previous releases

(listed by descending catalog number)

Thomas Newman and Rick Cox
35 Whirlpools Below Sound


A richly detailed, haunting set of electro-acoustic soundscapes jointly composed and performed by Thomas Newman and Rick Cox, 35 Whirlpools… was developed and realized during the 25-plus years that the two have worked as musical collaborators. This is both enigmatic and eclectic music that explores a somewhat improvisational world through a series of interlinked and contrasting pieces built of mysterious and fantastical juxtapositions of sounds.

In addition to his celebrated film scores, Newman has written for such ensembles as the Kronos Quartet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Cox has collaborated and recorded with Jon Hassell, Thomas Newman, Ry Cooder, Peter Freeman, Chas Smith, and others. [More info…]

“[W]ondrous, fairy tale-like dreamscapes rub shoulders with murky ambient-drone evocations that rumble with mysterious portent.”—Textura

“[A]n eerie and fascinating soundscape that will be pretty much unlike anything else you’ve heard before .” —CD HotList

“[U]tterly compelling work…wrapped up in a beautiful eeriness.” —IndieWire

“A complete aural journey through mysterious subconscious spaces…. This is one of those discs that one could easily play around the clock…. Excuse me while I hit the repeat button again.” —Exposé magazine

“Electro-acoustic works that are intriguingly experimental and richly varied…. 35 Whirlpools Below Sound is impressive…[it] takes us to places we have only dreamed of, using sounds that work on our imagination in new and exciting ways.” —Paul Muller, New Classic LA

Michael Jon Fink

From a Folio


Specially priced 18-min CD EP

A darkly sublime suite of seven pieces for cello and piano performed by composer Michael Jon Fink and noted new-music cellist Derek Stein. As the music unfolds, the listener is drawn into a highly nuanced, lyrical sound world. Fink’s characteristically reductive but expressive style is evident throughout, as the set’s quiet intensity builds to a muted ecstasy and then returns to its more serene state. Fink’s music has been described by the Los Angeles Times as “lustrous” and “metaphysically tinged.” [More info…]

From a Folio is the perfect title for this CD. Each piece is one of a series of brilliant jewels as if cut from the same stone.”—Paul Muller, Sequenza21

“it’s beautiful, it’s sad, yet it’s full of hope. It’s music like this the world needs.”—Vital Weekly (Netherlands)

“I have come to love this music…. Nothing is what it seems at first, and yet it does not change from listen to listen. You do…. Very recommended.”—Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

“It’s quite haunting.” —La Folia

From a Folio is a work as typically Cold Blue as they come: misleadingly simple, and gorgeous like contemporary music has no business to be.”—François Couture, Monsieur Délire’s Listening Diary

“There’s something of Gavin Bryars’ evanescent emotional skill to Fink’s music, something of the soft spatial blur of the Evanses (Bill and Gil) … what gets me every time is its sheer and honest beauty.”—Misfit City (UK)

Stephen Whittington

Music for Airport Furniture


Specially priced 23 min CD EP

Composer Stephen Whittington‘s subtle, sublime, and beautiful work for string quartet alludes to Erik Satie’s “furniture music” (musique d’ameublement). The composer writes, “I was interested in the airport departure lounge as an arena for human emotions—boredom, apprehension, hope, despair, loneliness, the tenderness of farewells—all taking place within a bland, often desolate space.” Recorded by the Zephyr Quartet, an award-winning Australian ensemble dedicated to the performance of contemporary music. [More info…]

Music for Airport Fumiture…a taut, refined, barely evolving piece.”—Roger Thomas, Int’l Record Review

“Belying its Satie-esque title, this work unravels to reveal a music of sheer elegance and eloquence.” —Peter Garland

“Luxurious and comfortable, I could sit and listen to Music for Airport Furniture for hours.” —Richard Friedman, Music from Other Minds (KALW, San Francisco)

Music for Airport Furniture is open and airy, contrails elegantly criss-crossing a sky-blue background. Ever elevating, the viola sighs, the cello is occasionally plucked, an impatient passenger shuffling his feet. A beautiful piece.”—Stephen Fruitman, Avant Music News

“[T]he opening notes of Music for Airport Furniture evoke that distinctive feeling of emptiness and regret that we have all felt while waiting for an airline boarding call. The music proceeds in a series of long, warm phrases…. The playing of the Zephyr Quartet is outstanding…. Music for Airport Furniture is a masterful realization of the bittersweet sadness of farewell.”—Sequenza21

Jim Fox

Black Water


Specially priced 18-min CD EP

Black Water—boisterously churning music for three pianos—is rich with dense, sometimes shimmering, sometimes rumbling tremolos set off by moments of twinkling quietude. All three parts are performed by noted Los Angeles pianist Bryan Pezzone, who has appeared on numerous earlier Cold Blue releases. [More info…]

“Jim Fox is a singular composer. His music is deep, sparkling, ecstatic, and breathaking.” —John Luther Adams

“A nearly relentless shimmering movement that explores the full range of the keyboard…. [T]he bulk of Pezzone’s work across the three piano parts keeps ears pulled forward, the notes a school of silvery fish rapidly outpacing any ominous predators floating in the shadows.”—Molly Sheridan, NewMusicBox

“Driven alternately by furious staccato passages, strident chords and assertive arpeggios, with the occasional oasis of restraint (‘tranquility’ doesn’t cut it), [Black Water] is an energetic whirlwind of a piece that captures and holds the attention.” —Roger Thomas, Int’l Record Review

Black Water begins with an extended trill setting an energetic pace that builds with each successive wave of notes. There is a sense of strong, fluid motion that is slightly out of control—like a running sea in the dark. The notes roil around each of the piano parts, building in intensity and then setting off again without quite discharging the tension.… Black Water proceeds in this fashion—strong surges interspersed with quieter sections—but always with a sense of movement in the lower registers. This is exciting music, carrying the listener along in unexpected directions.… The final crashing chord hangs in the air, slowly dissipating, to provide a fitting end to this high-powered work.”—Paul H. Muller, Sequenza21

Various artists
Cold Blue Two (an anthology) 


Cold Blue Two is an anthology of fourteen new, previously unrecorded works (many of them written just for this CD). It’s a sequel to the label’s celebrated Cold Blue (CB0008) anthology, which San Francisco’s Other Minds founder Charles Amirkanian called “a classic anthology of American new music.”

