Laila Biali discusses 'Out of Dust' with 88.9WUCF

JUNO Award winner Laila Biali's new album, Out of Dust features not only contributions from the singer/pianist's husband; Ben Wittman and son, but also multiple GRAMMY nominees and winners including Lisa Fisher, Alan Ferber, John Ellis, and Larnell Lewis. "There's a line from a song by the indie gospel group, Gungor, that has become like an anthem to me," Biali says. "‘He makes beautiful things out of dust.' That's where the title for the album comes from, and as a songwriter and musician, my ultimate intention and hope is to spread a little more love." Listen to the attached Laila Biali - 88.9WUCF: Orlando FL Interview with Kayonne Riley 
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  88.9WUCF: Orlando FL Interview with Kayonne Riley

Bear McCreary does his all to give the music for Outlander season 5 a filmic feel / Film Music Central

The soundtrack for season 5 of Outlander, with music composed by Bear McCreary is available now. In Season 5 of Outlander, Jamie Fraser must fight to protect those he loves, as well as the home he has established alongside his wife, Claire Fraser, their family, and the settlers of Fraser's Ridge.  This new mantle of responsibility sees him pitted against his godfather, Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser, a leader of North Carolina's Regulator Rebellion.  Claire Fraser is determined to keep her family safe by any means necessary, whatever the consequences… while Brianna Fraser and Roger MacKenzie struggle to find their respective places in this brave new world.  Listening to the soundtrack for season 5, the first thing that struck me was how cinematic it all sounds. It really felt like I was listening to the soundtrack of a movie, not a television series. And that reminded me of just how much music for television series have changed in the last few decades. It used to be that there was a noticeable difference between film music and television music, but not any longer. Now, especially with big productions like Outlander (and formerly Game of Thrones, just to name an example), the music sounds just like something you'd hear in a movie. And certainly Bear McCreary does his all to give the music for Outlander season 5 a filmic feel. Actually there are certain portions that put me in mind of James Horner's score for Titanic. You also definitely get the feel of 18th-century North America with this music. I have no better word to explain what I mean other than it just feels rustic, almost like something you would hear in that era. It's really evident that Bear McCreary put a lot of work into this score to create the best music possible. READ THE FULL Film Music Central REVIEW
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"Wendy' is a playful score with more than a dash of magic / MOVIE WAVE

A reimagining of Peter Pan that transplants it to the American Deep South, Wendy is the second movie from director Benh Zeitlin; as on the first (Beasts of the Southern Wild) he has co-composed the score with Dan Romer. It's a playful score with more than a dash of magic – and if I say that it's got a reasonable sized orchestra, plenty of pizzicato strings, all sorts of percussion, a large number of colourful instruments adding distinctive flavours including dulcimer, glass harmonica, guitars and marimba then you'll probably think it sounds a bit like Thomas Newman. In fact it doesn't sound anything like Thomas Newman and while it's quite impressive that Romer and Zeitlin could write a score which could be described as such and not sound like Newman, it's even more impressive that they've managed to create something so incredibly distinctive that is so full of life and joy and magic and feeling – and it really is. There's a really nice main theme heard early on in the energetic "Straight on Till Morning" which is later fully unleashed in "Never Grow Up" and the fantastic "Battle for Mañana"; and a secondary theme representing the gaia-like guardian of the magical island where children stay children, introduced in "The Mother", which is full of awe and wonder. "The Old Hand" is an extraordinary cue which symbolises the composers' great creativity – the atmosphere from the steel drums, plucked strings, chimes and eventually wordless soprano is something to behold. This is immediately followed by "Where Lost Boys Go", which is every bit as magical as a cue with that title should be, wistful strings covering the listener like a warm blanket. It's not all sweetness and light – the early "The Haunted Train" is more like a traditional piece of fantasy scoring with slight horror elements; the lengthy "Want to Fly?" is exciting and energetic. Wendy is a really well-rounded listening experience, with so many positives to its name – it's genuinely different and creative and very enjoyable indeed. READ THE FULL MOVIE WAVE REVIEW
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On 'Betty' soundtrack, Aska Matsumiya gets in touch with her youthful, raw, and spontaneous side / Film Music Central

