forthcoming releases
home Cold Blue releases three to six recordings each year.

Currently in production are the following new releases . . .

new releases
backlist vinyl
about the label
Peter Garland

After the Wars

A beautiful and unusual four-movement piano solo performed by noted pianist and new music champion Sarah Cahill, who commissioned the work.

Garland writes about the music: “Each of the transparent and self-contained movements takes as inspiration a Chinese poem or Japanese haiku, and like in haiku collections I arranged the movements in seasonal order.... More than in most piano pieces of mine, I explore the quality of resonance in the piano: not just the notes played on the keyboard, but the sense of echo and fade produced by a very deliberate use of pedaling, and the sustaining and release of piano keys after notes and chords are sounded. It creates a sense of timbral color and acoustic perspective (proximity and distance) that gives these pieces their own individual character and conciseness. Each movement is like a single image, simply stated with relatively little temporal or thematic development—very much like the poems they are based on.”

Garland is a long-time associate of Cold Blue; his music has appeared on five of the label's previous CDs. After the Wars is a 20-minute CD single/EP.

"Garland’s music seems to be about the sheer expressive power of sound itself.... I feel he is one of our true originals." —Robert Carl, Fanfare magazine

“‘Radical consonance’ has been used to describe Garland’s apt choice of words.” —Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare

"[Garland] is an avatar of an experimental American tradition ... a composer of mesmerizing music; and in many ways, the musical conscience of my generation…. Garland's work always brings increasing cognitive involvement; it is much more intricate than it sounds at first." —Kyle Gann, Chamber Music magazine

"Ever his own man, Garland has moved beyond a strictly minimalist phase of evolving melodic and rhythmic patterns into a hybrid sphere of many influences from the panorama of world music, suggestive of such composers as Conlon Nancarrow and Lou Harrison.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Garland's…compositions exist entirely on their own terms.” —Signal to Noise magazine

"Garland’s not a very baaaad-assed composer, but he’s one of the best.”—Kyle Gann, Village Voice

Regarding Sarah Cahill:

“Apart from being an exceptional pianist and muse to scores of inventive composers, Sarah Cahill is a first-rate communicator who specializes in connecting the music she plays to broader streams of everyday life.” —Time Out New York

“Sarah Cahill…as tenacious and committed an advocate as any composer could dream of” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Sarah Cahill… giving us the benefit of her phenomenal technique, her instinctive command of recent aesthetics, and quite possibly the most interesting repertoire of any pianist around.” –Village Voice

September 2015
contact Cold Blue
Michael Byron

In the Village of Hope

A restless (and in some ways relentless) virtuosic harp solo performed by noted harpist Tasha Smith Godínez, who commissioned the work. This piece is unlike anything else in the solo harp repertoire, though not unlike some of Byron's other recent work, such as his Book of Horizons for pianist Joseph Kubera.

Byron writes about the music: “In the Village of Hope is a piece of unabashed virtuosity. Its complex temporal structure and intricate counterpoint vie for the listener’s attention. Pitch resources are limited to diatonic collections, enabling harmonic relationships to seamlessly cycle through seven contiguous key changes. With a sound reminiscent of wind chimes, it yields fields of harmonic stasis—that mysterious circumstance of individual notes diverging and merging to form a delicate fabric of sound.”

Byron is a long-time associate of the Cold Blue; his music has appeared on four of the label's previous CDs. In the Village of Hope is a 20-minute CD single/EP.

"In the Village of Hope simultaneously lulls and rouses the listener with elegantly cascading counterpoint and lush harmonies animated by complex rhythms. Its kaleidoscopic variations evoke ethereal wind chimes, rendering both the calm and the storm in a single gesture.”—Eric Smigel, author of James Tenney (Univ. of Illinois Press)

"Byron creates maximalist effect out of minimalist means." —ClassicalNet

"There is a dark allure to Michael Byron’s music, a seductive otherness that leads, through fascination, to a gently disturbing ambiguity of emotion." —Dusted magazine

"One is reminded not only of the time-bound nature of sculpture (one must move around a piece to fully experience it), but the mobiles of Alexander Calder, which are both fixed and moving. And, like Calder's work, Byron's music is immediately comprehensible and beautiful, while it remains experimental." —Dean Suzuki, San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Michael Byron's music . . . can sway in the direction of shimmering minimalism, or turn to a more rigorous and near-frantic method of composition. . . . Truly bewitching . . . an intriguing mix of tranquillity and restlessness, hot and cold, highs and lows." —Incursion Music Review

"Byron’s music…as it calms you, it plants seeds of doubt, even disturbance in your head. One eye might close, but the other remains nervously scanning the horizon.”—Fanfare

September 2015
Chas Smith

Twilight of the Dreamboats

A new electro-acoustic composition by Smith.

"The core of [Cold Blue’s] production resides in Chas Smith’s works.… This composer, guitarist and authentic desert enthusiast has developed his own soundworld using unique instruments he designs and builds himself. The heir of Harry Partch and several other instrument inventors, he has given birth to highly beautiful and formal microtonal music. It is rich in complex harmonics and often structured around alternating rising and falling movements." — Gérard Nicollet, Octopus (France)

"Smith has a penchant for long tones and drones, as well as an ear and love for magnificent sonorities. From his creations, as well as his pedal steel guitar, he elicits sounds that suggest thunder, approaching jetliners, electronics, screeching machinery, and much, much more. And he doesn't merely string together his sounds; he integrates them into sumptuous compositions that range from delicate, lyrical vignettes to grating, sometimes horrific tone poems." —Dean Suzuki, San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Smith’s pieces are music of experiment and discovery: a way of enabling the physical world to ‘speak’ by investigating, harnessing and organizing its sonic properties. The extraordinary sound-world of Smith’s articulately structured music captivates from the start." —International Record Review

"Like famed composer and instrument builder Harry Partch, whom Smith readily acknowledges as an influence, Smith creates unsettling music that is both beautiful and eerie." —Electronic Musician magazine

"Chas Smith, musician, composer, engineer, metal craftsman and inventor, is a classic American original." —New Times (Los Angeles)

"With Smith's music, the sounds are as compelling as his concepts and instruments." —The Wire magazine

September 2015
Daniel Lentz

Café Desire

An opera

"When it comes to attempts at musical seduction, Lentz's music is way out front." —Kyle Gann, Village Voice

"By intriguing his listeners at the same time he wreathes them in smiles, Lentz always comes up with something listenable and worthwhile. That’s certainly true of this new release." — Arved Ashby, Gramophone

"Daniel Lentz’s work, with its sparkle and pulse, has long evinced hallmarks of the minimalist style. But Lentz has often brought a glossy, Pop Art-Southern California palette of colors to his work." — Dusted

Jim Fox

blue photographs — selected piano music

Blue photographs collects a few dozen of the many aphoristic piano pieces Fox has written during the past 25 years.

"One of the striking qualities of Jim Fox's compositions is that you can still hear them inside you long after the music is over." —Wadada Leo Smith

"This is music that sounds like it was made in that California of cool northern beaches or the Mojave Desert as seen in the stark intimacy of Joshua Tree or even the remembered despair of the landscape around Donner Pass. This is a music of honesty, seductive and delicate yet strong and dark." —Daniel Lentz