This is the second, and perhaps more aggressively experimental, installment in the Bang on Can All-Stars’ acclaimed commissioned composer series. Like its predecessor, More Field Recordings once again explores strange new terrain where found sound, samples and archival audio collide with contemporary classical music, written by a wide range of artists and performed by the All-Stars.
The Bang on a Can All-Stars emerged from the scruffy environs of downtown New York playing a new kind of music, with a new kind of energy, for a new kind of audience.
With Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, the Bang on a Can All-Stars show off their blazing speed, polyrhythmic virtuosity and all-world versatility in a return to the core Bang on a Can sound - an uncategorizable supermix of classical and electric instruments that is part classical ensemble, part rock band, and part jazz sextet. The album is the first in a decade that features the All-Stars exclusively, rather than as part of a collaborative project. Each of the pieces on the double-CD calls upon a different kind of virtuosity, demonstrating the range of musical abilities and experiences arguably unique to this ensemble. Recorded in New York City, all of the music on Big Beautiful Dark and Scary (including the arrangements of the works by Conlon Nancarrow) were written for and premiered by the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
Dutch composer Louis Andriessen turned minimalism upside down in the 1970's with his exciting and overpoweringly aggressive sounds. Earth-shattering and tribal in its elemental power, three of Andriessen's classics are now on one disc. Reissuing "Hoketus" and "Hout," plus a new blistering recording of "Workers Union," this disc is an international collaboration of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, members of London's Icebreaker ensemble, and musicians from Andriessen's own group.elp1983
As one-third of the composer-collective Bang on a Can, David Lang is something of a genial father figure of the indie-classical scene. Talk to any of the world's main players and you're likely to hear them tell you about their life-changing stint in Bang on a Can's summer festival, which has acted as a sort of feeder school and incubator for the group's try-anything mentality. Lang's music has undergone many stylistic shifts over the years: In the 80s, he wrote bristlier stuff, but in the last decade or so, he's shifted quietly into a more pensive register. The Little Match Girl Passion, his 2008 work that won him a Pulitzer, was written for only four voices and some hand bells. This Was Written By Hand, his most recent recording, is a collection of short solo piano works played by the British pianist Andrew Zolinsky. The album holds the same, sustained melancholy mood: thoughtful, searching, elegiac, minimalist. Lang's way with repetitive phrasing doesn't feel like that of minimalists like Glass or Reich's, though.