The soundtrack for the HBO Original Series Betty is now available from Milan Records. Starring Dede Lovelace, Moonbear, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell, and Rachelle Vinberg, Betty follows a diverse group of young women navigating their lives through the predominantly male-oriented world of skateboarding, set against the backdrop of New York City.   The soundtrack for Betty was composed by Aska Matsumiya, who is a LA based Japanese composer and producer who has excelled across Film, Television, Advertising and music production.  Matsumiya says: "Writing the music for Betty allowed me to be in touch with a side of myself that remains youthful and raw and spontaneous. It was really so much fun and I tried to let that momentum carry the music." Wow, Matsumiya wasn't kidding when she talked about getting in touch with her youthful, raw, and spontaneous side. The soundtrack for Betty is ALL of these things wrapped up together and it is pure joy to listen to. The melody is bouncing, alive, and just seems to dart from place to place. I don't know why this surprised me, considering Betty is set in the world of skateboarding, this type of music is the perfect way to express that world where gravity is defied on a regular basis. I think my favorite track is "Betty", the title track is bright, bouncy, and beautiful, like most of the soundtrack in fact. READ THE FULL Film Music Central REVIEW
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Kristian Eidnes Andersen's soundtrack for Vivarium is filled with a sense of ?the other" / Film Music Central

Recently, I got the chance to listen to the original motion picture soundtrack for Vivarium. Described as an existential trip to suburban Hell, Vivarium follows a young couple looking for the perfect place to live. In search of their dream home, the couple find themselves trapped in a bizarre labyrinthine neighborhood of identical houses. In time, the surreal situation spirals further and further out of control. The soundtrack for this film was written by Danish composer Kristian Eidnes Andersen. He received a degree from the National Film School of Denmark, and has been sound designer on more than 80 films. As a score composer, Eidnes Andersen has credit for more than 20 titles including von Triers Antichrist, Thomas Vinterberg's Submarino, and Per Fly's The Woman That Dreamed About a Man. The big thing that strikes me about Eidnes Andersen's soundtrack for Vivarium is how the entire thing is filled with a sense of "the Other." That is to say, you listen to this music, and it gives you chills because it doesn't sound like anything that came from here, it is "other than" and that's something that can instinctively set nerves on edge, which can be good if that's the feeling a composer is going for. Given the plot of Vivarium sees a couple trapped in a simulacrum of suburbia, I think this was very much the idea the composer had in mind. READ THE FULL Film Music Central REVIEW
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Tom Holkenborg creates beautiful music for White Lines / Film Music Central

I got the opportunity to check out the recently released soundtrack for the Netflix Original Series White Lines, with music composed by Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL). The series follows Zoe Walker (Laura Haddock), a young woman who travels to Ibiza after the body of her brother turns up…20 years after he vanished. The 10-episode premiered on Netflix on May 15, 2020. Tom's film scoring credits have grossed over $2 billion at the box office and include Mad Max: Fury Road, Deadpool, Black Mass, Alita Battle Angel, Divergent, Brimstone, The Dark Tower, Tomb Raider, Terminator: Dark Fate and most recently the record setting Sonic the Hedgehog. He has worked with directors including Peter Jackson, Robert Rodriguez, James Cameron, George Miller, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder and Tim Miller among many others. There is, for sure, a sense of the club life to be found in Holkenborg's music for White Lines. The electronic synthesizer at times creates a vague sense of dancing music. Not surprisingly, "In the Club" was one such track that reminded me of dancing and being in the club environment. Other times, to be honest, the synthesizer felt like a throwback to the 80s, at least that's what it reminded me of. I was fascinated by how Holkenborg wove the music together, one moment it sounds like something from 30-40 years ago, in the next instant it's a regular piece of music that twists and turns as it moves along. Listening to the music for White Lines reminded me, yet again, that one should never pre-judge a soundtrack by the premise of the show or movie that it's attached to. White Lines might not be everyone's cup of tea for a story, but there's no denying that some beautiful music has been created for this show. Hopefully my brief thoughts will persuade you to check the soundtrack out sometime in the future. READ THE FULL Film Music Central REVIEW
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Michael Whalen inteviews with 88.1WMBR

