Someone ought to get some t-shirts made that say "Vivaldi rocks!" At least that partly accounts for his popularity in the twenty first century; among the old masters, Antonio Vivaldi's sense of rhythmic dynamics and the gale-like force of many of his string concertos are close enough to the ever-enervating pulse of pop music that he has found an unlikely audience among younger listeners. Andrea Marcon and the Venice Baroque Orchestra's disc Vivaldi: Concerti & Sinfonie per Archi delivers these very kinds of goods, and will prove pleasing to Vivaldi fanciers of the younger set.
This is the première release of Julius Eastman’s Femenine, for chamber ensemble. It is also the work’s only known recording, documenting a 1974 performance by the S.E.M. Ensemble (with the composer on piano) which has lain unheard for decades. The music of Julius Eastman (1940-1990) is enjoying an on-going period of rediscovery. Known best in the past for his work with figures like Peter Maxwell Davies, Arthur Russell and Meredith Monk, today his own formidable compositions draw increasing admiration. Joyous, insistent, and immersive, Femenine bathes the listener in surges of tonal colour from intertwining winds, piano, violin, pitched percussion, synthesizer and – uniquely – the composer’s own invention of mechanised sleigh bells, which provide the 72-minute piece with its characteristic pulse. Illuminating sleeve notes are provided by composer and author Mary Jane Leach, who is co-editor of Gay Guerrilla, the recently released collection of essays on Eastman’s life and music.
The longtime lead vocalist for Krautrock pioneers Can, Kenji "Damo" Suzuki was born in Japan on January 16, 1950. An expatriate street poet inspired by Jack Kerouac's On the Road, he spent the better part of the late 1960s wandering through Europe, and while busking outside a cafe in Munich in May of 1970 was discovered by Can members Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit; asked to replace the group's former frontman Malcolm Mooney, Suzuki joined them onstage that very night, making his recorded debut later that same year on the LP Soundtracks. With Suzuki in the lineup, Can produced its most enduring and innovative work, including classic LPs like 1971's Tago Mago, 1972's Ege Bamayasi and 1973's Future Days; however, upon completing work on the latter, he left the band to become a Jehovah's Witness. Absent from music for a decade, in 1983 Suzuki began showing up unannounced to perform at shows by the band Dunkelziffer, eventually joining the group full-time and recording a pair of LPs; in 1998, he founded the Damo's Network label, issuing a series of live recordings including V.E.R.N.I.S.S.A.G.E., Seattle and the seven-CD box set P.R.O.M.I.S.E..