Enthralling music by John Luther Adams, Gavin Bryars, Rick Cox, Michael Jon Fink, Jim Fox, Peter Garland, Daniel Lentz, Ingram Marshall, Read Miller, Larry Polansky, David Rosenboom, Phillip Schroeder, Chas Smith and James Tenney.

Performers include Sarah Cahill, Guy Klucevsek, ETHEL, Formalist Quartet, John Schneider, Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick, and many other fine musicians, including a number of the composers themselves. [More info…]

“Darkly lyrical, evocative…. Whether plaintive, hypnotic, or enigmatic, this is music that is cool but not unemotional—and always a rich, twilit blue.” —John Schaefer, host of WNYC’s New Sounds

“This record pretty much kicks ass—an alluring, arresting document from a brilliant cast of composers..” —Glenn Kotche, composer and drummer for Wilco

“Stellar.” —Alex Ambrose, Q2 Music producer, WQXR

“The music by Daniel Lentz that opens this anthology, a solo cello line harmonically enriched through overdubbing, is graceful, understated and tinged with melancholy. The closing piece, Jim Fox’s filmic Colorless sky became fog, shares those qualities. They seem to define a Cold Blue soundworld, although these 14 previously unissued tracks…accommodate diverse and individualistic composers…. This is a post-experimental label, presenting work that subtly channels lessons learnt from radical sources into music that is unapologetically attractive and accessible. —Julian Cowley, The Wire magazine

“Superb… music that exemplifies refinement without at the same time being overly burdened by formality and convention.” —Textura (Cold Blue Two was on Textura‘s “Best of 2012” list.)

“Listen closely: there is almost always a sharp edge hidden among these glistening surfaces…. The most casual listen to this haunted music-box, as often eerie or melancholy as it is soothing, is an unsettling experience, a quiet disquiet. Cold Blue the label and Cold Blue the anthologies are aptly named: cold and like a glacier or a clear winter sky, this music is as shiver-inducing as it is lovely.” —Daniel Stephen Johnson, Q2 Music, WQXR

“A finely balanced and judiciously contrasted collection…a sampler that confirms the tradition of American experimental music to be alive, well and in safe hands. —Richard Whitehouse, Int’l Record Review

“This marvelous CD assembles 14 works by contemporary composers…. While many of the composers here have roots in the experimental tradition, the pieces on this disc are fiercely consonant and infused with unique orchestrations and electronic processing…. Essential!” –Gino Robair, Electronic Musician magazine

“A panoramic view of Cold Blue’s offerings, which are quite varied and yet make a powerful unified statement. These works could be described as beautiful oddities—some even devastatingly gorgeous, but always with a twist. Even if unapologetic beauty is not your cup of tea, worry not—upon close listen each one of these works sports frayed edges, chipped corners, or other subtle disturbances that turn it into a highly personal proclamation…. Many are haunting, but not at all cold or alienating; this is music for friendly ghosts. Each work contains treasures to be discovered within, and the heart-on-sleeve honesty of the works is not something one hears often.” —Alexandra Gardner, NewMusicBox

John Luther Adams

Four Thousand Holes


WQXR/Q2 “Album of the Week”

John Luther Adams writes music that draws much of its inspiration from earth’s primal forms and forces. These large, elemental concepts are never far below the surface of the music on Four Thousand HolesThe two works that comprise this album—constructions that blend process and intuition—maintain a tight focus on music’s inherent sensuality. The title piece, a bold, wonderfully quirky work, amasses and mixes multiple-tempo streams of simple triads with electro-acoustic “auras” to create a sense of beautifully suspended time. The other piece, the percussion quintet …and bells remembered…, spins forth a quiet, gently clangorous world of ringing tones.

Four Thousand Holes features performances by renowned pianist Stephen Drury, percussionist Scott Deal, and the Callithumpian Consort. [More info…]

“I can’t stop listening to John Luther Adams’s Four Thousand Holes.” —Alex Ross, Twitter

Adams’s major works have the appearance of being beyond style” —Alex Ross, The New Yorker

“His music is haunting and quite unforgettable.” —MusicWeb Int’l

“Out of many eligible composers of his generation, John Luther Adams is the greatest proponent of the American experimental tradition, a lineage that includes Ives, Cowell, Varese, Partch, Nancarrow, Cage, and Tenney.” —Sequenza 21/Contemporary Classical Music Weekly

“This is music from someone who knows who he is and what he wants.” —Robert Carl, Fanfare

Christopher Roberts

Last Cicada Singing 


Specially priced 28-min CD EP

Four serene, deeply emotive pieces for solo qin (a Chinese zither-like instrument). Quiet, sparce, slightly eerie, almost Feldmanesque, these pieces are performed by the composer, who mastered the qin while living and teaching for many years in Taiwan.

