Songs for a Mad King' and 'Worldes Blis' with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Rumon Gamba.

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Friday, January 09, 2004


NFE has had occasion before to remark on the fascinating and unclassifiable phenomenon that is The Necks. The Australian acoustic trio consist of Chris Abrahams (piano), Lloyd Swanton (bass) and Tony Buck (drums). Their latest album, 'Drive By', is due out on 26 January 2004 - and it's what you might call jazz-in-opposition, though the label is ReR ('for experimental, electronic, art rock, avant-garde, sound art, radio art, phonography, plunderphonics and recommended recordings'). What they oppose is conventional expectations. Evolving repetitive phrases, juxtaposed and blurred polyrhythms, wandering chromatic shapes and a certain quiet, deliberative frenzy create an illuminating but dimly lit sound-world.

As John Walters says in The Guardian today, The Necks "can be slow, fast, gentle, aggressive, multi-layered, minimalist, tonal, abstract, retro, futuristic, chilled, funky, trance-like, controlled, overwhelming, intellectual and sensual."

On 'Drive by', he adds, "a triple-time electric piano figure provides a click track against which several different versions of The Necks fade in and out. There are glassy piano chords, deep bass guitar riffs, rattling snare, buzzing organ counterpoint, a Moroccan hand drum, the sounds of a children's playground, sci-fi percussion effects, played out across a constantly evolving and shifting pulse."

The band's live concerts are composed in real time (shades of Patrick Moraz's 'Future Memories' projects). In the studio they distill endless overdubs into an ethereal synergy of stasis and propulsion. Minimalistic in certain senses, but quite elaborate in others: you just have to hear it. I find them by turns compelling and unnerving.

The album is available through the ReR Last Release Memo. Also check out the definitive 6-CD remastered collection from The Art Bears, 'Spoors' from The Science Group ("somewhere between intense contemporary complexity and rock - passing most points between") and Absolute Zero's debut, 'Crashing icons' ("densely composed, layered, slightly post 5UU-school music).

Experimental and contemporary compositionalists such as Cornelius Cardew and Iancu Dumitrescu are also on ReR. The ReR discography at Squidco gives a good overview of what's going on. Says founder Chris Cutler, "we are not ever concerned with commercial viability, only with distributing the music we feel close to." General links here.

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Thursday, January 08, 2004


The London Symphony Orchestra celebrates one hundred years in 2004. It was Britain's first independent, self-regulating orchestra. Now resident at London's Barbican Centre, the LSO is involved in around 100 live concerts a year, multiple recordings, music education and tours. Celebrations in 2004/5 include performances of key works by Shostakovich and Prokofiev (the Symphony cycle), together with a Bernstein appreciation on 11 July. Nothing too radical it seems, but a clear emphasis on the twentieth century.

Among the LSO's prestigious 'first performances' have been Benjamin Britten's 'Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra' (1946), Michael Tippett's 'Concerto For Orchestra' (1963) and 'Triple Concerto' (1980), John Adams' 'Violin Concerto' (1994) and James MacMillan's 'A Deep But Dazzling Darkness' (2003).

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Wednesday, January 07, 2004


Maximalist composer Brian Ferneyhough is to be explored from all angles through 'Inventions', a day of workshops and concerts focussing on his output at London's South Bank Centre on Saturday 14 February 2004. The central event will be the UK premiere of a major new ensemble work, 'Seven Tableaux Vivants'. Earlier compositions will also be featured, along with material by a younger generation of composers - including Mary Bellamy, Dai Fujikura and Brian Herrington. 'Inventions' is a joint project of the London Sinfonietta, the Arditti Quartet and spnm. Bookings can be made here. The Sinfonietta's site provides an overview.

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The return of NewFrontEars after the seasonal break (ah yes, happy New Year to you all!) has been hampered by a number of technical difficulties. Normal service is now resumed.