From New Sounds: “New, Newer, Newest: Piano, Three Ways”

From New Sounds
Hand-picked music, genre free. 24/7 radio from New York City.

John Schaefer by Marco Antonio

So what’s sounding new on New Sounds Radio? If you’re looking for genre-free, hand-picked, ear-catching, other-hyphened-word music then we are your friends and your ears and brain will thank you for tuning in. Let us do the hard work for you finding what’s great out there with a simple click of the pink LISTEN LIVE button in the top left.

They say that the piano is the universal instrument. They also say that if a piano falls on you, you would B-Flat.

Bad jokes aside, we at New Sounds could happily switch over to our friends at WQXR and listen to Mozart’s piano concertos and Chopin’s preludes all day long, but when the piano is presented in a new, weird and wonderful ways, as the latest three additions to the New Sounds Radio rotation do, then our ears really prick up.

Flora — Shida Shahabi

You might not think of 70s Persian pop or 90s MTV when listening to Shida Shahabi’s work, but that’s what she grew up listening to growing up in Sweden to parents who had recently fled the Iran-Iraq war.

She studied classical music at the The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, which is probably why you can hear allusions to Eric Satie, Federico Mompou or Chopin in her music rather than The Cure, but she later switched to visual arts.

I wonder if this is why she has focused on capturing every single sound the piano makes in her track Flora — there’s something glorious about all the creaks, shuffles, hisses and mechanical noises on the recording, and they paint a very visual image of an actual piano being played.

In the same way people love the grainy, crackly sound quality of vinyl, it makes for incredibly nostalgic and intimate sound (that would also probably sound even better on vinyl).

Helix (Edit) — Kelly Moran

Kelly Moran by Timothy Saccenti courtesy of Warp Records

New York-based composer, multi-instrumentalist and New Sounds host Kelly Moran has recently #blessed us with a release from her upcoming album Ultraviolet.

Helix (Edit) you’re hearing the prepared piano. It starts off slow, demonstrating all the wonderfully percussive, un-piano-like noises Kelly has created by carefully arranging bits and pieces of various materials inside the piano, intertwined among the strings and hammers.

As the music builds and cascades over a bed of synths, it starts to sound less like a piano and more like a gamelan or hammered dulcimer, the kind of lush audio trickery that always makes Kelly’s music mesmerizing to listen to.

Ultestakon — Jeremy Dutcher

Jeremy Dutcher by Tijana Martin -THE CANADIAN PRESS

This year’s Polaris Prize winner is the Toronto-based composer and operatic tenor Jeremy Dutcher, who blends Wolastoq roots with classical and electronic instruments and techniques.

His debut record which won the prize, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa (Our Maliseet Songs), is sung entirely in the near-extinct Indigenous language of ‘Wolastoqiyik’, which is the language of the Maliseet, the First Nation people of the Wabanaki Confederacy.

Jeremy is a self-taught pianist and in Ultestakon (Shaker Lullaby), it’s quite striking to hear how a simple piano line can highlight both the voice and the language so beautifully. Layers of heartbeat percussion, clapping, electronics, strings and wax cylinder recordings of Wolastoqiyik elders from the Canadian Museum of History soon join, but piano and voice are at the core of this lullaby.

See the full article here .

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NewSounds.org infuses the eclectic spirit of the radio show into a full online and live event experience. Combining the New Sounds radio show, WNYC’s Soundcheck podcast and the adventurous spirit of WQXR’s Q2 Music, NewSounds.org will be a place for discovery, conversation, insights into the creative process, and of course 24/7 music.
The centerpiece is New Sounds Radio, an online station hosted by New Sounds founder and long-running host John Schaefer, but infused with new, emerging voices including experimental musicians Kelly Moran, Eliza Bagg and Lora-Faye Åshuvud, and tastemakers Gamall Awad and Matt Werth, along with WQXR’s Helga Davis and Terrance McKnight, and composer-guitarist Phil Kline. The station will feature an array of styles and genres – from singer Courtney Barnett to contemporary classical music ensemble Kronos Quartet, from jazz icon Henry Threadgill to the Nordic folk music of Wardruna, from electronic composer and bandleader Anna Meredith to the stunning vocals of Puerto Rico’s Ileana Cabra.
“With almost everything ever recorded anywhere now available online, where do you start? New Sounds might be the place,” said John Schaefer. “We try to be friendly and jargon free, and gleefully oblivious of genre. Our goal is to find the artists, the songs, and the sounds that you might love – if only you get a chance to hear them. And we believe that algorithms won’t give you the same experience as a set of recommendations from real people. A friendly guide is the best way to discover new music, or music that defies easy categorization; and some of that music just might change your life.”
“For three decades, New Sounds was one of the last bastions of free form FM programming; completely genre-free and dictated solely by the impeccable and irresistible tastes of its host,” said Alex Ambrose, Senior Producer, New Sounds. “NewSounds.org will usher that sense of discovery and unpredictability into the digital age, drawing on the best of New York’s curatorial and taste-making power.”

John Schaefer


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