Welcome to Sonosphere. On this special episode we catch up with a couple artists we’ve featured on our podcast to see how they’ve been faring in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. First, we hear from producer and electronic composer Tara Rodgers, aka Analog Tara. Tara performed here in Memphis for our Sound Observation series a couple years ago in partnership with Crossotown Arts. Then we’ll hear from theremin master, musician and composer Carolina Eyck. Carolina Eyck is working on a project in Berlin and Tara catches up on some of her live stream shows, new music coming soon and what she’s been reading in this time of social distancing. I hope you have been safe and well. And if you’d like to share some stories or music with us email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
sonosphere · Shelter in Place with Analog Tara and Carolina Eyck
Thanks for listening.
Welcome to Sonosphere Radio – thanks for tuning in. Today’s feature is a curation of songs by Citizen of Tomorrow. Check it out!
Artists featured on this show:
- Asylum Party
- Vadaat Chagrin
- Outside Source
- Sun Airways
- A Winged Victory for the Sullen
- Psychic TV
- The Books
- Black Marble
- Optic Sink
In this episode of Sonosphere we highlight master theremin player and curator of the Theremin 100 compilation celebrating 100 years of theremin, Dorit Chrysler.
Chrysler says the “tracks were chosen to highlight versatility in style, musicality, technique and innovation.” The album was released on Feb. 8th and part of the 100th birthday celebration of the Theremin and the release of Theremin 100, Dorit Chrysler and The New York Theremin Society curate a series of events that will take place in various countries throughout 2020.
We’ll hear more about these events and about how Chrysler found the magic of the theremin, her influences in music, and how she is working to integrate the theremin and other lesser known analog and electronic instruments and techniques into music education today.
This month on Sonosphere we hear from Ken Zuckerman, co-founder of the Ali Akbar College in Basel, Switzerland and sarod aficionado. Peter Lavezzoli, author, percussionist and vocalist also joins us as we discuss how Indian Classical Music has influenced modern rock, pop and ambient music today.
A significant figure in North Indian Classical Music is musician, composer and teacher Ali Akbar Khan.
With the opening of his Ali Akbar College in San Rafael California in 1967 Khan opened up an extraordinary interest from Western students and more mainstream musicians like George Harrison of the Beatles, Mickey Hart from the Grateful Dead, and cellist and avant-garde dance music composer, Arthur Russell. Kahn has taught over 10,000 students.
While we only scratch the surface of Indian Classical Music, you’ll find how one man in particular took America and popular music by storm through his teachings that span across the world and across musical genres.
Enjoy this month’s episode on Indian Classical Music.
Welcome to Sonosphere Radio. This month’s host is Andrew Earles.
Andrew Earles has been a music/cultural critic, journalist & biographer since 1999 and has authored three books as well as writing and editing work in 14 other multi-author titles. He has contributed writing in both a staff and freelance capacity to over 55 online and print outlets since 1999, including Spin, Pitchfork, Vice/Noisey, The Onion, Decibel, The Washington City Paper, Numero Group, Magnet Magazine and many others.
Andrew was also one half of Earles and Jensen Present… comedy duo, whose Matador Records releases can be sampled on Spotify. He is currently working on making a few things happen.
Enjoy Andrew Earles mix below.
- Mouthus – Your Far Church
- The Dead C – World
- Labradford – Pico
- Bardo Pond – Tommy Gun Angel
- Sun City Girls – Omani Red Light
- Bowery Electric – Slow Thrills
- Village of Savoonga – One More Dark Love Poem
- Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 – Empty Cup
- Jessamine – Say What You Can
Welcome to this episode of Sonosphere where we underscore Ami Dang, South Asian-American vocalist, sitarist, composer and producer from Baltimore Maryland.
I sat down with Ami in a cafe in Baltimore. We discussed how her cultural heritage rooted in the Sikh religion informs and influences her work today, and how she approaches the sitar while utilizing modern noise, ambient, and electronic sounds in her music.
We also discuss the making of her latest album Parted Plains, which came out earlier this year on Leaving Records. She spoke of how ancient folklore from the east is filtered through the west, and what it’s like to be an American in India and Indian in America. Identity and culture are highlighted in her latest effort. Check out Parted Plains here and take a listen to our conversation below. Enjoy.
How has information shaped our lives? Are we really privy to all the knowledge available? David T. Little’s new album, AGENCY, seeks to investigate these questions.
