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Halas_Radio on 04/12/2009 at 11:32AM

An Hour* with Arie Shapira

Shapira recounted to me once that at The Rubin Academy in Tel-Aviv of the 60s, teachers encouraged students to follow the compositional routes of Schoenberg (Serialism), Bartok (national folklore) or Stravinsky (neo-classicism).

Shapira recalls that none of these avenues resonated in him and even though he had not yet developed his unique compositional style, he knew that following the pre-determined path of others was not the path he need follow.

Finishing his degree he ventured upon the composition of a few short pieces and was concerned at discovering that he is constantly composing his education rather than inventing. Disconcerted, Shapira took almost 10 years off composing at which he dedicated himself to teaching and studying the musical language of Bach, which he teaches to this day.
His first pieces immerged in the late 70s ushering in a new style of music deriving its force from the music Shapira finally realized he related to:

“… Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Bartok? This music meant absolutely nothing to me. They represented an era past to which my teachers could perhaps relate. I chose if anything to argue with these composers, but realized that even that is not relevant. The composers I should have been arguing with were Stockhausen, Boulez, Berio, Reich. These were the voices of my time whose music I didn’t accept as well, but who were at least relevant…”

“… I believe that my only reference if any could have come from post- war composers. They could understand the tragedy but decided to continue the tradition of beautification. Hence my ongoing musical argument with them…”

The Haifa University decided to honor Shapira with a concert on the occasion of his 60th birthday. The New Israeli String Quartet performed some pieces of his including a String Trio written for his graduation from the Rubin Academy in 68. Shapira mentions that students at that time were allowed to venture upon an original composition only at the end of their studies, and after proving they were proficient in past techniques and pastiche. The trio was performed in an official concert on which some of his teacher’s music was programmed as well. Shapira still recalls with noticeable joy the confused and perturbed faces of his teachers and colleagues.


Having heard the same piece almost 40 years later was quite a revelation: A short, two and a half minute gesture, revealing much of what will become the style of one of Israel’s most delightfully extreme composers.

Ophir Ilzetzki

* An Hour is an Anechoic Transmission

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jason on 04/11/2009 at 02:33PM

This is FMA Beta!

Welcome to the Free Music Archive, a social music website built around a curated library of free, legal audio. It's a work in progress, and your participation will help us continue to grow.

So before you stray too far, why not Sign Up and create a profile? That way, you'll be able to create and share mixes, blog, post comments, save favorites, and connect with friends. If you're already logged in, you'll see a "profile" button at the top of the screen. Edit your profile by clicking the Edit pencil, and hit "save" when you're done.

Looking for a place to get started? WFMU compiled a couple Free Music Archive samplers together last year, here's Volume 1 and here's Volume 2. You can listen to a sample track below, and hit + to pop-out a playlist for continued listening while you cruise the site.

WFMU is the Jersey City non-commercial station that came up with this whole idea, but we are just one of several major curators who are collaborating on this project.

Fellow curators include radio stations like KEXP (Seattle) and KBOO (Portland OR), webcasters like DUBLAB (Los Angeles) and Halas Radio (Israel), netlabels (Comfort Stand), venues (ISSUE Project Room), and amazing online collectives like CASH Music. Though we all share a common goal, each curator brings a unique mix of audio to the site. "Browse By Curator" up top and get a sense of where each curator is coming from. We'll be announcing more curators in the coming weeks, as we also invite artists and labels to manage their content. Please get in touch if you'd like to participate.

This site is in BETA; this is just a starting point. There are many features on the to-do list. Web development trecherous. If we didn't know that before (we did) we know it now better than ever. We thank Eliot Spitzer and the New York State Music Fund for making this site possible to begin with. And we've been blessed to have had the opportunity to work with the amazing people at Cuban Council, who've designed and coded the FMA that is fun, intuitive, and incredibly powerful.

