Wake Up the Dead

JACK Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, and Quince Vocal Ensemble

On Wake Up the Dead, Chris Fisher-Lochhead’s music seems to jump through the speakers and grab the listener’s proverbial collar, demanding not only attention to its own construction, but a vigilant kind of listening. In his instrumental writing, Fisher-Lochhead shows an affinity for vigor, gravitating towards gestures that pack a lot of drama into short durations. When Fisher-Lochhead’s music explores sustained textures as in the two works for the vocal group Quince Ensemble, he embeds intensity inside durations — the music is always growing and imbued with urgency. This is music that takes an unspoken but almost polemical stance against complacency.



Selected from more than four decades of Philip Blackburn’s experimental work, ORDO (Latin, order) offers a profound exploration of the nature of sound, from the harmonious ebb and flow of wind-powered consonance and dissonance to the intricate dialogues between acoustic and digitized worlds. Exploring counterpoint as conversation theory, and the expressive potential of acoustic phenomena, the thirteen tracks are thought-provokingly smooth as they are crunchy—constantly evolving, daringly melodic, and textured with layers that shift like the weather. Read views by Inactuelles and MusicWeb International.


Ensemble Dal Niente

SLOW MOTION is a collection of performance-based video works by Sally Decker and Briana Marela, David Bird, Aaron Einbond, and Alec Hall, with performances by Ensemble Dal Niente and lovemusic. SLOW MOTION explores connections between performance, video, and image, focusing on themes of contained motion, destructive loops, and dislocation. Tense and liberating layers of bodily self-study…3D scenes of loss, solitude, and dislocation…a cyclical journey of motivational and demotivational quotations…an historic cityscape recast as both familiar and distant…these are some of the audio-visual images woven together by the performances of SLOW MOTION.

We Don’t Eat Dead Things

Ensemble Dal Niente

We Don’t Eat Dead Things was commissioned by Ensemble Dal Niente with support from the Des Moines Civic Music Association and was premiered in Des Moines in spring 2017. A feature of the commission was that the piece should be based on music by the Des Moines indie rock artist Christopher the Conquered. 

confined. speak.

Ensemble Dal Niente

Chicago based Ensemble Dal Niente releases confined. speak., a collection of works the group programmed in streaming performances during this past year. Despite the formidable hurdles associated with ensemble playing during the lockdown, Dal Niente presented concerts and took advantage of the ability to collaborate across vast distances. This album chronicles highlights from those events, featuring music by Melissa Vargas, George Lewis, Tomás Gueglio, Hilda Paredes, Igor Santos, and Andile Khumalo that reflects broad geographic influences from South America, North America, and Africa.

David Lang: Love Fail

Quince Vocal Ensemble

After years of performing and touring the modern masterwork, on April 24, 2020, Quince Ensemble released their 4th studio album David Lang: love fail on Innova Records.
Described as “beautiful, beguiling” by music journalist Steve Smith [FULL ARTICLE], love fail (2012) is a 50-minute meditation for four treble voices who play percussion created by Pulitzer-Prize-winning post-minimalist American composer David Lang about the timelessness of love that weaves together details from medieval retellings of the story of Tristan and Isolde with stories from more modern sources.

Beloved and Betrayed: Montéclair’s Miniature Dramas for Flute and Voice

Carrie Henneman Shaw, Leela Breithaupt Traverso, Les Ordinaires

Michel Pignolet de Montéclair (1667–1737), a noted basse violon player in Paris, composed a small but exquisite body of innovative works in a variety of forms, including an opera-ballet. He was also an important figure in the composition of music for flute at a time when innovations in design brought it to prominence as a solo instrument. This album traces his earliest published pieces through to his mature works of the 1730s. They show how Montéclair’s use of vocalised writing, and his ornate and complex obbligati in the cantatas proved to be pivotal in the development of the transverse flute.


Quince Vocal Ensemble

Released in 2018 on New Focus Recordings with recordings by Laura Steenberge, Gilda Lyons, Cara Haxo, and Jennifer Jolley. To us, Motherland means our natal home, worthy of love, critique, and support. It represents the terrain of those who identify as women, as mothers of varying types – creators and producers and life-givers and life-sacrificers. Mother-land is both embodiment and inversion of Emily Dickinson’s “Nature, the gentlest mother” – capable of supporting all life, and of obliterating it with forces as simple as a breath of air. 


Quince Vocal Ensemble

Released in 2016 on New Focus Recordings, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble’s second recording, Hushers, posits a new paradigm for a capella vocal music, in which text setting and linear structure exists side by side with works that use the voice as a multi-timbred instrument. In music by Kaija Saariaho, Kate Soper, Warren Enström, and Giacinto Scelsi, Quince delivers strong performances of music that fuse the ever present warmth of the human voice with compositional aesthetics more typically heard in instrumental works.


University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble

The University of St. Thomas Symphonic Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Matthew George, continues to bring about some of the greatest literature for the wind band genre through their massive commissioning series. Now having generated over eighty new works for wind band, this pioneering ensemble continues it recording project with Persistence – a 3-CD set (Vols. IV – VI of the University of St. Thomas Commission Series including How Very Close, Love and Hope, and Duende) of works from around the world.


Ensemble Dal Niente and Deerhoof

New Amsterdam Records is excited to announce the new collaborative album from Deerhoof (“the best band in the world” – Pitchfork) and Chicago-based 22-piece contemporary music group Dal Niente (“a model of what contemporary music needs” – The Chicago Tribune), Balter / Saunier, which will be released on April 29. The album features works by Brazilian-born composer Marcos Balter and arrangements by Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier of his band’s songs. The album will be celebrated at ensemble Dal Niente’s 10th Anniversary Party in Chicago on April 30 at Dal Niente’s Studio & 3rd Floor Commons at 4045 N Rockwell, which will include the Chicago premiere of Saunier’s piece on the album, “Deerhoof Chamber Variations.” 

Tipping Point

Zeitgeist New Music Ensemble

SCOTT MILLER and ZEITGEIST celebrate the first decade of their work together with the release of Tipping Point, a CD featuring both previously unrecorded and recent compositions, as well as one of the only purely acoustic works that Miller has written this century.

Il Poverello: Medieval and Renaissance Music for Saint Francis of Assisi

The Rose Ensemble

In Il Poverello, a collection of music from the 13th through the 16th centuries, the Saint Paul, MN-based early music group the Rose Ensemble gathers vocal and instrumental pieces written in honor of, or in some way related to, St. Francis of Assisi.

Ghostly Psalms


Some say that an artist’s output is necessarily autobiographical. This set of three substantial works by UK-Minnesotan Philip Blackburn does nothing to disprove that; they have his visionary DNA all over them. They show his deep concern for space, people, and ideas discovering each other through sounding and listening in the moment of performance. And what performances they are! From a city-wide organized industrial soundscape to a virtuoso Cambridge choir, from a brainwave-generated laptop solo to Ellen Fullman’s 80-foot long string instrument with cloistered nuns blowing on organ pipes, these live events are as audacious as they are unrepeatable: Community-based experimental music at its most raw and refined, fun and profound.

Canto y Danza

Chambure Vihuela Quartet

The Chambure Vihuela Quartet is a unique group of musicians who have come together to play the music of Renaissance Spain on the iconic instrument of the time, the vihuela. Not since the 16th century has a group of vihuelas been heard playing together in a with polyphonic music being played on four instruments of different sizes; and for this recording some of the most popular music of the time has been arranged by Tyler Kaiser. There are seven books of vihuela music that survive and at least one piece from each is found on this recording.