Christopher Roberts is a composer/performer (double bass and qin) who is as comfortable within Western musical traditions as he is within a number of non-Western Pacific Rim musical traditions. [More info…]

“So Confucius walks into a bar, just in time for Bill Evans’s last set, and after closing time pulls out his qin for a few solos … That’s the vibe that Christopher Roberts captures in these intimate nocturnal musings where crystalline harmonics dance among gutsy bass slides while elegant harmonies whisper their most private thoughts. A truly haunting recording.” —John Schneider, Host of KPFK’s Global Village and Director of MicroFest

“Roberts has arrived at a new American music … something unique.” —Michael J. Schumacher

“[Roberts’s] music is so rich in its textures and gestures and harmonies that his voice is distinctive.” —Stephen Eddins, All-Music Guide

“A short CD of modern compositions for solo qin. … a great idea and a very nice record. Quiet, introspective, slow-unfolding pieces. … Released in Cold Blue’s low-priced EP series.” —François Couture, Monsieur Délire’s Listening Diary

Christopher Hobbs

Sudoku 82 


Specially priced 20-min CD EP

This spare, beautiful, spacious 20 minutes for eight pianos was composed utilizing systems derived from sudoku puzzles and the GarageBand computer program. Performed by noted Los Angeles pianist Bryan Pezzone.

Christopher Hobbs is an English experimental composer, a pioneer of British systems music., founder of the Experimental Music Catalogue, and an early member of both the Scratch Orchestra and AMM. A combination of strict rigor and audience-friendly surfaces is typical of most of his work since 1970, as is his use of cheap (toy or amateur) electronics. [More info…]

“The ever-stylish Christopher Hobbs is a master of subtle surprise. This haunting music is both strange and familiar, and balm to an alert ear and keen intelligence.” —Howard Skempton

“Hobbs’s Sudoku pieces, based on the newspaper puzzle, are exotically listenable and remarkably varied.” —Kyle Gann, PostClassical

“[Hobbs’s] quietly alluring music possesses the seemingly incidental beauty that can arise in music composed under self-enforced restraints.” —Julian Cowley, The Wire magazine

“Hobbs stylistically seems to be the most intellectually intense and thorough of all the English Experimental composers” —Peter Garland, Pieces 3

John Luther Adams
the place we began 


Mysteriously evocative electro-acoustic works that the composer built from short recorded moments—audio fragments—of his early music. This is not a trip down Memory Lane: In the place we began, Adams has reappropriated and transformed these sonic fragments into completely new works that speak to his current musical interests and directions, especially his recent installation pieces. [More info…]

“This is a recording one can easily get lost in. Indeed, it’s one of the most ravishing examples of electro-acoustic music I’ve heard in many years.” —Andrew Farach-Colton, Gramophone

The Place We Began…is surely among Adams’s most evocative and personal creations.… Recorded with the clarity and presence typical of Cold Blue Music.” —Richard Whitehouse, Int’l Record Review

“Adams’s music is as hypnotic as it is different.” —Colin Clark, MusicWeb Int’l

“John Luther Adams’ powerful music finds inspiration, depth of field, and sonic substance in the shapes and textures of the natural world and, most of all, in the composer’s own deep and passionate commitment to the act of listening itself…. while Adams doesn’t necessarily sound like precursors Cage, Feldman and Oliveros, he does share with those American masters a definite commitment to the creation of unique and engaging music that springs from an experienced intensity of absolute listening.” —Kevin Macneil Brown, Dusted magazine

Peter Garland
String Quartets 


Peter Garland is a composer, world traveler, musicologist, and writer whose music has been marked for many years by a radical consonance and a simplification of formal structure. This is the premiere recording of two spirited and enticing quartets that draw on the composer’s well-traveled ear and great sense of personal vision. Both works move with a unique sense of grace and a sincerity of expression that is purely Garlandesque.

Performed by the celebrated British ensemble Apartment House, led by new-music cellist Anton Lukoszevieze[More info…]

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

“[Garland] is one of our true originals.” —Robert Carl, Fanfare magazine

“Garland is a restless, nomadic…individual whose work makes reference to the musics of the distant and sometimes not-so-distant lands he’s visited, but his compositions exist entirely on their own terms and without a hint of pastiche or the uncomfortable feeling that cultural plunder is afoot. ” —Brian Marley, Signal to Noise magazine

“Elegantly balancing sensuous melodicism and spacious austerity of form, Peter Garland’s string quartets are alluring and inviting, their carefully-wrought complexity often hidden within a luminous transparency.” —Kevin Macneil Brown, Dusted magazine

Christopher Roberts
Trios for Deep Voices 


Five intimate yet intensely animated pieces for a trio of double basses performed by the composer and two other virtuosos of the instrument, Mark Morton and James Bergman. This music, much of it inspired by composer Christopher Roberts‘s life in Papua New Guinea (where he traveled to study music’s “natural prosody”), subtly extends the double bass’s standard playing techniques via such expressive elements as bowing patterns inspired by the sound of hornbills in flight. [More info…]

“A magnificent piece! There’s nothing like it. Roberts has a truly original voice.” —Bertram Turetzky

“An elegantly reverberant, harmonically rich and gracefully delineated composition for resonant strings.” —Julian Cowley, The Wire magazine

“Roberts has arrived at a new American music by traversing the heart of Papua New Guinea…and the result is something unique.” —Michael J. Schumacher

“A remarkable disc…. Recommended.” —Christopher DeLaurenti, The Stranger (Seattle)

Trios for Deep Voices is thoughtful music, beautifully worked out, and very absorbing to listen to. It’s wonderfully individual, both in its sound and its construction. Clear some space in your life, both literally and figuratively, and give it a listen..” —Greg Sandow

“This is a visceral work…a unique, original, refreshing, and pertinent set of truly global double bass trio music.” —Bass World magazine

Chas Smith


Nakadai, which KPFA Folio/Other Minds Radio called “one of the most explosive LPs of the ’80s,” is a set of works that offers a catalog of musical “waves”—from ripples to tsunamis. It features composer Chas Smith playing pedal steel guitar solo, overdubbed, and with a mallet percussion quartet of Bob Fernandez, John Fitzgerald, M.B. Gordy, and Theresa Knight. This CD reissue allows today’s listeners to hear prototypical Smith music.

