recent releases

Chas Smith
Twilight of the Dreamboats

CB0045

Specially priced 25-min CD EP

Chas Smith is a musician who has created his own unique musical world—complete with its own instruments and “language.” It is a world of expansive musical tapestries and carefully sculpted textures that evolve via a slow, constant change of aural perspective. 

Twilight of the Dreamboats, a quintessential Smith electro-acoustic work, is an ever-evolving single gesture, a seamless blend of tones and timbres from his metal sound sculptures and his homemade and hot-rodded steel guitars, performed by the composer. [More info…]

“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

Peter Garland
After the Wars

CB0044

Specially priced CD EP [20 mins.]

Peter Garland is a composer, world traveler, musicologist, writer, and former publisher whose music is always informed by his well-traveled ear and strong sense of personal vision. 

After the Wars, a resonant, sometimes clangorous four-movement piano solo performed by new-music champion Sarah Cahill, displays a unique sense of grace and a sincerity of expression that is quite simply Garlandesque. 

Garland writes about the music: “Each of the transparent and self-contained movements takes as inspiration a Chinese poem or Japanese haiku…. I explore the quality of resonance in the piano: not just the notes played on the keyboard, but the sense of echo and fade produced by a very deliberate use of pedaling, and the sustaining and release of piano keys after notes and chords are sounded. It creates a sense of timbral color and acoustic perspective…. Each movement is like a single image, simply stated with relatively little temporal or thematic development….” [More info…]

“Garland’s music seems to be about the sheer expressive power of sound itself…. I feel he is one of our true originals.” —Robert Carl, Fanfare magazine

“‘Radical consonance’ has been used to describe Garland’s music…an apt choice of words.” —Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare magazine

“Ever his own man, Garland has moved beyond a strictly minimalist phase of evolving melodic and rhythmic patterns into a hybrid sphere of many influences from the panorama of world music.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“[Garland] is an avatar of an experimental American tradition…a composer of mesmerizing music…the musical conscience of my generation.”—Kyle Gann, Chamber Music magazine

Michael Byron
In the village of Hope

CB0044

Specially priced CD EP [23 mins.]

One of Textura‘s Top 10 EPs of 2015

Michael Byron’s music tends to be harmonically rich, rhythmically detailed, and virtuosic. It is often praised for its ability to create uniquely dense constructions out of relatively limited means: “Byron creates maximalist effect out of minimalist means.” (ClassicalNet) “One is reminded…of the mobiles of Alexander Calder, which are both fixed and moving. And, like Calder’s work, Byron’s music is immediately comprehensible and beautiful, while it remains experimental.” (San Francisco Bay Guardian) “Byron’s music, like Ligeti’s, is instantly recognizable, perceptually challenging, beautifully proportioned and deeply satisfying.” (Paris Transatlantic)

In the Village of Hope is a restless (and in some ways relentless) virtuosic harp solo performed by Tasha Smith Godínez. This ever-changing, ever-developing music is unlike anything else in the solo harp repertoire. [More info…]

In the Village of Hope simultaneously lulls and rouses the listener with elegantly cascading counterpoint and lush harmonies animated by complex rhythms. Its kaleidoscopic variations evoke ethereal wind chimes, rendering both the calm and the storm in a single gesture.”—Eric Smigel

“Michael Byron’s music…[is] truly bewitching…an intriguing mix of tranquillity and restlessness, hot and cold, highs and lows.” —Incursion Music Review

“Byron’s music…as it calms you, it plants seeds of doubt, even disturbance in your head. One eye might close, but the other remains nervously scanning the horizon.”—Fanfare magazine

John Luther Adams
The Wind in High Places

CB0041

 

A New York Times Best Classical Music Recording of 2015

One of the Alex Ross/The New Yorker “Ten Notable Recordings” of 2015

A WQXR Q2 Music “Album of the Week” 2015

A Textura “Album of the Month” 2015

One of the Chicago Reader/Peter Margasak’s “Favorite Albums of 2015”

On Iowa Public Radio’s 2015 Classical “Mega-Meta-List”

John Luther Adams’s carefully shaped, gracefully stirring pieces on this album, which New York Times critic Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim called “mesmerizing,” seem to alter common notions of musical time and unfold in a temporal space of their own creation, as do so many of Adams’s works.

Beautiful, vaporous string music, featuring the acclaimed JACK Quartet performing the three-movement The Wind in High Places and Dream of the Canyon Wren and the Northwestern Cello Ensemble, directed by Hans Jensen, performing the four-movement cello choir work Canticles of the Sky.

Cold Blue has released four previous CDs devoted to 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Adams’s music, and shorter works of his have appeared on two of the label’s anthology releases. [More info…]

“The album’s thought is evident without being distracting…. The skilled fusion of the JACK Quartet turns The Wind into something other than a three-movement work. It’s like watching something take flight and, as the final notes fade, blend in with the sky.”—Q2 Music (WQXR)

A striking new album of austere landscapes and mysterious light.” — Tom Huizenga, Deceptive Cadence, NPR

“John Luther Adams gives us some of his most intimate music on this one. It communicates directly and with sublimity.”—Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

The Wind in High Places, like much of Adams’ writing, inhabits its own unique, atemporal sphere.”—Textura

The Wind in High Places, a tripartite piece for string quartet that uses only natural harmonics and open strings—played extremely quietly—to create a still, pastoral ambience…. Could any new music be more delicately sparse, more wonderfully poetic? I think not.” —John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

“Adams’s major works have the appearance of being beyond style; they transcend the squabbles of contemporary classical music.” —Alex Ross, The New Yorker

Daniel Lentz
In the Sea of Ionia

CB0042

This album’s often gorgeous, often kaleidoscopically bright and bustling pieces by quintessential California composer Daniel Lentz freely explore and skew two centuries of classical piano music. All the piano parts on this recording—from solo to seven pianos (via overdubbing)—are performed by Grammy-nominated new-music pianist Aron Kallay. [More info…]

“Speaking broadly, composer Daniel Lentz is deemed a kind of maverick ‘Minimalist,’ West Coast division. But…subtleties of an artist’s voice can get glossed over in the simplifying process of ‘general deeming.’ Let’s just say he broaches sonic beauty and Minimalist-colored/rhythmicized ideas, but on his own terms…. [H]e has plenty to say…and a sensitive, sturdy ally in pianist Mr. Kallay…. With a vocabulary borrowing from influences as varied as Ravel, Brian Wilson and Bill Evans, Mr. Lentz’s music is not as pretty as it might sound—or is not ‘only’ pretty. Ulterior strategies are afoot. Sentimentality grazes past and is hustled into new shapes, in a place where lyricism is served on the rocks.” —Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara News-Press

“Daniel Lentz has been composing and releasing music for many decades, yet the music he’s creating today is as vital as anything produced in the past. While his omnivorous output ranges from the wildly exuberant to the preternaturally calm, it’s always infused with the joy of music-making and the creative spirit.” —Textura

“When it comes to attempts at musical seduction, Daniel Lentz’s music is way out in front.” —Kyle Gann, Village Voice

“By intriguing his listeners at the same time he wreathes them in smiles, Lentz always comes up with something listenable and worthwhile.” —Gramophone

“Lentz’s music inhabits what he terms a musical ‘state of becoming,’ where both new and reappearing musical and textual fragments are fused through complex layering processes.” — John Schaefer, New Sounds, WNYC