Michael Whalen's "Sacred Spaces" is an epic recording nearly ten years in the making. "I have been pursuing a spiritual ‘awakening' for most of my adult life. Over the past decade, I realized that I am 100 percent responsible for whatever my relationship with a ‘higher being' might be," says Whalen. Filled with sonic landscapes built from hundreds of layers of sound, "Sacred Spaces" is Michael's tour-de-force electronic project, which seamlessly blends his natural gift for melody with fresh textures and percolating rhythms. Deeply inspired by Michael's film and TV work and his love for progressive rock, "Sacred Spaces" is the ambient recording of the year. MW spoke with 88.1WMBR: Boston, 'New Edge' host; Ken Field. Listen to the attached file
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  Interview with WMBR's Ken Field

Mark Abel's 'The Cave of Wondrous Voice' is straightforwardly intricate, expressive and inventive in the best ways / Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

I've covered the music of Mark Abel on these pages before (see articles from April 13, 2012, June 13, 2014, August 20, 2018). I never consciously sought to cover so many. It was one-at-a-time and I've found myself liking and posting on each. Now there is another one, a new one of chamber works, entitled The Cave of Wondrous Voice (Delos DE3570). It features a song cycle and three instrumental works for small chamber configurations. Generally speaking this is not music that overtly seeks to call attention to itself by being extroverted-Modern or Avant Garde, nor is there a rock or pop influence in any obvious sense. Nonetheless it is inspired and very well put-together music that would not be mistaken for the music of the past nor perhaps as the music of some future utopia, either? It is straightforwardly intricate, expressive and inventive in good ways, in the best ways. READ THE FULL Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
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Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash, collaborate with Sharon Isbin - strumming together in unique teaming / REPUBLICWORLD.COM

Legendary maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangaash will be collaborating with multiple Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin. The new album will give viewers a unique teaming of two classical music instruments strumming together. The album, "String For Peace", is scheduled to release on the 22nd of May on the ZOHO label (ZM 202004).  Strings For Peace is a perfect blend of various classics. Viewers will get to listen to a melodious eclectic east-west fusion of sarod and classical guitar. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Sharon Isbin have been contemplating about the east-west fashion and finally, their fusion will come to fruition. The album will contain four tracks and cover various ragas composed by Amjad Ali Khan.  SEE THE FULL REPUBLICWORLD.COM PAGE
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Todd Mosby's 'Open Waters' wins the 2019 ZMR 'Best Contemporary Instrumental Album'

Produced by Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, and with a sound described as "an album to daydream to", Open Waters finds Todd Mosby once again embarking on a creative journey navigating through elements of Jazz, New Age, Folk and Indian music. Coming from a family of inventors (he is the co-inventor of the Imrat guitar along with Kim Schwartz and Imrat Khan), Mosby's early musical DNA was formed from his love of Bluegrass and Folk music, which eventually expanded into Fusion and Jazz.  Todd Mosby's 'Open Waters' wins the 2019 ZMR 'Best Contemporary Instrumental Album'
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Michael Shapiro discusses 'Archangel' with Spokane Public Radio

On ‘Archangel', Michael Shapiro breathes new life into the famous Toccata from the Fifth Organ Symphony by Victorian French composer Charles-Marie Widor with this arrangement for full orchestra named Widorama! played by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by the composer. Shapiro's arrangement of the famous Toccata, frequently used by organists for weddings and church services, brings the work into the concert hall in highly dramatic fashion. The album also includes; Concerto for Piano and Orchestra' , ‘Perlimplinito, Opera Sweet, A Lace Paper Valentine for Orchestra' , and ‘Roller Coaster for Orchestra.' Shapiro sat down with Spokane Public Radio's James Tevenan to discuss the recording and his superb career. Listen to the attached file
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  Interview with Spokane PR's Jim Tevenan

Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow 'Life Goes On' is richly poignant but never lugubrious / the absolute sound

