Projects

FROM THIS POINT FORWARD with Julien LabroFrom This Point Forward

The music of Astor Piazzolla is well known to North American audiences, but what came after the Tango Nuevo revolution?

We have teamed up with accordion and bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro to uncover exactly that with our upcoming album on Azica Records, From This Point Forward. “Jazz,” “contemporary classical” or “tango” are genre labels far too cramped to encapsulate the music of Argentine composer/pianist Fernando Otero, whose De Ahora En Más is featured on the record. Breathless fugues, opaque chord clusters and circular grooves here have a tincture of tango, but the language has evolved into something much more risky. Also hailing from Buenos Aires, composer/pianist Diego Schissi has similarly transformed the tango vernacular with tunes like the irrepressible Líquido 5. Perhaps it can best be summed up in the composer’s own words, in email correspondence with Labro and the quartet: “It is display of Full Power, a forceful demonstration of energy…edgy and a bit uncontrolled.”

We began our collaboration after being serendipitously paired for Northwestern University’s Big Squeeze accordion summit. With Piazzolla’s Five Tango Sensations as our point of departure, we immediately began sleuthing for more recent scores. Crafting many of the arrangements himself, Labro moved across the Argentine borders, embracing the progressive voices of Brazil’s Hermeto Pascoal (think Frank Zappa) and Puerto Rico’s Miguel Zenón. By coincidence, Zenón was performing at Chicago’s Jazz Showcase during the recording of From This Point Forward, and the MacArthur fellow joined us as a guest for Heitor Villa-Lobos’s alluring Floresta do Amazonas: Veleiros as well as his own incendiary composition, El Club de la Serpiente.

Astor Piazzolla’s music was not left behind in subsequent generations, of course, and the composer’s careening Milonga Loca is a cornerstone of the album, as well as our quintet’s concert programming. With Piazzolla as the launch point, we hope to introduce American audiences to a largely-unheard corner of new South American repertoire, and will continue to ask, What comes next?

Buy the CD on our website today, or you can get it in digital format from one of these major retailers (but they take a nice big cut…..just sayin’)

 
 
 
 


 

MM final squareMOBILE MINIATURES

What happens when the most creative musical minds collaborate with a string quartet to re-imagine the way your phone sounds?

Launching in March 2014, the MOBILE MINIATURES project replaced the tedious default ringtones, alerts, and alarms on your mobile phone with a catalog of teeny-tiny performances of original contemporary music. Can you imagine waking up to the alluring melodies of David Lang, answering a call to the kinetic textures of Augusta Read Thomas or being alerted to a text message by the wry wit of Nico Muhly?

Over 40 brilliant composers eagerly partnered with us, including:

Renée Baker, Mason Bates, Olga Bell, Marita Bolles, Seth Boustead, Courtney Bryan, Nathan Davis, Nomi Epstein, Suzanne Farrin, Erin Gee, Tomas Gueglio, Luke Gullickson, Ted Hearne, Ben Hjertmann, Julia Holter, Dominic Johnson, Chris Jones, Jonathan Kirk, Morgan Krauss, David Lang, George Lewis, Jenna Lyle, Matt Marks, Marc Mellits, Nicole Mitchell, Nico Muhly, Marek Poliks, amicus e. quorum, Collin J Rae, Shulamit Ran, Bernard Rands, Tomeka Reid, Sarah J Ritch, Greg Saunier, David Skidmore, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Tyshawn Sorey, Andrew Tham, Augusta Read Thomas, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Jen Wang, Greg Ward, Liza White, Philip White, Jay Alan Yim, and Katherine Young, Mischa Zupko

Head over to our Mobile Minis page and check them out!  You can hear each ringtone, read about the composers, and even check out some of their other music.  You can purchase them singly or in Bundles. We hope they bring a bit of artful, interesting music into your everyday life.

Also, we made this ridiculously silly video for our Kickstarter campaign back in September 2013.  You should watch it:

 


 

CHAMBERS

On October 26th, 2013, we released our debut album CHAMBERS in collaboration with Chicago’s first and only contemporary art music cassette tape label (yes, you read that right), Parlour Tapes+.  Showcasing a city teeming with musical exploration and ingenuity, CHAMBERS was created in collaboration with composers Marcos Balter, Hans Thomalla, Eliza Brown, Chris Fisher-Lochhead, Liza White, and Ben Hjertmann.  From exquisite microtonal harmonies to textures at the edge of the audible to hyper-kinetic guitar-pick strumming, CHAMBERS leads listeners through six rooms, each filled with a distinct voice and unique acoustic.

Hear it and buy your limited-edition cassette and/or digital album today directly from Parlour Tapes!

You can also buy it at these major retailers (but they take a nice big cut…..just sayin’)