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  1. Got this new release by Intakt yesterday and gave it a first spin right away. I remember how, travelling to Willisau by train last year, I met Patrik Landolt (Intakt producer) and how he almost wouldn't stop talking of this piano quartet and their performances of music by Julius Eastman. I had never heard the name of Eastman before but my curiosity was piqued for sure! The concert that took place in Zurich in November I couldn't attend alas (I was between jobs and taking some time off to travel, thus missed the entire Unerhört festival, including a re-union of sorts of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra, which was in fact a mixture of Barry Guy's Blue Shroud Band, adding some of the old cohorts--but I bet it was amazing!). The CD was recorded a few weeks after that concert, but the quartet has been together for a few years and has played many concerts--right now they're doing a series of "guerilla concerts" and I hope to catch one next week, on a worday afternoon at an arts gallery ... I guess they will bring their battered uprights, not use concert grands like they did in the studio. Details on the CD can be found here: http://www.intaktrec.ch/306-a.htm The music, I canno't really describe, it's minimal of sorts, it's very intense ... sometimes, the pianos are prepared, sometimes they're not, structures keep evolving, tension keeps building, sometimes almost to the point of becoming unbearably intense. Blurb from the Intakt website: The Kukuruz Quartet was first seen and heard making their contribution to a production at the Zurich Schauspielhaus. Kukuruz was engaged with notated classical music, advanced new music, with jazz and improvisation. 2014 Kukuruz started their involvement with Julius Eastman and his musical works. In 2017, their performance at documenta 14 in the Megaro Mousikis concert hall in Athens earned a standing ovation. They performed works by Julius Eastman: 'Evil Nigger', 'Gay Guerrilla', 'Buddha' and 'Fugue No. 7'. The recording of these compositions followed in November 2017 on four Steinway D pianos in the main hall of the historic Radiostudio Zürich. Composer, trombonist and scholar George E. Lewis, who knew Eastman personally and played with him, writes in the liner notes: "This brilliant recording by the Kukuruz Quartet constitutes an important new contribution to the growing corpus of performances of music by the composer, pianist, and singer Julius Eastman (1940-1990), who came to prominence in the experimental music scene of the 1970s and 1980s ... On this recording, the Kukuruz Quartet renders Eastman's spirit of adventure audible and sensuous, exemplifying a new, creolized formation of contemporary classical music that is able to embrace a multicultural, multi-ethnic usable past and thinkable future that can affirm our common humanity in the pursuit of new music." -- There's stuff on youtube which I still need to check out myself--maybe this for starters (the piece is on the Intakt disc as well): If you go over to YT to play it (be aware, they'll track you! but so they do when you play the above in this window), you'll be directed to more. New World has a three-disc release titled "Unjust Malaise" as well as a release of "The Zurich Concert" from 1980--guess these would be fine additions to the new one on Intakt. Does anybody know them? http://www.newworldrecords.org/album.cgi?rm=view&album_id=94885 http://www.newworldrecords.org/album.cgi?rm=view&album_id=15097 Julius Eastman in 1974 (photo: Christine Rusiniak) Some more stuff to read (I borrowed the photo from the first of these): https://www.villagevoice.com/2018/05/02/hammered-into-clouds-nine-beginnings-for-julius-eastman/ https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/sep/14/julius-eastman-american-composer-pianist-femenine https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/22/the-genius-and-the-tragedy-of-julius-eastman