If there's an air of resignation to the way pianist/composer Bley has titled the movements of her opening suite-"Life Goes On," "On," "And On," "And Then One Day"-it is belied throughout this gently gripping album by Bley's indelible wit and unsinkable sanguinity. Both are evident in her pithy liner notes, her quotes of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "The Star Spangled Banner" in the "Beautiful Telephones" suite (inspired by remarks made by the current president during his first week in the White House), her play on call-and-response in the closing suite, "Copy Cat," and the unfrantic flow of her elegant melodies and soothing harmonies. The album title could reference Bley's career (more than five decades of recording), her age (she turns 82 in May), or the longevity of this uncannily simpatico trio (25 years and counting). Touching here on the blues and there on tango, now buoyant, now contemplative, the music is richly poignant but never lugubrious, bent but not sharply angular, spacious and light but never ungrounded. Swallow's unique electric bass sound and Sheppard's stately tenor and soprano sax tones, heard in ample solo space, seamlessly lock in with Bley's eccentric phrasing as the band sublimely plays on. SEE the absolute sound PAGE
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Top 10 Albums for June

Ludovico Einaudi :

12 Songs From Home

Ludovico Einaudi today releases a special 12-track digital collection, ‘12 Songs From Home', out digitally on Decca Records on 8thMay 2020 with artwork drawn by the composer. Recorded at home on his own upright piano in one evening during the lockdown, the release follows several live streams that were watched by thousands of people at a time on his Instagram page. Einaudi explains, "I recorded ‘12 Songs From Home' between March and April 2020 during the peak of Italy's lockdown. In March I started to play live concerts regularly on social media. Switching on my phone to connect for 30-40 minutes with the world has been a beautiful and intimate alternative to the spring tour that I regrettably had to postpone. This new release is the memory of those home live concerts, my memory of this time, the memory of a strange and new atmosphere that we won't forget."
El-P :

Capone OMPS

Milan Records Today Releases Capone (Original Motion Picture Score) With Music By The Grammy-Nominated Run The Jewels' Producer And Rapper El-P.  Available Everywhere Now, The Album Features Music Written And Produced By El-P And Co-Produced By Long Time El-P Collaborator Wilder Zoby (Run The Jewels, Roma) For The New Film Starring Tom Hardy As The Infamous Gangster Al Capone. This Marks The First Complete Film Score From El-P Since 2004's Bomb The System, And Arrives On The Heels Of Score Contributions To Fantastic 4 (For Which El-P Scored The End Credits, Which Marked The Beginning Of His Working Relationship With Capone Director Josh Trank) And 2016's Bleed For This (Directed By Ben Younger) As Well As Contributing To The Soundtrack For 2018's Oscar Winning Roma (Directed By Alfonso Cuarón).  With Capone, El-P Is Stepping Out As A New Voice In The Film Music World And His Emotive, Tense, And Beautiful Score Is Unlike Anything He's Done Before.
Owen Pallett :

Spaceship Earth

Milan Records announces today's release of SPACESHIP EARTH (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by composer, violinist, keyboardist and vocalist OWEN PALLETT.  The album features music written by Pallett for director Matt Wolf's documentary film following a 1991 experiment in self-quarantine. Known for both their critically acclaimed solo recordings as well as collaborations alongside artists like Arcade Fire, Frank Ocean, The National and more, Pallett now adds Spaceship Earth to a growing resume of score work that includes their Academy Award-nominated score for Spike Jonze's Her and their Emmy Award-winning compositions for Fourteen Actors Acting.  NEON launched Spaceship Earth everywhere on May 8.
Uno Helmersson :

The Painter and the Thief OMPS

Milan Records today releases THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by award-winning composer Uno Helmersson.  Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Helmersson for director Benjamin Ree's newest documentary surrounding the relationship between artist Barbora Kysilkova and the thief who stole her paintings.  Originally making its debut at this year's Sundance Film Festival, The Painter and the Thief is now available to watch from NEON.
John Scofield :

