Click on the artist name & album title to hear the music in question. (A note: this post first appeared in the CDA mailer, our monthly newsletter. Sign up here.)
Summary: These are concise, pop song-length tunes. Rani relies on ostinato figures swirled around with pedal, and deploys slow and deceptively uncomplicated lines of melody. It’s beautiful, very filmic, and has an unmistakable Philip Glass-ian vibe.
You’ll probably: catch at least one track on some “classical chill” streaming playlist.
Best track(s): Sun, Glass Esja, and Now, Run.
Meaningful PR blurb: “Recorded at Rani’s apartment in Warsaw […] and at her friend Bergur Þórisson’s studio in Reykjavik, Esja is a series of beautiful melodic vignettes, inspired by, Berlin, Iceland and the wild mountains in Bieszczady as well as a love of art and architecture.”
Summary: Cornish’s new album sounds like Anna Þorvaldsdóttir with a touch less Icelandic bleakness. While listening I pictured a time-lapse scene of social media influencers snapping selfies in front of rhythmic waves, while in the corner of the shot there’s like a decaying fish that nobody notices and you think “whoa. Who knew” at the very end. But maybe you will arrive at a different visual cue. Cornish’s music really takes you somewhere without you being able to say exactly how you got there. It’s quite lovely.
Best track(s): Seascapes I, II & III.
Summary: This project sees Dutch string group Alma Quartet linking up with DJ and composer Henrik Schwarz. Alma Quartet’s tight, nicely structured aesthetic is the cocktail on top of which Schwarz floats an eyedropper of eau-de-synthé. Everything goes down smooth. The writing is club-ready.
Best track(s): CCMYK3 is the most beat-heavy cut here, but CCMYK9 & CCMYK1 find nice grooves, too. Less danceable tracks remind me of Kronos Quartet joints (in a good way), especially Requiem for a Dream-era Kronos.
I’m not going to even: make fun of them for describing their recording process as an “open conversation between piercing intellects” in the album boilerplate. I just won’t do it.
Come for: Andrew Norman, creator of Play, one of the best orchestral works of the 2010s.
Stay for: wavery strings sounding like a drunk church organist playing a Hammond B3. You might also like to know this is the first recording of Sustain, which was nominated for a Pulitzer in 2018.
Summary: Norman swings for the fences in his latest piece, which he wrote after wondering what people would be thinking about & listening to a hundred years from now. Judging anecdotally by a few critics’ reactions on social media, this release came as a bit of a surprise – there wasn’t a lot of fanfare in the lead-up. Sustain is the whole album, and it runs just a touch over a half-hour.
Best track(s): um, Sustain I would say? since it’s the only track.