I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations about modern classical music? I don’t know much about it really, mostly the big, relatively well known stuff (the minimalists), but I came across some bits today and it’s recaptured my interest. I’ve had some mental health troubles the past few years and really moved away from “powerful”, “emotional” music for a while because I was a bit too raw and found it too difficult to listen to. But I think I’m beginning to open myself up to that kind of thing again.
I thought I’d add a few videos to see if they spark conversation.
Terry Riley - Crossroads
I’ve always had a grim fascination (possibly obsession) with nuclear weaponry. This piece was written to accompany a film of a nuclear weapons test. I would love to see it, but I suspect I never will. I hate the art world.
You have to scroll down to see this video and skip to about 3:10 for the Riley piece - there appears to be no other view available. The song itself is longer, about half an hour and it used to be on youtube but it has been taken down (I have a rip). The only way you can get it is on cassette, in what appears to be a very limited run issued about 5 years ago which is a source of great irritation to me. The song is beautiful, similar to A Rainbow In Curved Air but less hectic. I much prefer it.
Mica Levi - Greezy
I’ve been a big fan of Mica Levi for years because of her pop/indie work and DJing, and latterly her Under The Skin soundtrack was much discussed (both it and the film are very good, and she’s since done a couple of other soundtracks which I haven’t had a chance to listen to yet). But I came across this lesser known thing and thought it was very powerful. I would love to be able to buy a recording.
I also loved Feeling Romantic Feeling Tropical Feeling Ill once I finally got into it which is on more “classical” lines than a lot of her stuff. And Chopped & Screwed featuring her band with the London Sinfonietta was good too and is on these lines (plus it had an extremely weird ravey mixtape that came along with it, which is the opposite to this kind of music). Here’s a thread of some of us discussing her work and that of collaborators. Mica Levi/Coby Sey/Curl appreciation thread
Steve Reich - Different Trains
I can’t remember how I came across this, perhaps just reading. But once I’d heard it I had to get it on CD because it was so powerful. This isn’t the version I know but it has a visual component and you can see the musicians.
Gavin Bryars - Jesus’ Love Never Failed Me Yet
This is a bit more accessible and more “normal” but I thought I’d put it in as it’s one I’ve seen live (more or less by chance - I had a flatmate who was a classical music student when I was at uni and I went with him).
I don’t really have any “rules” for what modern classical is - arguably Actress or some of the weirder Detroit stuff like Terrence Dixon / Population One is in this kind of vein even though there aren’t a lot of “classical” instruments. Some can be very emotional and powerful, some can be kind of narcotic and dissociative. Hyperdub also appear to have been doing a lot of very experimental stuff that fits more into this bracket than the club music they are best known for (although I’ve not really explored any of the newer stuff). I can imagine Kode9 reacting badly to people describing that music as modern classical though lol.