5 (more) new music blogs you should subscribe to now

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:

Flutin’ High

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 tasksome 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.


Some old links

It’s been a while since I caught up on my blog reading, but here are a few links from the last few months that belatedly caught my eye today:

Composer Eduardo Moguillansky has been making the most of his blog to post documentation of his piece 121 for seven players, recently performed in Berlin and Stuttgart by Ensemble Ascolta: here are the programme notes (German), a sound file, a high def video of the Stuttgart performance, a pdf of the score and some background notes and sketches. Riches!

Here’s a long introduction to extended techniques in Dusted Magazine.

Lawrence Dunn has some interesting things to say about Peter Ablinger’s Voices and Piano, on Kairos.

And finally (and this really is digging back through the online dust, back to April last year), Dunn also has an analysis (with lots of score examples) of Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil. Lovely stuff.

(Image from Clearly Ambiguous on flickr)

Clearance sale

I’ve just spent my Bank holiday Monday reviewing, re-organising and recycling the mass of paperwork that accumulated while writing my thesis. To follow that up, I’m doing the same thing to my NetNewsWire clippings folder:

This Soho post on orchestral finances seems to have slipped below the radar, but is well worth your time.

Object Collection has posted a couple of videos of Jennifer Walshe’s music.

Brian Sacawa and ABAblog present performer’s eye views of new music publishers.

I’m really excited about this Stockhausen event planned for later in the year – a chance to properly assess some of those late pieces?

And I know it makes me a geek, but I’m almost as excited about Gramophone‘s review backlist going online. Just in time for my viva too!


A ton of stuff in the inbox – time for a spring clean:

Spiral Cage reviews some Lachenmann.

DJA on (ir)rational rhythm notations.

Composers in newspapers 1 – Anthony Pateras!

Composers in newspapers 2 – Heiner Goebbels!

Composers in newspapers 3 –  Jonathan Harvey!

Anthony Tommasini gets excited that Thomas “over-hyped and over there” Adès sells out Zankel Hall; overlooks the possibly more exciting Gerald Barry chamber opera from the previous night. Luckily, Feast of Music didn’t. Zankel only half full, apparently, so don’t sink all your money into new music shares just yet.

But really, ignore pocket operas – pocket Helicopter String Quartets are where it’s at.

FoM is also outraged that the NY Phil – the work’s commissioners – aren’t interested in playing Messiaen’s final masterpiece in his centenary year.

And countercritic has had it with Bernard Holland and the “entirely retarded” haters of atonal music.

Links for the week

More from the inbox.

The BBC Scottish SO have a blog and have been posting on their recent tour of the Netherlands.

Forty years after Cage and Knowles, a new book (and website) explores contemporary notation. NewMusicBox has more.

Kenneth Woods speaks up for the serial hegemony.

How we see you: Music and Hungarian identity 1: “Hungarian hip-hop has been going strong since 1984, and its musicians are keen to be recognised globally. The problem: they’re just not Hungarian enough.”

How we see you: Music and Hungarian identity 2: “David Del Tredici’s ‘Magyar Madness’ … a tour de force that explores every color of the clarinet and then some, with colorful and often antic writing that builds into what the composer describes as ‘a goulash of musical frenzy.'”

Recently in musicology blogging

Phil (with some cracking YouTube action) and Jonathan continue the discussion of music and the primary campaigns.

Which together tie rather nicely to Ryan Raul Bañagale’s thought-provoking call for a Millennial Musicology. I say there’s a connection because while Phil’s post is an example of the advantages of web resources to musicology (the subject of Bañagale’s proposal), Jonathan – who evaluates some of the relative production values of the music Phil linked to  – points to one potential current limitation of YouTube and similar technologies. And that is that the quality of such videos (not to mention the pre-upload editing that may have taken place) is pretty low-grade: they’re small, loading can be jumpy, the images aren’t crystal, and the sound is rarely up to much. A lot of ‘noise’ is one thing in manuscript studies – where most critical evaluation is taking place ‘behind’ the surface scribbles any case – but I wonder about its methodological implications for the critical study of contemporary or recent phenomena, like pop videos. In such cases the YouTube experience is already several steps removed from the originally broadcast experience, even before we start thinking about horizons of expectation, historical context and so on. Do such limitations on the quality of the musical/visual experience matter if one is intending to write serious criticism or analysis? Even if not, that’s kind of interesting in itself…

Elsewhere: Kariann Goldschmitt on the ‘useful’ musicologist; Gabriel points us to a new crit theory blog; and Scott has some new takes – just as scientically legitimate – on the Mozart effect.


From the inbox –

Scott Unrein’s nonpop podcast is back broadcasting selections of the great and good in (mostly) American experimental, postclassic and minimal music. Subscribe now.

And this is a great video, excerpted from Tadeusz Konwicki’s 1965 film Salto, featuring music by Hollywood’s favourite Polish film composer, Wojciech Kilar. Big thanks to Music for Maniacs for the link.

Some links

Marc Geelhoed’s all-new Deceptively Simple speaks out.

Ben Harper on Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth at the Tate.

An interview with Boulez.

Feast of Music on Elliott Carter.

Congrats to eighth blackbird for rising above the dull and dreary in this year’s otherwise uninspiring Grammys.

From the horse’s mouth – the RIAA on their desire for applying spyware and content filtering to your music use.

Funding for the arts is the subject of the hour, and NMBx gets in on the action – with some excellent stuff in the comments.