Following the runaway success the last time I recommended five new music bloggers, back in January, here are five more your RSS reader is hungry for:
This is the blog of Helen Bledsoe, regular flautist with musikFabrik, and one of the best in her field. Helen writes informative posts about the nitty-gritty of contemporary flute playing: tips on playing harmonic multiphonics, extended techniques, nested irrational rhythms and the like (she recently posted on the use of non-vibrato in Michel Van Der Aa’s The Book of Disquiet), but her posts aren’t academic exercises, they’re frank discussions about the possibilities and frustrations of modern performance practice. She’s also not afraid to take composers to task – some of them very highly regarded – for sloppy notation or for failing to understand her instrument properly.
neither wholes nor parts
Scott McLaughlin is also a composer, and nwnp is his new excursion into blogging. Scott is adept at digging out stories and comments on the digital economy and free culture, and probably has the intersection of culture and legislation at the forefront of his thinking more than many composers. Recent posts on label elitism and an extended summary of comments made at the CMC’s Future of Music Symposium held in Dublin in June are among those worth your time.
Tous les hommes etaient Retransformés en argile
Lawrence Dunn is another composer, this time an undergraduate, who blogs thoughtful and critical reviews of off-the-beaten path concerts (John Cage at Shoreditch Church, Music We’d Like to Hear), art exhibitions (Sally Mann at Photographer’s Gallery, Ernesto Neto at the Hayward), CDs (Ablinger: Voices and Piano), even lectures (Salomé Voegelin, Jennie Savage and Peter Cusack on field recording).
Stain on Silence
Doug is yet another composer: there are samples of his quiet and introspective music on a subpage of his blog, but the blog itself contains extended live reviews (Varèse at the Lincoln Center, Keith Rowe at Oberlin) and links to interesting video finds, including an interview with Bertrand Russell and an Omnibus documentary on Rodin.
Finally, mapsadaisical (AKA Scott McMillan), whose blog is a real treasure trove of album and live reviews of mostly Wire-ish improv, experimental and otherwise alt- music – like Damo Suzuki at the King’s Head, Fennesz, Daniell Buck and Knoxville on Thrill Jockey and Chris Watson’s Whispering in the Leaves installation. He’s also a great value tweeter.
Spitalfields Music, organisers of the Spitalfields Summer and Winter Festivals, as well as numerous community events in East London throughout the year, now have a blog. They kick things off with some insights into the life and work of the incomparable Chris Newman, who will be featured in a portrait concert at this year’s Summer Festival.
Dust off your RSS reader: it’s time for some new reads for the new year.
erstwords is only periodically updated (six posts in two years). It’s run by Jon Abbey and Bhob Rainey, although only in an editorial capacity, it seems. It’s more of an occasional magazine than a blog, really. The posts themselves are extraordinary gems of writing on experimental and improvised music. Contributors so far include Keith Rowe, Toshiya Tsunoda and Michael Pisaro (who has written a remarkably detailed history of the Wandelweiser group that is worth the server space alone). Subscribe, and pray for more.
sound expanse is a blog by American composer Jennie Gottschalk. The focus is experimental music, and many posts are in the nature of extended reviews: recent posts include a five-part review (richly illustrated with video) of this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival that I recommend reading.
Rouge’s Foam has been running for just nine months, but is an example of the old-school thought blogging that inspired me to start the Rambler in the first place (think k-punk, Woebot, blissblog): long-form posts that resist the dear-diary/lifestyle columnist format of the traditional blog, that provoke and frustrate in equal measure, and that feature the sort of square-peg writing that could only exist on the web. Rouge doesn’t always hit the mark, but his tenacity and ideas deserve attention, and the posts are always beautifully illustrated.
The High Pony Tail
OOP album blogs are two-a-penny these days, but The High Pony Tail is worth your bandwidth for posting high quality rips of classical and contemporary vinyl recordings. Recent new music highlights include a package of three recordings of the Barraqué Piano Sonata, lavishly accompanied by the original filler material from the commercial recordings, an analysis of the Sonata by Richard Toop, André Hodier’s book Since Debussy (heavily biased towards Barraqué), and more.
Sound is Grammar
Sound is Grammar is the blog of Australian composer Robert Dahm, one of the sharpest musical minds I know. ‘Nuff said.
Can I just say that I love reading Mark Adamo’s
lethal injections blog posts on contemporary opera. This isn’t about sacred cows, but it is an absolute pleasure to read a critic prepared to go against the corporate opinion of the big papers and the wider new music crowd, and to do so with such coherence, detail and precision. If an opera doesn’t work, no matter how much we’d like it to be otherwise, someone has to have the courage to say so.
Distance Learning has published a list of the “Top 100 Musicology Blogs”. There are that many?
ELISION clarinettist Richard Haynes has a new blog. Check it out here. Should become essential reading for all new music heads.
Fantastical melancholy is a new blog to me. Not only does it specialise in contemporary music, but it does so from a Polish perspective. Fantastical indeed!