Second Inversion Mobile App!

We are thrilled to launch the Second Inversion mobile app for iPhone and Android!

Choose your device and automatically connect to the app store or simply search “Second Inversion” in the iPhone, Android, or Windows (coming soon!) stores.

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The app makes listening to Second Inversion’s 24/7 stream of new and unusual music from all corners of the classical genre easier than ever.

You can also enjoy a variety of special features within the app:

  • On-Demand Audio – live concert recordings, in-studio recordings, podcasts
  • Video Archive
  • Event Calendar
  • Easy access to our blog and social media outlets
  • Photo Uploads – send us your photos!
  • Alarm Clock

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Download it today and let us know what you think!

LIVE CONCERT SPOTLIGHT: October 17-18

by Maggie Molloy

Looking to expand your musical horizons? Here are some exciting and experimental Seattle music events taking place this weekend.

Inverted Space Featuring UW Student Compositions

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Young 20-somethings are often at the forefront of new music ventures, constantly pushing the boundaries of familiar music genres and creating new ways of experimenting with sound. Seattle’s vibrant young musician scene is no exception. This Friday, music students from the University of Washington are presenting a colorful concert full of contemporary musical compositions written by their peers.

Inverted Space, UW’s contemporary music ensemble, will be performing small ensemble works written by fellow UW music students. The compositions include a solo work for violin and electronics, a duo for saxophone and cello, and many other unique musical compositions with imaginative instrumentation.

The concert is part of Nonsequitur’s Wayward Music Series, and will take place in the gorgeous Chapel Performance Space at the historic Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.​ The concert is this Friday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

 

Seattle Symphony’s [untitled] Season Opener

SSO Musicians at LPR (c) Brandon Patoc

(photo credit: Brandon Patoc)

This Friday, the Seattle Symphony is taking their music outside of Benaroya Hall and into…the lobby.

That’s right; Seattle Symphony is opening their 2014-2015 [untitled] series with a late-night concert presented in Benaroya Hall’s beautiful Samuel and Althea Stroum Grand Lobby. The performance will feature compositions by the influential 20th century Hungarian composer György Ligeti as well as contemporary composers Djuro Zivkovic and Andrew Norman.

Symphony musicians will perform Gyorgy Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 1, “Métamorphoses nocturnes.” One of his more daring early works, the quartet is written in one continuous movement which can be divided into 17 contrasting sections. The concert program also features Serbian-Swedish composer and violinist Djuro Zivkovic’s “On the Guarding of the Heart” as well as American composer Andrew Norman’s “Try.”

If you’d like to hear some insightful interviews with Andrew Norman, Djuro Zivkovic, and Mikhail Schmidt, one of the violinists, check out this great feature from Seattle Symphony!

The performance will take place in Benaroya Hall’s grand lobby this Friday, Oct. 17 at 10 p.m.  Be sure to stop by the KING FM table and say hi to Second Inversion’s Maggie Stapleton!

 

William O. Smith’s Jazz Clarinet

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This Saturday night, William O. Smith is jazzing up classical clarinet music with a performance of his own imaginative compositions and creative improvisations. The classically-trained jazz clarinetist has devoted much of his career to studying and cataloguing an impressive range of extended clarinet techniques, all of which have informed his own original compositions.

Smith will be joined by trombonist Stuart Dempster and clarinetist Jesse Canterbury. The captivating program includes a piece written for clarinet and improvising computer, a piece written for clarinet and computer-transformed sounds, as well as artful improvisations in duo and trio combinations.

The event, which is co-presented by the Earshot Jazz Festival and Nonsequitur, will take place at the Good Shepherd Center’s Chapel Performance Space in Wallingford this Saturday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: The 442s (Self-Titled)

by Maggie Molloy

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The 442s are not your average string quartet. Though the group gets its name from the standard orchestral tuning of 442 Hz, they certainly do not confine themselves to the classical music tradition.

The band was formed in 2012 by two classically-trained musicians from the St. Louis Symphony and two talented jazz musicians from the Erin Bode Group. Together, the musicians have cultivated an acoustic instrumental quartet which offers its listeners an eclectic mix of classical, jazz, rock, world, and folk music genres.

The quartet is composed of violinist Shawn Weil, cellist Bjorn Ranheim, double bassist Sydney Rodway, and composer, keyboardist, and guitarist Adam Maness. This past May, the group released their self-titled debut album.

Buy it here!

Aside from the extraordinary musicianship of each member, the most striking element of The 442s debut album is its musical diversity. The group transitions flawlessly from rhythmic, percussive soundscapes to gentle, flowing melodies to lively jazz piano solos and everything in between.  The group also experiments with improvisation, whistle solos, group vocals, and much more.

The composer behind The 442s unique sound is their pianist and guitarist Adam Maness, who can also be heard playing accordion, melodica, and glockenspiel on various tracks. Though Maness is responsible for writing most of the music, all of the musicians in the group collaborate and improvise to create a cohesive group sound.

“I’ve tried to write music without any restraints of specific genres or forms. Whether that involves the symphonic members of the group singing and improvising on the spot, or crafting through-composed passages for the jazz members of the group, I try to compose this music not simply for the notes on the page, but for the particular strengths of each member of the ensemble,” Maness said.