On this episode we highlight composer David T. Little. The composer has a background that is as eclectic as his new album, AGENCY. By combining all of these influences David is ushering in a new age of opera. Sonosphere enjoyed a phone call with David as we talked about AGENCY as well as his path to this point in his illustrious career.
David T. Little + ACME with Third Coast Percussion
New Amsterdam Records
11 October 2019
David T. Little’s AGENCY features the world premiere recording of the work for string quartet and electronics, which The New York Times calls “forthright, visceral, bloody, with the intimacy and polish of a classical chamber ensemble but bulging with the loud, reverberant sweatiness of rock.” Performed by “contemporary music dynamos” (NPR) American Contemporary Music Ensemble—with special guests, the Grammy-winning Third Coast Percussion, Andrew McKenna Lee (The Knells), and Julian Day—AGENCY is a journey into the nature of truth, rooted in the tension between ancient faith-based cultures and modern information-based societies. Using the language and tactics of espionage, AGENCY is riddled with secret messages, ciphers, and redactions. Illuminating our need to find truth, but suggesting that the truth might be.
The Roots of Disquiet – Notes on the Music from David T. Little:
Are we free agents in this world, controlling and deciding our own paths, or are we unknowingly influenced and manipulated by powerful external forces? Is the truth about this ever really knowable?
AGENCY poses these questions and examines their meaning through contrasts. It investigates the ideological rift between the Aboriginal holy site Uluru in central Australia, and Pine Gap, a massive American spy center of top-secret function, which sits just five hours to the north; the tension between ancient faith-based indigenous cultures and modern information-based societies made manifest.
Both Uluru and Pine Gap are cloaked in mystery. AGENCY is likewise riddled with secrets: ciphers and redactions in the musical score encrypt texts, map coordinates, and philosophical quotations. The result illuminates our need to find truth, but suggests that the truth might be unknowable. We may find only conjecture or faith.
AGENCY takes a more detached approach than its explicitly violent companion, Haunt of Last Nightfall (NWAM054). The violence of Haunt is chaotic and direct: it mines the history of the 1981 massacre at El Mozote, El Salvador for evidence of American complicity. The violence of AGENCY is a nefarious secret.
The questions asked by this pair of pieces once seemed speculative. However, as immigration from Central America takes center stage in the national debate, a work like Haunt suggests a U.S.-American cause to its dramatic 40-year rise. Similarly, a work about the impossibility of knowing the truth may have seemed odd in 2013, when AGENCY was written. But in the wake of “fake news,” the rise of deep fakes, and Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US election, it acquires political salience.
Together, AGENCY and Haunt of Last Nightfall present a portrait of the disquiet pervading contemporary American culture, exposing damaged roots. It is my hope these works may begin conversations within the arts world that branch beyond it.
ABOUT DAVID T. LITTLE
David T. Little is “one of the most imaginative young composers” on the scene (The New Yorker), with “a knack for overturning musical conventions” (The New York Times). His operas Dog Days, JFK, and Vinkensport (librettos by Royce Vavrek), and Soldier Songs have been widely acclaimed and performed around the globe, “prov[ing] beyond any doubt that opera has both a relevant present and a bright future” (The New York Times).
Little has been commissioned by the world’s most prestigious institutions and performers, including recent projects for The Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater new works program, The Kennedy Center, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, London Sinfonietta, International Contemporary Ensemble, The Crossing, Eighth Blackbird, Kronos Quartet, and Beth Morrison Projects. His music has been presented by Carnegie Hall, Park Avenue Armory, Holland Festival, BAM Next Wave, LA Opera, Opéra de Montréal, and the LA Philharmonic.
From 2014–2017, Little was Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group. He has previously served as Executive Director of the MATA Festival, and currently chairs the composition department at Mannes—The New School. The founding artistic director of the ensemble Newspeak, his music can be heard on New Amsterdam, Innova, Sono Luminus, and National Sawdust Tracks labels. He is published by Boosey & Hawkes.
In a little more than a decade, led by cellist and artistic director Clarice Jensen, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) has risen to the highest ranks of American new music through a mix of meticulous musicianship, artistic vision, engaging collaborations, and unwavering standards in every regard. The membership of the amorphous collective includes some of the brightest young stars in the field. NPR calls them “contemporary music dynamos,” and Strings reports, “ACME’s absorbing playing pulsed with warm energy. . . Shared glances and inhales triggered transitions in a flow so seamless it seemed learned in a Jedi temple.” ACME was honored by ASCAP during its 10th anniversary season in 2015 for the “virtuosity, passion, and commitment with which it performs and champions American composers.”
