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Listed: Max Richter + Yannis Kyriakides

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Dusted Features

Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Composers Max Richter and Yannis Kyriakides.

Listed: Max Richter + Yannis Kyriakides

Max Richter

Max Richter studied composition and piano at Edinburgh University, at the Royal Academy of Music, and with Luciano Berio in Florence before co-founding Piano Circus, a avant-garde classical ensemble that commissioned and performed works by Arvo Pärt, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Julia Wolfe and Steve Reich. He has, over the course of his career, collaborated with artists across a wide range of genres and styles, from electronics-based Future Sound of London and Roni Size to folk singer Vashti Bunyan. He is known, as well, for his work in film, most recently the Prix Franc Musique-awarded soundtrack to Waltz with Bashir. Infra, his latest album (out July 20 on FatCat), was written in collaboration with Wayne MacGregor and Julian Opie for The Royal Ballet of London.

My 10 Favorite Music/Image Collisions

  • Daybreak Express (D.A. Pennebaker, Director)
    This is a 5-minute blast of pure cinematic joy. Set to one of Duke Ellington’s most rambunctious numbers, the camera roams the subway in the fractured light of dawn.

  • The Royal Tannenbaums (Wes Anderson, Director)
    This is like an update on Harold and Maude - clearly inspired by it and yet it has a beauty of its own. The score by Mark Mothersburgh (of Devo) is a fantastically eccentric concoction of elements. The scene when they release the Hawk from the top of the building and "Hey Jude" plays is one of the great moments of film music in recent years. A friend of mine did the music editing and told me of the difficulties in clearing this. I’m so glad they managed it.

  • 2001 (Stanley Kubrick, Director)
    The use of music throughout is amazing, but the long closing sequence featuring Ligeti is just breathtakingly powerful.

  • KOYAANISQATSI (Godfrey Reggio, Director)
    I make no apologies for including this. I think it’s just sublime and includes some of Philip Glass’ best work.

  • My Girlfriend’s Wedding (Jim Macbride, Director)
    So strange and so evocative of an era. Features a score by Al Kooper (the guy who played the Hammond on "Like a Rolling Stone" ... the story goes it was the first time he had ever played B3 ... not a bad start). I just love this film, especially its trippy closing sequence. Its sequel Pictures from Life’s Other Side is also beautiful.

  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes / Battle for the Planet of the Apes
    A very bizarre series of movies - not even very good - but what insanely intense atonal scores from Leonard Rosenman. Makes The Dark Knight sound very tame.

  • The Long Goodbye (Robert Altman, Director)
    I love Altman, and especially the early films. The score by John Williams is so smart and funny.

  • Waking Life (Richard Linklater, Director)
    This is just a wonderfully creative piece of work. The opening tango sequence is particularly cool.

  • Chrystal Voyager (David Elfick, Director)
    This is actually not that great a film, but it has stunning underwater images and a long sequence featuring some early Pink Floyd which is very trippy. Sublime moments.

    Yannis Kyriakides

    Yannis Kyriakides is a composer, sound artist, and improviser based in Amsterdam, by way of Cyprus and England. His music explores new forms and hybrids of media, synthesizing disparate sound sources and highlighting the sensorial space of music. He has written over 80 compositions. Prizes have included the Gaudeamus prize in 2000 for a conSPIracy cantata, and an honorary mention at the Prix Ars Electronica 2006 for the CD Wordless. Together with Andy Moor (The Ex) and Isabelle Vigier, Kyriakides founded and runs UNSOUNDS, a CD label for new electronic music. He is artistic director of Ensemble MAE, and teaches composition at the Netherlands Royal Conservatory in Den Haag. He has already released four CDs in 2010: two collaborations with Andy Moor, Rebetika and Folia, a collection of pieces from the 1990s to the present, Antichamber, and a collaboration with trumpeter Marco Blaauw called Play Robot Dream. For more info: www.kyriakides.com

    1. Louis Andriessen - De Staat (Nonesuch)
    I was completely blown away by this piece when I first heard it. The boldness of the scoring, the energy and the inventive variations on the very limited material. In fact, it was after having heard this piece that I decided to move to Holland and study with him (talk about a piece of music changing your life). The concept of the piece is meant to be a critique on Plato, who writes in The Republic that a certain ‘mode,’ the mixolydian, I think, should be banned from society as it corrupts people’s minds and induces them to riot. Andriesssen’s piece is based on the basic tetra chord of this mode, and stretches it out over the length of the piece.