We're working towards an open source model, and your feedback will help us get there. We'll also be honing our Help/FAQ pages based on your input, so please let us know what you think!

artwork cc by-sa 3.0 Greg Harrison

p.s. follow us on twitter

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Halas_Radio on 04/09/2009 at 05:08PM

Oy Division

Oy Division is one of the only bands in Israel which perform the old style folk music of eastern- European Jews, generally known as Klezmer. The members of Oy Division do not adhere to the modern Klezmer style nor do they try to make it contemporary in any way, but rather try to recreate and bring back to life the nearly extinct pre-war jewish music the way it had been originally performed. Their repertoire is a mix of instrumental wedding dance music, folk songs and songs originating in the Yiddish theatre, Old music played again with the zeal and exuberance of punks. The members of the band come from different musical backgrounds: Eyal Talmudi is a leading Israeli and international reed player, who regularly tours the world with the Balkan Beat Box; Noam Enbar is the bass player and lead singer of the exceptional Israeli experimental punk band H'Billuyim; Assaf Talmudi is an established record producer and composer and a lecturer in the Haifa University department of music; Gershon Leizersohn is a graduate student in the Tel Aviv University music department who regularly plays with classical music orchestras, and Avichai Tuchman is an independent musician and producer active both in the secular and the religious music scene in Israel.

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phoningitin on 04/08/2009 at 10:30PM

Daniel Johnston!

daniel johnstonOne of the "Oh shit..." questions I get asked a lot about Phoning It In (not that I actually get asked a lot about Phoning It In, that is) is " did you get Daniel Johnston on the show?" He has an aura of inaccessibility about him, but setting things up with his brother Dick- Daniel doesn't use email; his family handles most of his affairs- proved surprisingly quick once I got in touch. Really, all it takes in most cases is to ask nicely. I hadn't yet heard of Daniel's legendary over-the-phone sets for WFMU, so I didn't know that the concept wasn't such an unusual request. Dick had rigged up some kind of speaker-phone setup, but when I called for the show, no one else was around so Daniel just picked up the handset and played into that. As you can hear, the results didn't suffer. A few years later I saw him play a packed club in Boston, and though he was clearly having a ball, this is the way I prefer to listen to his songs: distantly, but as though being whispered only for me.

photo of Daniel Johnston (cc) by-nc-nd 2.0 Redheadwalking

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longrally on 04/01/2009 at 09:36AM

Taylor Ho Bynum/Tomas Fujiwara Duo Live at WFMU

photo (cc) by Scott McDowell

Taylor Ho Bynum and Tomas Fujiwara stopped by recently for a Sunday brunch set at WFMU.  The drums/cornet duo met in high school and have collaborated ever since, playing together in a plethora of bands/musical settings.  Playing a mix of composed and improvised music, and drawing on a broad spectrum of jazz styles from Ellington to Bill Dixon to smoldering grooves and who knows what else, the duo sounds loose and relaxed on the five tunes below.  Thanks to Mark Triant for engineering.

Their latest project together, The Thirteenth Assembly (a quartet with Jessica Pavone on viola and Mary Halvorson on guitar), has a brand new record on Important called (Un)sentimental.  Also, if you're in the midwest, they'll be playing a tour April 5-12 hitting Minneapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago, where they'll play as a duo and in various configurations with a bunch of amazing Chicago musicians as part of the Umbrella Music Series.

The live audio in this post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States license.

[Full set]

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robw on 02/20/2009 at 03:29PM

Balkan and Middle Eastern music from the Golden Festival

Every January, NY Balkan music scene pioneers the Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band and friends organize a massive two night grassroots Balkan / Roma / East European music and dance festival / celebration at the Good Shepherd School in the Inwood section of Upper Manhattan.

Audition the collection's page on the FMA here, or follow the jump for a few audio highlights:

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longrally on 01/20/2009 at 06:19PM

Zola Jesus live on WFMU

Coming off two killer 7"'s and on the verge of releasing the excellent Tsar Bomba EP on Troubleman, Zola Jesus was nice enough to drop by for a brunch-hour set on a winter Sunday morning.  The Madison, WI-based band is led by the warped caberet chanteuse vocalizing of Nika (sometimes aka Zola Jesus, actually) who constructs and plays the tunes herself on the recordings.  The live band version consists of Max Elliott (floor tom), Lindsay (ex-Pink Reason, bass) and Dead Luke (synth).  Zola Jesus stirs up a charming mix of synth-mired darkwave and lo-fi bedroom haze with charisma to spare.   The Jersey Boy bagels were a big hit with the band.