The diversity of sounds cultivated throughout the album allows the listener to travel through a variety of musical landscapes. In fact, the album even comes with a fold-out map and compass created by James Walker of the St. Louis design studio Husbandmen.

“The map is the imaginary world of our album,” Maness said. “Each location is a song, and each has a corresponding image.”

The album’s opening track, “Shibuya,” takes the listener through the hustle and bustle of a Tokyo neighborhood. The track begins with a rhythm-driven texture which later gives way to a flowing violin melody. Each string player weaves in and out of the musical forefront like people weaving across the busy Shibuya city streets.

The album then travels through a variety of musical ideas. “The Caves and the Cold,” for instance, experiments with a percussive sound and group vocals, giving it a folk feel.

“Our love of folk and pop certainly comes out more in the vocal songs,” Maness noted.

“Heston’s” harnesses a soft, gentle sound with rich, flowing melodies, and “The One” pairs a sparser musical texture with beautiful vocals by jazz singer Erin Bode.

“Irish is Reel” opens with a lively Irish folk melody on piano, which is then taken over by the strings and transformed throughout the tune. “Chime” showcases Rodway’s jazz bass chops, while “Hondo’s” features a groovy jazz piano solo by Maness.

“We’re a band made of two classical musicians and two jazz musicians, and we’ve tried to write songs that feature the skills of both of those disciplines,” Maness said.

“Multitude,” the album’s final track, begins with a rhythm-driven, percussive texture which is later layered with soaring violin and cello melodies. The piece transitions back and forth between rhythmic textures and more nebulous, flowing resonances before ending together in perfect unison.

It is a true testament to the musicianship of The 442s that they are able to travel through so many different genres and musical ideas in just under one hour. Check out their new album and join them on their musical journey!

VIDEO: In-Studio Performance at Second Inversion

Joshua Roman, Susie Park, Jocelin Pan, and Andrius Zlabys perform the first movement, Toccata, from Yevgeniy Sharlat’s Piano Quartet.

This piece was featured on the TownMusic at Town Hall Seattle season opener in September and the musicians stopped by our studio for a sneak peek.

Stay tuned for more exciting video projects from the Second Inversion studios!

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: The Brooklyn Rider Almanac

by Maggie Stapleton

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Since the birth of Second Inversion, Brooklyn Rider‘s versatile recordings of new music for string quartet have been a significant presence on our airwaves.  Eric, Nick, Johnny, and Colin also captured our hearts with a great Vine video musically depicting and celebrating “Second Inversion,” back in February 2014.

To celebrate ten years together as a quartet, they created The Brooklyn Rider Almanac. This is a collection of thirteen new compositions for string quartet mostly by composers rooted in jazz, rock, or folk music. It’s an incredible celebration of Brooklyn Rider’s musical connections in the last decade (the composers are self-proclaimed “musical crushes” and old friends) and for posterity, an expansion of the string quartet repertoire.  Furthermore, the project is “about inspiration, about music being the tip of a bigger iceberg,” according to Colin Jacobsen.

Each composer indicates from which literary, musical, dance, or other artistic source the inspiration is drawn.  You’ll hear music by Vijay Iyer inspired by James Brown (it grooves, hard, and requires the musicians to extend their rhythmic techniques with polyrhythmic stomping while playing); Christina Courtin inspired by Stravinsky (full of neo-classical Pulcinella-esque charm); Aoife O’Donovan inspired by William Faulkner (what I’d give to be in Mississippi, drinking a mint julep while listening to this…)

My personal favorite track on the record is Colin Jacobsen’s “Exit,” featuring the versatile vocalist Shara Worden.  With a light texture of percussive hand claps, plucking pizzicati, and pointed vocal sounds, there’s an undertone of minimalism in this piece in a beautifully “less is more,” simplistic way.  Colin Jacobsen cites three sources of inspiration of this piece.  First is Shara Worden and her dichotomy of not giving any excess in what she sings, yet still diving head first and inhabiting the role of whatever she’s singing.  Second is Kandinsky, who happens to be the lyricist of the song – “Exit” comes from a book poems and woodcut etchings called Sounds, written at a time when he was going toward abstract painting and trying to get away from the literal meaning of words.  Thirdly, Jacobsen draws from David Byrnes’ How Music Works by finding just the groove that is necessary for the piece to happen and not putting anything else there.

In regard to each individual piece and the collection as a whole, it’s best for me to keep it simple and just say this music is GOOD.  The type of “hand it to my friends who have little or no interest in classical music and say, ‘stop what you’re doing and LISTEN TO THIS NOW!'” good.  It rethinks classical music AND the string quartet with a timeless quality, putting a stamp on the fact that music doesn’t need labels or categories or genres.  Put these four (or five, in “Exit”) musicians together who can not only play music well, but express emotion and breathe life into the notes on a page, and the magic is there.

Get your own copy on Amazon or iTunes (it comes with 2 bonus tracks if you purchase on iTunes!) of the Brooklyn Rider Almanac and keep an eye on their tour schedule for a performance near you!