In addition to the original five Nakadai tracks, this release includes two “bonus” tracks: 2008’s evocative Ghosts on the Windows and 1991’s Joaquin Murphey, a tribute to the pedal steel elgend of the same name. [More info…]

“Intense and drony, yet luscious. A welcome reissue…by this important Los Angeles-based instrument builder and pedal steel guitarist.” —Electronic Musician magazine

“Long icy drones invoke a remarkable soundscape.” —Richard Friedman, Producer/Host, KALW’s Music from Other Minds

“Chas Smith’s pedal steel and 12-string dobro are as evocative and quintessentially American as a crackling neon light outside a desert motel at sunset.” —Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic

“‘A solitary genius,’ as Susan Alcorn describes him, Chas follows no particular school of composition but his own.” —Paris Transatlantic

Daniel Lentz
Point Conception 


This CD combines composer Daniel Lentz‘s wild nine-piano tribute to the octave, Point Conception, with his previously unrecorded NightBreaker, a kaleidoscopic and explosive tour de force for four pianos.

NightBreaker ambles, jumps, careens, pauses, and flings itself forward. Point Conception bubbles over with streams of octaves that run the length of the keyboard. Both pieces revel in and comment on late-19th-century harmony.

Through overdubbing (via “cascading echo system”), long-time Lentz Ensemble pianist Arlene Dunlap performs all of Point Conception‘s parts. Likewise, via overdubbing, noted Los Angeles pianist Bryon Pezzone performs all of NightBreaker‘s parts. [More info…]

“Lentz has devised a unique bit of piano literature. It simultaneously glorifies the acoustical grandeur of the grand piano and regales its legacy with technology and sly insouciance. Point Conception is Lentz’s backhanded answer to the cool purr of ambient piano music…tossing knuckleballs into extant musical traditions, but doing so with disarming grace.” —Los Angeles Reader

Point Conception grabs you and never lets go. It has…that peculiar “avant-garde-but-oh-so-easy-to-enjoy” feel one consistently finds in Cold Blue’s catalog.” —François Couture, All-Music Guide

“A rollicking process piece.” —Kyle Gann, Village Voice

Steve Peters

The Webster Cycles 


Specially priced CD EP [30 min]

The Webster Cycles, scored for six trombones, is at times lush, at times stark, always engaging. From moment to moment, an individual trombone voice calls out or a trombone crowd murmurs or a few voices unite in contrapuntal or parallel efforts. It blends the abstract with the idiomatic. Pure tones hang serenely in the air as noted trombonist and new-music champion J.A. Deane‘s lively ornaments and articulations acknowledge his instrument’s long association with various types of jazz. [More info…]

“Deane is a soulfully expressive musician and, despite the calm and coolness of Peters’s music, his interpretation has immediate emotional appeal as well as seductive depth.” —Julian Cowley, The Wire magazine

“The overlapping trombones…immerse you in 30 minutes of incantatory bliss—imagine floating into an ocean-sized harbor bounded by distant foghorns. Essential.” —Christopher DeLaurenti, The Stranger (Seattle)

“Solemn and spacious…. Subtle music for late evenings.” —Vital Weekly

Peters’ music…has in abundance what I miss in so much new American music: strong commitment to an aesthetic goal, and adherence to that goal without compromise.… Bring on more Steve Peters!” —Sequenza21

“Pure, restrained and rigorously beautiful.” —Alvin Curran

John Luther Adams
Red Arc / Blue Veil 


Red Arc / Blue Veil is ecstatic, powerful music for piano(s) and percussion that combines architectural and multi-tempo/polyrhythmic processes with the composer John Luther Adams‘s passion for lush surface textures. This music ties together extremes—shifting color fields and monochromatic planes; quietly shimmering textures and “noisy” roars; the wild and the constrained. [More info…]

“Adams’s major works have the appearance of being beyond style; they transcend the squabbles of contemporary classical music, the unending arguments over the relative value of Romantic and modernist languages.” —Alex Ross, The New Yorker

“Adams’s music can be superficially described as the intersection of two diverse influences: Feldman and Cowell…his scores bear the ubiquitous marks of Cowell’s multitempoed rhythmic structures…The Feldman influence manifests itself as a delight in delicately balanced sonorities used as recurring images…” —Kyle Gann, American Music in the 20th Century

“There’s a sense of vast, open space in John Luther Adams’s music that’s without a ready parallel among American composers.” —Marc Geelhoed, Time Out Chicago

Charlemagne Palestine
A Sweet Quasimodo Between Black Vampire Butterflies for Maybeck 


A Sweet Quasimodo… is a stunning 40-minute work for two grand pianos. It was recorded live during a concert at the famed Maybeck hall in Berkeley, California, February 2006. Preceding the piece are Palestine’s short spoken reminiscence of his time spent in California more than 30 years ago and a brief ritual song accompanied by the drone of a rubbed brandy snifter. [More info…]

“Palestine has a way of choosing notes so as to tremendously affect the thickness of the sound and create panoramic variety (and even microtonal anomalies) among the overtone masses he is creating, sort of a one-man acoustic Glenn Branca symphony.” —Kyle Gann, Village Voice

“Palestine’s work offers sonic sculptures to be thoroughly inspected and savored at every moment.” —Dean Suzuki, Wired magazine

“A sensuous and compelling sonic experience.” —All-Music Guide

“A compelling concert experience.” —Sequenza21

“An experience never less than pleasurable.” —Int’l Record Review

Michael Fahres
The Tubes


This collection of eerily beautiful, intimate music weaves naturally occurring acoustic phenomena with the playing of celebrated performers. The title piece features the breathy sounds emitted by the rock tube formations on El Hierro (westernmost of the Canary Islands) and performances by Aboriginal musician Mark Atkins and Los Angeles-based composer/trumpeter Jon Hassell. The two other works on the CD are Sevan, recorded near Lake Sevan (Armenia), featuring Armenian singer Parik Nazarian, and Coimbra 4, Mundi Theatre, a soundscape of a city-wide festival in Coimbra, Portugal. [More info…]