Swallow Tales

Guitarist John Scofield celebrates the music of his friend and mentor Steve Swallow in an outgoing and spirited recording, made in an afternoon in New York City in March 2019 - "old school" style as Scofield says, acknowledging that more than forty years of preparation led up to it. John was a 20-year-old student at Berklee when he first met and played with bassist Swallow, and they have continued ever since, in many different contexts.  "I love these songs", says Scofield of the selection of Swallow compositions explored here – a broad range including tunes that have become standards, as well as some lesser-known works. The rapport between Scofield and Swallow is evident in every moment. John: "Sometimes when we play it's like one big guitar, the bass part and my part together."  Behind the drum kit, Bill Stewart is alert to all the implications of the interaction. "What Bill does is more than ‘playing the drums,'" Scofield says. "He's a melodic voice in the music, playing counterpoint, and comping, while also swinging really hard." The guitarist himself plays with fire and invention throughout: "These two giants bring out the best in me."
Grigory Sokolov :

Beethoven * Brahms

Typically, one half of a Sokolov programme enters his concert repertoire in October, the other half in February. He takes no advice and brooks no discussion when planning it: his choices are directed simply by what he happens to find most interesting and suitable. The only way to find out how and why he compiled this programme of early and late Beethoven – the Sonata op. 2 no. 3 and the Bagatelles op. 119 – and two sets of late Brahms pieces is to listen to it. He is not going to reveal anything in words. Anyone familiar with his recitals, however, will know that no two performances of the same repertoire are ever quite alike.
Aska Matsumiya :


Milan Records and HBO today release BETTY (HBO ORIGINAL SERIES SOUNDTRACK) with music by composer ASKA MATSUMIYA.  Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by Matsumiya as well as additional tracks featured in HBO's newest original series following a group of female skateboarders in New York City.  Based on Crystal Moselle's original film Skate Kitchen and starring much of the film's original cast, Betty premiered on HBO May 1 and airs every Friday at 11:00 PM ET/PT.
Nicola Benedetti :

Elgar Violin Concerto

GRAMMY award-winning Nicola Benedetti's new album on Decca Classics explores music by Britain's best loved composer, Edward Elgar. The centerpiece is his vast Violin Concerto in B minor. Op. 61 coupled with three short works for violin and piano: Salut d'Amour, Sospiri and Chanson de Nuit. The album will be released digitally worldwide on May 15, 2020. Elgar's Violin Concerto is considered to be one of the most technically demanding violin concertos and is a marathon for the soloist at just under an hour in length. Premiered in 1910 by Fritz Kreizler, this concerto has a profound effect on those that give it the time it deserves. Benedetti performs the Violin Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestraconducted by Vladimir Jurowski.
Bear McCreary :


Sony Music today releases OUTLANDER: SEASON 5 (ORIGINAL TELEVISION SOUNDTRACK) with music by EMMY® and BAFTA award-winning composer BEAR MCCREARY.  Available everywhere now, the album features music written by McCreary for the fifth season of the critically acclaimed Starz series. Of the soundtrack, composer BEAR MCCREARY says, "From the bagpipes of Scotland, the baroque harpsichords of Paris, the blistering Afro-Cuban percussion of Jamaica, to the twangy banjos of the Appalachian Mountains, my score for Outlander has continuously evolved to keep up with Claire and Jamie as they traverse both time and space. For the series' fifth season, I was presented with a new kind of challenge. For the first time, the geography and century would remain consistent with the previous season.  As a result, there was no longer a need to introduce new instruments and styles. Inspired by the drama, it was time to dig deeper into the music that had already been established."
Tom Holkenborg :

White Lines - Music From The Netflix Original Seri

Milan Records announces the release of WHITE LINES (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES) with music by multi-platinum producer, musician, composer and educator TOM HOLKENBORG aka JUNKIE XL.  Available Friday, May 15, the album features music written by Holkenborg for Netflix's newest original series WHITE LINES which follows a young woman navigating the island of Ibiza in the wake of her brother's mysterious death.  Drawing from his experience as a multi-platinum-selling producer, multi-instrumentalist and DJ, as well as his lengthy scoring resume of hit titles including Sonic the Hedgehog, Mad Max: Fury Road and Deadpool, Holkenborg provides the perfect sonic companion to the show's backdrop of Ibiza dance club culture.  From Álex Pina, creator of the award-winning crime drama Money Heist, WHITE LINES debuts on Netflix Friday, May 15.