Current Listens: Varied Pianos, Archival Afrobeat

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

A weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)

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NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

Erika Nesse makes music with fractal algorithms, in this case applied to the sounds of a piano. Get lost in the patterning.

Film composer Matija Strnisa slows the pace of the piano on “Tender Loneliness” to a near standstill, and then fills the spaces in between the notes with a drone that’s like cozy warm wool. A cue from the score to House of Hummingbird (벌새), from director Kim Bora (김보라).

The label Comet Records is reissuing classic albums by the late Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, including this pairing of two extended takes with Fela’s Afrika 70 ensemble. No Accommodation for Lagos was recorded in 1978. Allen passed away April 30, 2020.

The form of Matmos’ The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises in Group Form is 99 musicians’ tracks layered into an ever-shifting collage, the commonality being the tracks were all recorded at the same speed (99 BPM, naturally). The three-CD set comes with a map of the contributions, and that may be the best way to experience it — watching and listening for transitions and studio-yoked collaborations.

Ten tracks of sublime instrumental music: fragile surfaces that cover depth, tension, and resolve. This is the album Out of the Valley from composer n-So (aka Nick Angeloni). Music for slow mornings — or perhaps better yet, meditative music for anything-but-slow mornings.

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