“I was transfixed by the haunting sounds and the poetic pacing of Fahres’ music on this CD. Rather than the sound floating through the room, it was as if I was floating in the sound.” —Morton Subotnick

“An exceptionally well-composed album, comprising very well-thought out concepts that have been delivered in an utmost ingenious and abstract way.” —Unknown Public (UK)

“Fahres is skillful in creating drama and blending the recorded materials into intriguing, musically satisfying soundscapes. The Tubes, which lasts over 30 minutes, is an especially impressive achievement.” —All-Music Guide

“This is the kind of recording that lets you get wondrously lost in someone else’s sound world.” —Sequenza21

Chas Smith


Composer/performer/instrument-builder Smith offers strangely beautiful and compelling soundscapes scored for his unique sound-sculptural instruments, steel guitar and electronics. [More info…]

“Chas Smith composes and performs epic soundscapes…music that reflects the wide-open spaces of the American West…. [C]loser attention reveals his subtle layering of instrumental textures. The overall effect is of a shimmering, reverberating soundscape, extraordinarily evocative of the boundless spaces that clearly inspired it: an endless desert under a throbbing sun.” —The Wire magazine

“Smith is surely also one of the most original composers working anywhere today.” —Int’l Record Review

“Chas Smith’s pedal steel and 12 string dobro are as evocative and quintessentially American as a crackling neon light outside a desert motel at sunset.” —Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic

“The two long pieces that make up most of Smith’s new release, Descent, are his most powerful and focused work yet.” —Kevin Macneil Brown, Dusted 

Daniel Lentz
On the Leopard Altar


Shimmering, pulsing music built of unique additive structures for singers, keyboards, and tuned wineglasses by seminal West Coast experimental and post-experimental composer Daniel Lentz. [More info…]

“Driving energies darting and thrusting toward unseen destinations. On the Leopard Altar is a study of sonic polish and forward motion.” —Mix magazine

On the Leopard Altar… is a remarkable collection. 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. However, the real basis of his seductive music may be the dreamy impressionism of Debussy and the lyrical voice and keyboard interaction of Schubert’s lieder.” —John Schaefer, WNYC, New Sounds

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

“A ravishing suite of compositions…one doesn’t merely listen but rather surrenders to its seductive pull.” —Ron Schepper, Signal to Noise magazine

Jim Fox

Descansos, past 


Specially priced 15-min CD EP

Descansos, past is composer Jim Fox‘s moody, intimate “in memoriam” music for double bass and a choir of nine cellos led by new-music-champion cellist Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick. [More info…]

“[L]ush bleakness that evokes the windswept open spaces of the American West…. brooding lyricism…music that seems to linger even after the recording has ended.” —John Schaefer, WNYC, New Sounds

“A work of noble mourning; its…playing that is full-bodied and unerringly precise, the string textures glow warmly.” —Int’l Record Review

“Immediately appealing… ” —Raymond Tuttle, ClassicalNet

“[A]ural poetry, like an inscription on a tombstone to be read with a faint smile instead of tear-stained eyes.”—Paris Transatlantic

“You won’t want to listen to anything for a while after you’ve heard this.” —Frank J. Oteri, NewMusicBox (American Music Center)

Rick Cox



Specially priced 25-min CD EP

Beautiful, casually evolving music for guitar, piano, bass and electronics. It xtends Cox’s continuum of lush, elusively shaped music. It featuring the composer’s idiosyncratic guitar playing and performances by Thomas Newman and Peter Freeman. [More info…]

“One of the most engrossing records this year so far—and one of those instances when, in terms of duration, less is not more.”—Massimo Ricci, Paris Transatlantic

“Rick is a hidden master of the crepuscular and the diaphanous.” —Ry Cooder

“If you imagine floating through the night sky on a large abstract tapestry, you’ll get a feeling for what Cox’s music is like.” —Fanfare magazine

“The music of Rick Cox…its tones and timbres are subtle and suggestive, exploring a dark world where strange things are happening in the shadows.” —Incursion Music Review

Kyle Gann

Long Night


Specially priced 25-min CD EP

Exquisite, mobile-like, ever-focus-shifting music for three pianos. Wonderfully performed by noted new-music- pianist Sarah Cahill. [More info…]

“If this is a long night, let it go on and on.” —Marc Geelhoed, TimeOut Chicago

“It’s a beautiful and original piece, with ‘family’ links to such composers as Harry Partch, Henry Cowell, Conlon Nancarrow, and John Cage, and with allusions to ‘nature’ and the ‘East’.” —Int’l Record Review

“A commanding presence in the landscape of American music…. His music is passionate, fiercely intelligent and one of a kind. Gann’s music embraces a broad range of influences but sounds like no other.” —John Luther Adams, NewMusicBox (American Music Center)

“If I had my way, Sarah Cahill would be declared a public treasure and forbidden to ever leave the city limits.” —Berkeley Voice

Steve Peters

from shelter 


Specially priced 16-min CD EP

Spare, undulating music written for choreographer Lane Lucas’s dance/theater work Shelter. Three violas casually stroll through their notes leading to an alluring voice and piano music that is perhaps an extended coda to the string music that preceded it. Features violist Alicia Ultan and vocalist Marghreta Cordero. [More info…]

“Pure, restrained and rigorously beautiful.” —Alvin Curran

“The work of Steve Peters is of excellent quality…. the suspended resonances and the ethereal voice of Marghreta Cordero create a fantastic atmosphere, mystical and visionary.” —Sands-Zine (Italy)

“Open-space lyricism and beatific atmosphere…vivid, stark, and alluring.” —Dusted

“This is a gentle, social, considerate piece; each component supports and is supported, sheltered and given shelter, by the others.” —Int’l Record Review (UK)

