Xen Radio Episode 25: Vocal Traditions

This week’s show explores different vocal music from around the world. Some of this deliberately explores microtonality, but much of this comes from a place of simply going for what sounds good and right. In addition to some tracks from the European/Western tradition, we hear music from Australia, Indonesia, India, Tuvu, and Cameroon.

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Xen Radio Episode 24

Mostly rock — that’s the theme for this episode. Groups such as The Mercury Tree and Horse Lords are a couple of the groups heard this week among others creating what can only be described as rock music that utilizes microtonality. Among this, are some laid back “traditional” microtonal works by Lou Harrison, Aepiel, and Georg Dimitrov.

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Xen Radio Episode 23

Joined this week by my good friend and dynamic singer/performer Siobahn Sung, XEN RADIO took a listen to microtonal music by post-war American experimental composers such as as John Cage, Joan La Barbara, and others. With the exception of James Tenney, most of these composers are not known specifically for their microtonal works, so these works either unintentionally use microtonal techniques, or are specific works that reach in that genre.

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Xen Radio Episode 20

After a two week break (sadly, an unforeseen one), XEN RADIO returns with our occasional “single-track” show. This week featured Alvin Lucier’s Small Waves. This unique work is best described by the record company’s website:

six glass vessels, some partially filled with water, are mounted on pedestals scattered around the performance space. Microphones are inserted into the mouths of the vessels, then routed through compressor-limiters to amplifiers and monitor speakers. During the course of the performance, the volume levels of the amplifiers are raised and lowered, causing feedback at pitches determined by the size and shape of the containers and their proximity to the loudspeakers. Following a sequence notated in the score, the players closely tune with the feedback strands causing interference patterns. At times, two water pourers empty water from one container to another, raising and lowering the pitches of the sounds from those containers.
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Xen Radio, Episode 18

This week’s XEN RADIO is a more eclectic mix that usual. Opening and closing the show is the microtonal punk group, Jock Tears, and they’re joined by music from Gamelan Degung, Harry Partch, Horse Lords, and others.

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Xen Radio, Episode 17

Bohlen-Pierce tuning, which divides and octave and a fifth — or, the tritave — challenges the concept of the octave, and removes its centrality from music. This week we listened exclusively to music that uses Bohlen-Pierce (BP) from a variety of styles.

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Xen Radio, Episode 16

This week is all about new releases! We listened to tracks from four new albums that had just dropped in the last several weeks: Horixens, by Sevish; Hark, Ye Music Lovers, by An Exciting Event; Quarter Tone Partitas, by Frank Rothkamm; and HABAFROPZIPULOPS, by City of the Asleep.

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