The ensemble has performed at leading international venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, BAM, The Kennedy Center, Washington Performing Arts, UCLA’s Royce Hall, Stanford Live, Chicago’s Millennium Park, Duke Performances, The Satellite in Los Angeles, Triple Door in Seattle, Melbourne Recital Hall and Sydney Opera House in Australia, and at festivals including the Sacrum Profanum Festival in Poland, All Tomorrow’s Parties in England, Auckland Arts Festival in New Zealand, Summer Nostos Festival in Greece, Boston Calling, and Big Ears in Knoxville, TN.
World premieres given by ACME include Ingram Marshall’s Psalmbook, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Drone Mass (commissioned by ACME in 2015; recorded for Deutsche Grammophon in 2019), Caroline Shaw’s Ritornello, Phil Kline’s Out Cold, William Brittelle’s Loving the Chambered Nautilus, Timo Andres’ Senior and Thrive on Routine, Caleb Burhans’ Jahrzeit, and many more. In 2016 at The Kitchen, ACME premiered Clarice Jensen’s transcription of Julius Eastman’s The Holy Presence of Joan d’Arc for ten cellos, the score of which had been lost since the premiere in 1981. Jensen transcribed a recording of the work to recreate the score.
ACME’s recordings appear on the Deutsche Grammophon, Sono Luminus, New World, Butterscotch, and New Amsterdam labels. www.acmemusic.org
ABOUT THIRD COAST PERCUSSION
Third Coast Percussion is a Grammy Award-winning Chicago-based percussion quartet. For fifteen years, the ensemble has created exciting and unexpected performances that constantly redefine the classical music experience. The ensemble has been praised for “commandingly elegant” (New York Times) performances, the “rare power” (Washington Post) of their recordings, and “an inspirational sense of fun and curiosity” (Minnesota Star-Tribune). Third Coast Percussion maintains a busy tour schedule, with past performances in 33 of the 50 states plus international tour dates on 4 continents. Third Coast Percussion has commissioned and premiered over 60 new works by composers including Philip Glass, Augusta Read Thomas, David T. Little and Devonté Hynes.
On this episode we talk with Carolina Eyck, one of the world’s foremost thereminist, about growing up with classical music and how she knew the Theremin would be her thing.
Eyck releases her third LP for Butterscotch Records, Elegies for Theremin & Voice, on September 27, 2019. Elegies is released in the centennial year of the invention of the theremin – an instrument played without physical contact – and was created over the course of two years at producer Allen Farmelo’s studio in upstate New York.
Ten pieces form a haunting work reflecting sadness and loss, anger and depression. Eyck shares with Sonosphere the process of composing the record. She reminds us it’s okay to feel it all, necessary even, to properly remember and love those we miss.
In connection with the new album, Eyck will tour the U.S. from September 29 through November 9, 2019 and perform with the Albany Symphony and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. U.S. tour dates below.
Elegies for Theremin & Voice – Release concerts
Sept 29 – Concord, NH – Capitol Center for the Arts
Oct 16 – Chicago, IL – Constellation
Oct 20 – Los Angeles, CA – Civic Center Studios presented by Equal Sound
Oct 25 – Brooklyn, NY – National Sawdust
Nov 1 – Brattleboro, VT – Epsilon Spires Sanctuary
Nov 6 – Syracuse, NY – Syracuse University
Orchestral Performances – Dalit Warshaw’s Theremin Concerto Sirens
Oct 4 – Boston, MA with Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Nov 9 – Albany, NY with Albany Symphony
Workshops and Lessons
Oct 19 – Los Angeles, CA – Workshop
Oct 27 – New York, NY – Workshop
Find opportunities for lessons alongside Carolina’s tour cities here.
This episode of Sonosphere features the North Indian instrument, the sarod. One of the most popular instruments in Hindustani music, the sarod’s 20th century master was Indian composer, teacher and musician, Ali Akbar Khan.
We speak with contemporary sarod virtuoso, Ken Zuckerman about mastering the demanding instrument and how he and Khan brought various innovations and inventions to the sound.
Zuckerman has been called “…one of the world’s most eclectic masters of improvisation.” He completed thirty-seven years of training under the rigorous discipline of India’s legendary sarod master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, up to the maestro’s passing in June 2009. He also performed with Maestro Khan in numerous concerts in Europe, India, and the United States.
We will hear more from Zuckerman in upcoming episodes on Indian Classical Music. Stay tuned!