Michael Jon Fink

A Temperament for Angels


Specially priced 28-min CD EP

Music that combines equal measures of beauty and grit. Moody, elusively shaped textural music that is compelling in its power and grace from its very first violin note to its final shimmer of decaying cymbals. For an ensemble of violins and cellos, percussion and electronic/sampled sounds. [More info…]

“An impressive, beautiful CD single that offers up a seamless, elegant ‘cloud’ of sound” —Gramophone

“Dense, slowly changing sounds, atmospherically gloomy and harmonically quite subtle.” —The Musical Times (London)

A Temperament is much darker than its title might suggest—informed, as it is, by the harsher concept of terrifying beauty written of by Rilke…a steely sonic environment . —NewMusicBox (Amer. Music Center)

“A miniature masterpiece.” —Sands-Zine (Italy)

Daniel Lentz

Los Tigres de Marte


Specially priced 16-min CD EP

Swirling, compelling music with wildly branching roots touching lightly on everything from Debussy and Delius to bop to techno. Sometimes lush and enveloping, sometimes brittle and percussive; sometimes suspended and motionless, sometimes agitated. Featuring clarinetist Marty Walker with string quartet and electronic keyboards. [More info…]

“When it comes to attempts at musical seduction, Daniel Lentz’s music is way out 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. That’s certainly true of this new release.” — Gramophone

“Sonically dense music…music of near orchestral force and scope.” —Molly Sheridan, NewMusicBox (American Music Center)

“One is immediately immersed in a beautiful landscape” —ClassicalNet

Jim Fox

The City the Wind Swept Away


Specially priced 23-min CD EP

The City is a haunting single-movement piece for trombones, strings, and piano. It’s fragile music of rarefied and quietly rumbling harmonies that, like drifting clouds, seem to float in and out of “view.” Music that is both motionless and moving forward with a strange sense of inevitability. [More info…]

“Beautiful and evocative work.” —John Schaefer, WNYC, New Sounds

“Though just under 23 minutes, The City the Wind Swept Away…seems to linger in the air (and the ear) much longer. Delicate and open throughout.” —Molly Sheridan, NewMusicBox (American Music Center)

“Attentiveness to the integrity of slowly passing sound events can be a strangely moving experience. It is so here.” —Int’l Record Review (UK)

“Music that…feels as if it could go on endlessly…music that comes from the classical tradition, but that feels like it belongs somewhere other than the concert hall… Texturally rich, meticulously crafted and delicately beautiful.” —Dusted magazine

The Complete 10-Inch series from Cold Blue

Various artists

3-CD boxed set


Gramophone magazine “Critics’ Choice” for 2004

The CD reissue of the noted series of seven 10-inch vinyl eps that Cold Blue released in the early 1980s. Extraordinary music from composers Peter Garland, Rick Cox, Barney Childs, Read Miller, Michael Jon Fink, Daniel Lentz, and Chas Smith. Music for violins and percussion, electric guitar, electronic keyboards with voices, solo and duo pianos, cello, pedal steel guitar, wind instruments of pre-Columbian design, readers, and more. [More info…]

“Cold Blue’s little ‘ism’-skirting discs…a whole wonderful world of new sounds.” —John Schaefer, Producer of WNYC’s New Sounds

“So mesmerized I can hardly quit listening to it.” —Kyle Gann, Arts Journal

“Decidedly cool—in hipness quotient and emotional temperament. Beguiling.” —Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara Independent

“The sounds are spare, wistful, innocent and soft-spoken, often beautiful in a way no other music is.” —Arved Ashby, Gramophone magazine

“[D]efines a certain ‘Southern California sound.” —LA Weekly

“Highly recommended” —Sequenza 21

Chas Smith
An Hour Out of Desert Center


Chas Smith—composer, inventor, instrument builder, and performer—has created his own musical world, complete with its own instruments and “language.” It is a world of carefully sculpted textures that never sit absolutely still, textures that evolve and are always in the process of a slow change of aural perspective. Critics have repeatedly compared Smith’s sometimes beautiful, sometimes brooding compositions to those of Ligeti. The three pieces on this new recording feature the composer performing on pedal steel guitars, composer-designed-and-built crotales and sound sculptures, zithers, and a 1948 Bigsby lap guitar. [More info…]

“Like famed composer and instrument builder Harry Partch, whom Smith readily acknowledges as an influence, Smith creates unsettling music that is both beautiful and eerie.” —Electronic Musician magazine

“Smith has a penchant for long tones and drones, as well as an ear and love for magnificent sonorities. From his creations, as well as his pedal steel guitar, he elicits sounds that suggest thunder, approaching jetliners, electronics, screeching machinery, and much, much more. And he doesn’t merely string together gimmicky sounds; he integrates them into sumptuous compositions that range from delicate, lyrical vignettes to grating, sometimes horrific tone poems.” —Dean Suzuki, San Francisco Bay Guardian

Michael Byron
Awakening at the Inn of the Birds


Michael Byron’s music is one of contrasts, noted for its intertwining of minimalist and maximalist techniques and rigorous processes with freely composed music. In its unique way, it reconciles traditional notions of beauty with boisterous, almost-out-of-control instrumental writing. This new CD collects four of Byron’s very recent works and a new recording of a piece from 1981, all performed by some of today’s most-respected new-music champions, including Sarah Cahill and Joseph Kubera on pianos, Kathleen Supové on synthesizer, and the FLUX Quartet. [More info…]

“One is reminded not only of the time-bound nature of sculpture (one must move around a piece to fully experience it), but 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.” —Dean Suzuki, San Francisco Bay Guardian

“It’s wonderful that music can have such power to (en)lighten the soul and that Michael has the gift to so empower us.” —Richard Teitelbaum

