Jacob David Sudol(b. Des Moines, Iowa 1980) writes intimate compositions that explore enigmatic phenomena and the inner nature of how we perceive sound. He recently finished his M.Mus. at McGill University and currently resides in La Jolla, CA where he is working towards a Ph.D. in composition at the University of California at San Diego with Roger Reynolds, Chinary Ung, Philippe Manoury, and Rand Steiger.

Over the last five years some of Jacob's mentors in composition have included John Rea, Denys Bouliane, Philippe Leroux, Sean Ferguson, Dan Asia, and Craig Walsh. He has also participated in master classes with Danish composer Bent Sørensen and German composer Manfred Stahnke.

During 2005-2006, Jacob was the first-ever composer-in-residence for the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble under the direction of Denys Bouliane, in collaboration with the McGill Digital Composition Studio. He has also written music for the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Contemporary Keyboard Society, percussionist Fernando Rocha, saxophonist Elizabeth Bunt, and clarinetist Krista Martynes. As an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, he composed the music for a collaborative dance project with choreographer Hillary Peterson, and he was the principal composer and pianist for El Proyecto de Santa Barbara, a chamber Latin jazz ensemble.

During the 2005 and 2007 Montréal/Nouvelles Musiques and 2006 MusiMars festivals Jacob was an electronic assistant for performances with Court-Circuit, Matt Haimovitz, Sara Laimon, Martin Matalon, Moritz Eggert, Manfred Stahnke, the Caput Ensemble, and the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble. These concerts were broadcast by the CBC and the European Broadcasting Union in over fifty countries throughout the world. He is currently a studio research assistant for Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Roger Reynolds.

During his free time Jacob takes an active interest in religious phenomenology, cinema, acoustics, literature, poetry, and visual art. As a composer and performer, he always attempts to bring insights from these other fields into his work.


Disclaimer: All music posted on this blog is posted out of love and the idea that for the truly great music of our time(s) to be known it must first and foremost be heard. If you like what you hear please support the artist by buying the recordings, scores, and/or encouraging the performances of the music in every way possible.

If you are the composer, performer, performing organization, artist or directly represent the composer, performer, performing organization, or artist of anything posted on this website and would like your material removed please contact me and I will happily oblige.

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Mp3 Blog #11: Erasing a ‘lil “Sirius”-ness

The Fiery Furnaces:
Chief Inspector Blancheflower (2004)

Available on the album Blueberry Boat

...and I said 'Listen to you!
I know what you’re trying to do.'
'And what whould that be?'
'Mess with Michael’s head as some kind of revenge back at me.'
–So I drove up to Springfield in my wife’s new car
And went and had a drink at my buddy’s old bar.

One of the best recent discoveries that I’ve made in my endless indie music explorations has been The Fiery Furnaces. In early October last year, I had a piano student (who happened to also be a physics professor at McGill) who made me copies of The New Pornographers’ Twin Cinema and Blueberry Boat. Admittedly I’ve come to like Neko Case’s solo music much better than The New Pornographers (her music is much closer to the type of melancholic folk that I’m usually drawn towards) and, until two months ago, I had never even listened to The Fiery Furnaces.

I typically spend a lot of time reading music criticism, particularly popular and indie music criticism, searching for new sounds to titillate my eardrums and constantly twitching musical memory. When I got both albums I had already read a fair share of glowing reviews for Twin Cinema and greedily played as soon as I got home. On my first listen I was immediately turned off by what I considered to be The New Pornographer’s flagrant popism and – further annoyed by the music’s lack of dynamic range – I turned the album off after six tracks. After that I felt a hesitant towards listening to Blueberry Boat but decided to read about the album some first. After reading one poor Rolling Stone review and looking at the really long track lengths I decided I wouldn’t have the patience to listen to another new album that night and put it on my shelf for what looked like an indefinite stay.

Earlier this summer I discovered Pitchfork Media’s website and after reading an awestruck review of Kid A I started prowling through the reviews for every band I could possibly think of. At some point I ran across Chris Dahlen’s review of Blueberry Boat and immediated jumped off my bed to throw it on the old discman. One weekend and half a dozen listens later I was hooked.

In the last month I’ve also discovered the two more recent Fiery Furnaces albums Rehearsing My Choir and Bitter Tea. I’ve fallen in love with the bewildering critical bombshell that is Rehearsing My Choir (although cheers to Jerry for his good taste on this one). Personally, I’ve also been surprised at how better received the much more difficult Bitter Tea album has been in comparison. In my opinion, the main criticisms that Rehearsing My Choir has little melody and next to nothing to hold onto are complete crap since the album is chock full catchy melodic fragments and a collection of almost Wagnerian motivic and harmonic themes.

“Chief Inspector Blanchflower” is possibly my favorite long track on Blueberry Boat (which is still my favorite album by The Fiery Furnaces). I’ve never particularly cared for The Who’s mini-rock operas but in my opinion, in songs like this and others of their quickly developing quirky esthetic, The Fiery Furnaces have found a little chunk of hidden gold. It reminds me of what Pierre Boulez says about supporting musical analyses, that it doesn’t matter if you get at the techniques the original person used what matters is if you get at something that is valuable to you.

…Okay, I promise I’ll get back to posting contemporary art music next week.