Zola Jesus - "Odessa" (03:34)
Zola Jesus - "Odessa" (03:34)
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longrally on 01/20/2009 at 06:09PM

Lucky Dragons Live at WFMU

Equally adept at community building, sonic exploration and art making, Lucky Dragons brought all sides for a live set recorded just before the holidays for the Long Rally.  It's one long track of computer gamelan, echoed out flutes, and tiny percussion.  Take a listen or download away.  Thanks to Jason Sigal for engineering.  And for all LD all the time, hit up the website, Hawks and Sparrows.

Playlist [link]   //  Blog Post [link]

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Scott_Williams on 01/03/2009 at 12:45AM

U.S. Girls Live on WFMU

Us_girls_046Filling in for Hatch this week, I had the thrilling opportunity to present a live set of music from the Chicago entity known as U.S. Girls, which is actually one U.S. girl, named Megan Remy. Packing nothing more than a reel-to-reel tape deck, a mic, and 2 stomp boxes, U.S. Girls delivered a maelstrom of classic pop filtered through something unknowable and kinda crazy, I don't know what it is. I'll indulge the facile "A meets B" thing by saying imagine Phil Spector covered by The Conet Project, or The Dave Clark 5 as done by a gang of angry ghosts. It's strangely still pop music, stripped of all affect, leaving behind the pure emotion and meaning of songs like "Bits and Pieces" and The Kinks' "Days".


Here, for your health and holistic well-being, is the entire set U.S. Girls played, including the un-aired (and un-airable) full 27 minute chat. You can also check out the entire set as broadcast, complete with listener commentary and contextualizing other stuff (up to and including Pete Townshend's 1982 masterpiece "Slit Skirts"), here.


mp3s: St Jude Boys Choir | Bits & Pieces (Dave Clark 5 cover) | Come See Lightly | Don't Understand That Man | Everyone I Know Is So Insane | Prove It All Night (Bruce Springsteen cover) | O What A Nite | Days (Kinks cover) | Buzz Chant | I Can Hear Music (Ronettes / Beach Boys cover) | interview (complete, unedited & unexpurgated)

Creative Commons License

All original work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.


Siltbreeze recently released the excellent Introducing U.S. Girls; visit their site for more. And here's a great writeup at the 20 jazzfunk greats blog. Jump the flip for more pics, plus some awesome video of "I Can Hear Music", shot by Jason Sigal.

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jason on 12/30/2008 at 02:47PM

Barnacled Live at WFMU

Barnacled live on WFMU: Alec K Redfearn on mouth harp towards the end of "Vulcanizing Society"

Last Tuesday’s episode of Talk’s Cheap featured Barnacled, an avant-jazz super-group from Providence RI. They have a new album on ESP-Disk called Charles, and played the following set before their record release party at the Bowery Poetry Club with Alan Sondheim and Septimania.


Barnacled Live at WFMU on Talk’s Cheap 12/16/08 [playlist] engineered by Trent Wolbe

1. Title (mp3) opening track to Charles

2. Polyurethane (mp3) from Charles

3. Slappodrome (mp3) a Nicotina and the Legs song (see below)

4. Vulcanizing Society (mp3) orig. from the 7” on White Denim


Lineup: Frank Difficult - Electronics/keyboard // Michael Jeffries - Baritone sax // Matt McLaren - Drums, percussion // Alec K Redfearn - Accordion, Jaw’s harp // Ann Schattle - Horn in F // Erica Schattle - Bassoon // Chris Sadlers - Bass // Nicotina - Guitar // (thanks to Alto Sax player Jason McGill for cordinating the session, though he was unfortunately not able to attend)

live tracks posted under a Creative Commons license, photo (cc) Trent W

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