    2. Robert Ashley - Perfect Lives (Lovely Music)
    I have a profound love of Ashley’s complete output; he’s a great man. If I had to choose just one piece I guess it would be Perfect Lives. This is one of the most radical ‘operas’ (if you can call it that, which I think you can) of the 20th century, by one of its maverick geniuses. It’s a television opera that I first saw accidentally when I was about 15 in the UK. It’s an epic piece in seven parts set in the 1980’s American Midwest. The music owes a lot to the contribution of "Blue" Gene Tyranny, who plays the character of Buddy, “The World’s Greatest Piano Player." I had the honor of working with Robert Ashley on his CD Tap Dancing in the Sand, performed by my group Ensemble MAE and released on UNSOUNDS.

    3. Baloutchistan - Music of Ecstasy and Healing (Ocora)
    When I first heard this music on the radio, I couldn’t place it. That already made me very excited. It sounded Balkan, but with Indian instrumentation. When I finally found out where it was from, I still had no idea where that place actually was. The music of these nomadic people, who inhabit areas of Pakistan, Eastern Iran and Southern Afghanistan, is infectious in its spirit. This music is explosive and joyous, and has a trance-like form and function. A lot of the music is actually used for exorcism and has a hypnotizing effect through its repetition and shifting beats.

    4. Morton Feldman - String Quartet No. 2 (Mode)
    One of Feldman’s late pieces, and in some ways the culmination of his art. It’s the ultimate string quartet, lasting 6 hours. There is incredible detail in this work and because of, not in spite of, the long form, you focus on the small variations. I get lost in its vast, road-movie construction. Like many of his late works, he took direct inspiration from Turkish rugs and the way patterns vary slightly over many repetitions. There are 28 sections and most of them are very quiet. This piece makes you re-address your listening habits.

    5. Luc Ferrari - L’oeuvre Electronique (INA-GRM)
    It’s a bit of a cheat to mention the complete boxed set rather than one particular composition or CD, but this is just such a wonderful release from INA-GRM. To be able to listen to the range of the late French composer’s whole oeuvre gives you a sense of the multiplicity of his musical personality. Still, my favorite works are the Presque Rien series in which the possibility of realism makes its subtle entry into the musical landscape.

    6. Charles Mingus - The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (GRP)
    This was one of my favorite records when I was a student. I even wrote a paper on it at university. Mingus uses a large-scale narrative form that breaks the mold in many ways. It’s a highly expressive piece that runs the full gamut of emotions; it usurps big band clichés and slick cinematic arrangements into a quirky and multi-layered commentary on 1960s music. The playing on the recording is stunning, especially the way the grand musical construction teeters on the seething polyrhythms of drummer Danny Richmond.

    7. Andy Moor - Marker (UNSOUNDS)
    Andy has been a friend, label partner and collaborator for about 12 years. His musical outlook has been hugely influential on me, and his idiosyncratic guitar style is something that I have grown to love very much. Marker, his first solo CD which we released on UNSOUNDS a few years ago, still remains one of my favorite albums. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times, also because my son Zeno (now 5) used to request it whenever we got in the car.

    8. Rembetica - Historic Urban Folk Songs from Greece (Rounder)
    This is the first rembetica compilation that I bought. It’s a wonderful collection, mostly from the 1920s and ‘30s. There are a few tracks on this that Andy Moor and I used on our Rebetika remix album. Some of my all-time favorites on this album are: Zeimbekiko Aivaleotiko from 1918, which I used for a piece about 15 years ago (now on my album Antichamber), and Rita Abatsi’s “O Psillos”, where she sings:

    I wish I were a flea, my love, to come and get up close,
    And embroider your tender body with pain.

    9. Fausto Romitelli - Index of Metals (Cypres)
    I only recently discovered this piece, and I fell in love with it, partly because it sounds like the work of a kindred spirit. Sadly, this was the last work Romitelli wrote: he died in 2004, a few weeks after the premiere of this piece. It is a multimedia work bringing together the influence of contemporary electronic music within a hypnotic and refined instrumental landscape. It’s an enveloping and sonically rich experience. There are sample transformations of Pink Floyd, and the group Pan Sonic provides interludes. Romitelli and I once shared a concert a year before he died; it was the only time we met. This piece is full of potential paths his music would have taken had he lived. Sad loss.

    10. John Wall - Cphon (Utter Psalm)
    John Wall has been making tape collages since the 1980s, using sampled material from various musical sources. In his recent works, like Cphon, you can barely recognize the source (a piano in this case). It is one of the most interesting combinations of piano and electronics I have heard. It’s a very physical piece exploring the complete sonic range. Wall’s pieces are always visceral and imposing structures, but they have a generous architecture, and I can listen to this piece repeatedly and find new perspectives to explore inside it.

    By Dusted Magazine

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