Ryuichi Sakamoto: “Silk Endroll” (Video)

I’m looking forward to interviewing Ryuichi Sakamoto on Wednesday for Signal to Noise Magazine. His latest US release is a double CD featuring two albums: Playing the Piano and Out of Noise. The former is a collection of “self-covers,” featuring Sakamoto revising some of his most famous earlier pieces, many of them from film scores, for solo piano. The process of distillation and refinement has resulted in fascinating and fresh-sounding performances.

Out of Noise on the other hand, is a collection of a dozen new pieces. Here, Sakamoto explores an atmospheric and multi-hued sound palette, and enlists a host of noteworthy collaborators: among them Keigo Ayomada, Karen Filskov, Fretwork, Christian Fennesz, and Skúli Sverrisson.

Thus, the interview occurs at a timely crossroads, and will be a chance to ask Sakamoto about a broad range of music, from his earliest compositions to his current creative process. It will appear in the Winter issue.

An actor inhabits two different musical styles

Contemporary classical audiences were very pleased with Adam Goldberg’s performance as an avant-classical composer in the 2009 film Untitled (the David Lang penned soundtrack is available on Cantaloupe).

But did you know he’s also active as a pop musician? Relatively contemporaneous to his work on (Untitled), Goldberg, under the moniker LANDy released the engaging quirk-pop album Eros and Omissions.

These New Puritans orchestrate on new LP

These New Puritans

These New Puritans

On Hidden, their sophomore release, These New Puritans incorporate orchestral instruments alongside synthesizers and driving post-punk rhythms to create an unusually hybridized sound palette. But adding choir, woodwinds, and brass to the mix has done nothing to dilute the urgency of TNP’s songs. They don’t incorporate them in a suave, neoclassical fashion. Indeed, Jack Barnett’s classical chops were honed in a month-long crash course in notation. Instead they appear in angular block-like formations, glaciers a-swirl in a maelstrom sea of pop signatures. Sounds affects – including a sample of knives being sharpened – are also liberally incorporated, as are out-of-the-box dance-hall beats and synthetic loops.

But the severity of these incorporations suits Hidden, an album more about stark juxtapositions rather than finely nuanced transitions. It also manages to blunt any notion that the use of classical forces or filmic effects on a rock record necessitates sonic domestication. Quite the contrary, this is a woolly and wild, yet eminently gratifying, recording.

John Adams: “I am Love” screening in SF on 5/2

John Adams’ music is heavily features in the new Italian film Io Sono L’Amore. In fact, judging by the cue sheet here, the film is a cornucopia of zesty snippets by the composer.

Adams enthusiasts in San Francisco can enjoy a screening of the film on Sunday May 2 (details below). If anyone has a report from the event, please feel free to write it up in our comments section below.

Check out the trailer and other screening info here.

Sunday, May 2, 3:30 PM
The Castro Theatre
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco International Film Festival
Hosted by John Adams, followed by a Q&A

Voltaic – release information; screenings

Exciting news just in from Marni at Sneak Attack:

Björk’s DVD/CD/VINYL recording Voltaic, is being released in the U.S. by Nonesuch Records on June 30 (One Little Indian in the UK, and Universal worldwide.)

This June and July, the Paris concert from Voltaic: The Volta Tour will be screened nationwide in the U.S. Beginning on June 17 the more than 15 screenings will lead up to Voltaic’s release.   Below are the confirmed screening dates and you can download the poster here.

Available in five different physical configurations, Voltaic is a lovingly packaged celebration of the past two years of activities surrounding Björk’s Volta (2007).

Find more info about Voltaic here.


June 17 Boulder, CO Boulder Theater

June 19, 20 Anchorage, AK Bear Tooth Theater

June 20 Philadelphia, PA 941 Theater

June 23 New York, NY School of Visual Arts Theater

June 23 Los Angeles, CA The Montalban Theater

June 23 Madison, WI The Orpheum Stage Door

June 23-28 Oxford, MS The Amp

June 23-28 Lake Geneva, WI Geneva Theater

June 24 Minneapolis, MN The Trylon Microcinema

June 26, 27 Seattle, WA Northwest Film Forum

June 26, 27 San Francisco, CA The Roxie

June 26, 27 Bellingham, WA Pickford Film Center

June 26, 27 New Orleans, LA Zeitgeist Arts Center

July 20 Austin, TX Alamo Drafthouse Ritz

(More dates to be announced at Cinema Purgatorio)