“Byron creates maximalist effect out of minimalist means.” —ClassicalNet

Larry Polansky
four-voice canons


Over the past 25 years, Larry Polansky has been composing a series of fascinating mensuration canons (a formal concept dating back to the Renaissance) that run the sonic gamut from wildly boisterous to serenely introverted. This disc collects thirteen of these canons (one of which is found here in three different realizations) with instrumentations including marimbas, gamelan, electric guitars, children’s voices, computer, choir, and chamber ensemble. Performances by and collaborations with William Winant, Jody Diamond, Daniel Goode, the York Vocal Index, Ray Guillette, Nathan Davis, Nick Didkovsky, and others. [More info…]

“This West Coaster-turned-Dartmough prof is the heir apparent to the Cowell/Nancarrow/Tenney genius experimentalist mantle.” —Kyle Gann, Village Voice

“An unashamedly tactile approach to musical material, forging an oblique angle to tradition…. cool and elegant…it’s a mark of his resourceful mind that he can adapt the basic rules into a series of such complex and varied works…. Polansky’s canons show the extreme liberties that can be born from such exacting discipline, given imagination and willing.” —The Wire magazine

“This is one of the best discs Cold Blue music has issued since the company’s revival two years ago.” —Int’l Record Review

John Luther Adams
The Light that Fills the World


Premiere recording of three new, darkly textured pieces for bass clarinet, marimba, vibraphone, piano, organ, violin, and doublebass: The Light That Fills the World, The Immeasurable Space of Tones, and The Farthest PlaceAdams’s recent work tends to transcend his compositional devices—which churn away in the background while the surface shimmers with a simple joy in the very making of sounds. It is compelling, quietly expressive music that seems timeless in its sublimity. Performances by Marty Walker, Amy Knoles, Robin Lorentz, Bryan Pezzone, and others. [More info…]

“Whenever I hear this music I am mesmerized by something I can only call truth.” —Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams and Of Wolves and Men

“Adams’s music can be superficially described as the intersection of two diverse influences: Feldman and Cowell…. [H]is scores bear the ubiquitous marks of Cowell’s multitempoed rhythmic structures… The Feldman influence manifests itself as a delight in delicately balanced sonorities used as recurring images…. The variety of dreamy textures Adams achieves with a few simple materials is lovely.” —Kyle Gann, American Music in the 20th Century

“Landscape pieces, long, sustained harmonies with puffs of arctic winds blowing the sound one way or another…as much snow-strewn color as sound (but pleasurable in either guise)…beautifully played.” —LA Weekly

Various artists
Adams / Cox / Fink / Fox


Haunting, quiet, sometimes lyric, sometimes pensive music: John Luther Adams‘s Dark Wind, for bass clarinet (Marty Walker), vibraphone, marimba, and piano, joined with music for clarinet/bass clarinet and string quartet by Rick Cox (When April May), Michael Jon Fink (Thread of Summer), and Jim Fox (Between the Wheels). [More info…]

“In turns beautiful, expressive, contemplative and haunting. Recommended.” —Incursion Music Review

“Warm dronic music that shimmers in sensuality…. just plain old beautiful music…delicate music.” —21st Century Music magazine

“The performances are about as ego-free as one can find, and they seem indivisible from the compositions themselves.” —Fanfare magazine

“A rarefied atmosphere and great subtlety in the interweaving of the structure.” —Il Manifesto (Italy)

“A seamless collection of quiet, ruminative chamber pieces…. with Walker’s warm and very human tone taking the part of guide and companion. In the best Cold Blue tradition there is plenty of room for the listener here.” —Dusted magazine

Various artists
Cold Blue (an anthology)


An essential anthology of music by Eugene Bowen, Harold Budd, Michael Byron, Rick Cox, Michael Jon Fink, Jim Fox, Peter Garland, John Kuhlman, Daniel Lentz, Ingram Marshall, Read Miller, Chas Smith, and James Tenney—with a new, “bonus” track by David Mahler. From player piano and soloing bullroarer and celesta, from wine glasses to pedal steel guitar accompanied by a choir of banjos to relatively traditional instrumentions, this anthology has something to for almost everyone. Its incautious eclecticism is one of the reason’s for its long-resonating popularity. [More info…]

“Recommended.” —All-Music Guide

“An anthology with many voices, distinct yet united under the label’s vision of presenting some of the most innovative and accomplished new music coming out of the American west coast.” —Incursion Music Review

“This reissue is cause for celebration for the famished record scavengers who’ve been hunting it down since it disappeared.” —Signal to Noise

“Throughout, the music communicates the excitement of the new, the fresh, the experimental: most of the pieces convey a sense of delight and wonder in the sheer creative freedom of their approach to sound.” —Int’l Record Review

Chas Smith
Aluminum Overcast


This new recording of breathtakingly spare textures utilizes the same unique instruments that composer/performer/instrument designer Chas Smith employed on Nikko Wolverine—his popular recording from 2000. These include resonators that sprout rods, which are bowed and struck; large, clangorous sculptures of titanium; and vibraphone-like arrays of metal plates. The music plays with the listener’s sense of time (the perceived pace and the clock pace at which musical events take place) as it progresses, the spare slowly drifting to the dense. This is an exotic music unlike anything else. [More info…]

“[M]usical experiences utterly out of the ordinary…. 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

“His music is a sound apart” —Los Angeles Times

“With Smith’s music, the sounds are as compelling as his concepts and instruments.” —The Wire magazine

“Smith, musician, composer, engineer, metal craftsman and inventor is a classic American original.” —New Times (Los Angeles)

Rick Cox
Maria Falling Away


Six elegant, dark, sensuous soundscapes in which emotions seem to bubble just below cool surfaces. Much of this harmonically rich and texturally subtle music features composer/performer Rick Cox‘s innovative and idiosyncratic electric guitar playing techniques (which include the use of preparations and unusual objects setting the strings in motion). Other performers joining him on this CD are celebrated composer/trumpeter Jon Hassell, popular film composer Thomas Newman (piano), and composer/performer/instrument designer Chas Smith (pedal steel guitar). Critics reviewing Cox’s earlier recordings noted his music’s “graceful lyric lines” and “wistful harmonic suspensions.” [More info…]

