Best of Classical 2021


Contemporary classical is a Pandora’s box. You don’t know what you’ll find, and you have no idea how it could affect you! The new classical composers are always after something new, on the brink of knowledge and theory, they’re like post-doctorate fellows, and I’m sure some of them actually are! So, new compositions are fascinating, but new recordings of modern composers or even older ones can be truly satisfying as well. And on top of that, there’s another branch of composers; they might not be after a new sound, and don’t tread old ground either, but rather make new music … Read more

Big Heart Machine – Big Heart Machine

The Music

The Words

I’ve been waiting on this release for as long as it has been announced (or very nearly so), but, when it was finally released, it was impossible for me to listen to it attentively and, thus, prepare a short review before the month’s end. It is doubtless that I can say that Big Heart Machine would’ve made it in August’s monthly recommendations, but you’ll have to be content with this belated, overdue one.

Big Heart Machine is the eighteen-piece big band under the baton of Miho Hazama and the production of Darcy James Argue, another Read more

Turbamulta – Turbamulta

The Words

The minimalistic contemporary classical quintet Turbamulta released their self-titled album via Clean Feed Records on 16 March. The near-fifty-minute album is made of three main tracks, two of which are divided into smaller pieces, and a shorter interlude. The composition-improvisation process of the chamber ensemble seems quite unique and somewhat convoluted. From what I can gather, it seems like they reiterate upon previous improvised sessions, in a sort of musical feedback loop. I’d like to know more about it, but the words of the label itself seem shrouded in lyrical musings.

Nevertheless, the end product is pure joy … Read more

Tele.S.Therion – Luzifers Abschied

The Music

The Words

Tele.S.Therion is a self-described acousmatic black metal ensemble based in Italy, with members from various European countries. They have been making music since at least 2009, and Luzifers Abschied is their eighth and latest release, from 2017. So… what is acousmatic black metal about, exactly? Simply put, it’s a “veiled” collective improvisation. The band refers to how Pythagorus would give lessons behind a veil, so his students would better concentrate, but I find the analogy here to be questionable, at best. How Tele.S.Therion operates is that each musician will add their improvised performance to a recording … Read more

Taylor Brook – Virtutes occultae

Just in time to close 2017 with a microtonal bang!, composer Taylor Brook released Virtutes occultae: an exploratory double album for piano. Somewhere between procedural, improvised, and strictly composed, the eighteen parts of this magnum opus take you into the world of overtonality. In a nutshell, this album is played by six virtual pianos, each tuned to a different 11-limit just intonation tuning. The details on how Brook’s approach extends Partch’s are scarce and blurry, but, in any case, the result is utterly mesmerizing. The fact that the music is played only by pianos, virtual ones at that, … Read more