Jacob Cooper & Steven Bradshaw
Release date: October 15, 2021
Sunrise is an expansive, incandescent, haunting electro-acoustic work jointly composed and performed by Jacob Cooper and Steven Bradshaw. Created during the 2020–21 pandemic, this alluring, kaleidoscopic piece grows into a tsunami of sound while it casts an eye (ear) back 100 years to derive its text from a popular song composed during the 1918 pandemic: “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise.”
Cooper and Bradshaw constructed Sunrise via the internet—Bradshaw recording vocal melodies and improvisations that Cooper subjected to electronic manipulation. In this fashion—back and forth, again and again—they spent months composing and realizing the music. (In addition to Cooper and Bradshaw, pianist Dynasty Battles, violinist Clara Kim, and flutist Timothy Munro also contribute performances to the work.)
Jacob Cooper has been lauded as “richly talented” (The New York Times) and a “maverick electronic song composer” (The New Yorker). His music has been commissioned and performed by such ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Eighth Blackbird, and the Calder Quartet and released by Nonesuch, New Amsterdam, and other record labels. The recording of his string orchestra work Stabat Mater Dolorosa (New Artisans), which the New York Times described as “exhaustingly poignant,” was an NPR Top Ten album in 2020.
A founding member of Variant Six and The Crossing (a Grammy-winning vocal ensemble dedicated to new music), Steven Bradshaw has appeared as a soloist with Bang on a Can, the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, and many other groups and recorded and toured with Roomful of Teeth. He premiered Ted Hearne’s Placeat the BAM Next Wave Festival and will reprise his role in it with the LA Philharmonic. He also premiered and gave 300 performances of David Lang’s lifespan. Also a noted visual artist, Bradshaw has exhibited his work at a number of galleries throughout the country.
Release date: October 15, 2021
Three new dark and haunting soundscapes from composer-performer-instrument builder Chas Smith, a musician who has created his own unique musical world—complete with its own instruments and “language”—a world of expansive musical tapestries and carefully sculpted textures that evolve via a slow, constant change of aural perspective. This is music that seamlessly blends Smith’s metal sound sculptures and his homemade and hot-rodded steel guitars, all of which are performed by the composer.
“Smith’s pieces are music of experiment and discovery: a way of enabling the physical world to ‘speak’ by investigating, harnessing and organizing its sonic properties. The extraordinary sound-world of Smith’s articulately structured music captivates from the start.”—International Record Review
“Chas Smith, musician, composer, engineer, metal craftsman and inventor, is a classic American original.”—New Times (Los Angeles)
“With Smith’s music, the sounds are as compelling as his concepts and instruments.” —The Wire magazine
“Smith creates unsettling music that is both beautiful and eerie.”—Electronic Musician magazine
The Basketweave Elegies
Release date: Winter 2021–22
The Basketweave Elegies is an elegant, well-wrought vibraphone solo in nine sections. Commissioned and recorded by percussionist Joseph Van Hassel.
Garland writes, “I want to write music that is well-made, sturdy, useful, and beautiful—like a basket; its beauty being the sum result of those first three qualities. . . . I worked on this piece with the same determined focus as if I were weaving a basket. . . . I think one can hear a definite woven quality in the melodic and contrapuntal relationships. . . . Formally, I got an idea from the medieval poetic-musical form the rondeau. . . . There are four ‘core’ movements . . . which are preceded and followed by ‘refrains.’ Of course this being the 21st century and not the 12th, I do not follow this rondeau form in any literal fashion.”
Composer Peter Garland is a long-time associate of Cold Blue; his music has appeared on seven of the label’s previous CDs.
Release date: TBD
Blue photographs collects a few dozen of the many aphoristic piano pieces Fox has written during the past 30 years. Performed by the composer.
“One of the striking qualities of Jim Fox’s compositions is that you can still hear them inside you long after the music is over.” —Wadada Leo Smith
“This is music that sounds like it was made in that California of cool northern beaches or the Mojave Desert as seen in the stark intimacy of Joshua Tree or even the remembered despair of the landscape around Donner Pass. This is a music of honesty, seductive and delicate yet strong and dark.” —Daniel Lentz