“Rick is a hidden master of the crepuscular and the diaphanous.” — Ry Cooder

“Gently undulating melodies are held in soft focus, without becoming cloying; his enveloping harmonies are less innocent than they first appear. Prettiness with a tough core.” —The Wire magazine

“Very cinematic, it seems structured in tableaux of varying densities and hues.” —All-Music Guide

“Its tones and timbres are subtle and suggestive…strange things are happening in the shadows.” —Incursion Music Review

Various Artists
Dancing on Water (Marty Walker, clarinets)


Marty Walker performs music for clarinet and bass clarinet by composers Daniel Lentz, Peter Garland, Jim Fox, Michael Jon Fink, Rick Cox, and Michael Byron. Performing with Walker are noted new music champions William Winant, Wadada Leo Smith, Bryan Pezzone, Amy Knoles, David Johnson, and Susan Allan. The music runs the gamut from a lush work for ten pianos and ten clarinets to a technically thorny solo and includes just about everything in between. Although the individual pieces are on their surfaces quite different from one another, they share a certain commonality—an embrace of music’s inherent sensuality. Critics have described Walker’s playing as “masterful,” “flawless,” and “true artistry.” [More info…]

“[T]hink Satie and Morton Feldman, and you come close to the overall mood…the thinking-listener’s slow lane.” —Michael Barone, Minnesota Public Radio

“Each piece carries a quiet charm that immediately draws in the listener’s attention…. If, like me, you have a soft spot for the clarinet’s melancholy, you won’t want to miss this disc, shimmering like light “dancing on water.” —Incursion Music Review

“The playing and the recording quality are sparkling.” —21st Century Music magazine

Michael Jon fink
I Hear It in the Rain


Music for solo piano, solo celesta, multiple clarinets, and electronic instruments. The fragile piano works and the celesta piece display Fink‘s command of forms that are Debussyian in beauty (and occasionally in gesture) yet maintain a distinctly contemporary distance from their musical materials. The multi-clarinet work is a dark, slow-moving study in texture and tone color. The title piece is moody, insistent music that glistens with electric timbres, particularly Rick Cox’s idiosyncratic electric guitar work. The Los Angeles Times has described Fink’s music as “lustrous” and “metaphysically tinged” and likened it to the work of composer Morton Feldman. [More info…]

“[U]napologetically tranquil…coaxing substance from seemingly vaporous materials.” —Los Angeles Times

“Spare, refined, wholesome, satisfying…harmonically beguiling…. Fink is on to something. Check it out” —Michael Barone, Minnesota Public Radio

“The ethereal feel of Satie and the dreaminess of Debussy.” —All-Music Guide

“All very evocative.” —International Record Review

Chas Smith
Nikko Wolverine


Chas Smith, a maverick composer in the spirit of Harry Partch, creates much of his music from instruments of his own design and own tuning. Smith is also a much-in-demand pedal steel guitar player. On this CD, the first two pieces, the beautiful Nikko Wolverine and the texturally dense Tons Tons Macoutes, explore the often electronic/music-concrete-sounding world of his bowed and struck metal instruments. The last two pieces, the leisurely paced, inviting Genus, Sho-Bud and the hymn-like Near the Divide, feature the composer on pedal steel guitar. [More info…]

“Like famed composer and instrument builder Harry Partch, whom Smith readily acknowledges as an influence, Smith creates unsettling music that is both beautiful and eerie.” —Electronic Musician magazine

“Meditative alien soundscapes where time comes to a halt…a beautiful aural experience…. Definitely recommended.” —All-Music Guide

“[R]eally nice sounds here, and the resulting musical constructions are quite beautiful.” —Fanfare magazine

“Ethereal and atmospheric…truculent and aggressive” — Dean Suzuki

Michael Byron
Music of Nights Without Moon or Pearl


Michael Byron writes dramatic, lovely music that bares its compositional process as it unfolds. This CD presents two lush, insistent works for strings and keyboards, Music of Nights Without Moon or Pearl and Invisible Seeds for James Tenney, and a barn-burner of a piece for four pianos, Entrances (performed by David Rosenboom). Reviewing the premiere of Music of Nights.., the Los Angeles Times wrote, “An atmospheric score loosely tethered to a pulse, it’s a gently disjointed assembly of parts, ever on the verge of falling apart and coming together. And that verge, an entrancing and minimal place to be, is the point.” [More info…]

“Pieces lovely in their cloudy string textures and abrupt piano riffs…it all breathes the air of pre-Silicon Valley California.” —Kyle Gann, Village Voice

“It’s wonderful that music can have such power to (en)lighten the soul and that Michael has the gift to so empower us.” —Richard Teitelbaum

“Cascades of swirling music…sincere, technically challenging musical art with a distinct point of view.” —Fanfare magazine

“Deeply engaging pieces.” —International Record Review

Jim Fox
Last Things


This recording brings together two of Jim Fox‘s haunting electro-acoustic works, The Copy of the Drawing, for spoken (whispered) voice and electronics, and Last Things, for bass clarinet (performed by Marty Walker), pedal steel guitar (Chas Smith), piano, and electronics. Reviewing an earlier recording of Fox’s music, Fanfare magazine wrote, “…daringly slow and sensuous…a kind of warm, glistening atmosphere that stirs memories of the Los Angeles night.” These same comments might well apply to the two soundscapes on this disc. [More info…]

“Suffused with a beautiful sadness.” — Fanfare magazine

“An austere, ethereal experience.” — The Wire magazine

“Sounds that seem to echo across a timeless void. Imagine a view of the sky on a brilliantly clear night, from an uninhabited part of the world: Fox’s music invites one to believe that if the stars, constellations and galaxies emitted sounds, these unearthly harmonics are what one might hear.” —International Record Review

“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