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

Currently in production are the following new releases . . .

new releases
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Nicholas Chase

Bhajan

Bhajan is composer Nicholas Chase's free-wheeling yet somewhat meditative four-movement work for electric violin and live electronics. This recording features violinist Robin Lorentz (who has appeared on four previous Cold Blue CDs), with the composer handling the electronics.

The Los Angeles Times has aptly described Chase's music as having a "brawling yet taut energy," Chase also works with multi-media and improvisation, work that has been described by LA Weekly as “pushing the edge of audio/visual improv.” Chase's chamber works have been performed by the New Century Players, the California E.A.R. Unit, New Zealand's 175 East ensemble, the Long Beach Opera, the Philadelphia Classical Symphony, Ensemble Sospeso, violinist Mark Menzies, harpist Anne Bassand, and many others. His electronic ensemble works have been presented at the Center for Electronic Art, Information and Technology (CEAIT) Festivals and Stanford’s Music from the Edge festival at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). In addition to his traditional Western music composition and new media studies at CalArts (with Stephen L. Mosko, Bunita Marcus, Morton Subotnick, David Rosenboom, Anne LeBaron, Mary Jane Leach, and others), Chase has also studied Arabic classical music.

[More info....]


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January 2017
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Erik Griswold

Ecstatic Descent

Australian composer Erik Griswold’s unrestrainedly exhilarating music has been described as “Startlingly fresh...intelligent, intuitive and original” (The Courier Mail) “colorful and refreshingly unpretentious” (Paris Transatlantic), and “kaleidoscopic” (Modisti), and said to remind us that “music of a more esoteric nature can be engaging and fun” (RealTime).

The composer writes, “In Ecstatic Descent every note of the piano is altered (“prepared”) with bolts, screws, strips of rubber, cardboard, and paper—transforming the instrument into a miniature percussion orchestra. By carefully positioning these materials along its strings the entire piano is, in effect, tuned to A minor. On this singular instrument I perform cascades of rapid-fire textures that start at the very top of the keyboard and wend their way down, bubbling and glinting as they descend.”

Describing a recent live performance of Ecstatic Descent, a critic at The Creative Issue wrote, "I could not take my eyes off his hands, although his fingers were moving so exceptionally swiftly that it was not possible to lucidly focus on them.... I could almost feel my own fingers cramping up, and was half expecting a confession of a third hand hiding somewhere. With eyes closed, you would swear there were four pianos being played at once; but no, it was just one incredibly talented musician.... Making his way from the high notes to the low, and literally every note in between, Griswold offered an enchanting performance that left fellow concertgoers defining in delighted disbelief 'extraordinary!'"

[More info...]

January 2017
Stephen Whittington

Windmill

"If Australia has produced a classic piece of musical minimalism, [Windmill] is it." —Graham Strahle, The Australian

"Stephen combines a certain Brit-Aussie whimsy and humor with a sharp critical mind, a deep knowledge of the American and international avant-garde, and an increasing awareness that Australia, being a pacific nation, looks to Asia as its closest neighbor." —Peter Garland

"Whittington weaves together musical influences from many different musical cultures.... His compositions have significant depth to them." —Ralph Graves, Finding Beauty in Ephemera

This new CD presents two of Australian composer Stephen Whittington's stunningly beautiful string quartets: his elegant, eclectic seven-movement ...from a thatched hut and his evocative, haunting Windmill. Both works are performed by Australia's celebrated Zephyr Quartet, the group that recorded Whittington's earlier Cold Blue release, Music for Airport Furniture.

August 2017
Daniel Lentz

River of 1,000 Streams

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

"Lentz's music inhabits...a musical 'state of becoming,' where both new and reappearing musical and textual fragments are fused through complex layering processes." —John Schaefer, New Sounds, WNYC

"Lentz's work 'chortles' in ways both sensual and intellectual." —Los Angeles Reader

"By intriguing his listeners at the same time he wreathes them in smiles, Lentz always comes up with something listenable and worthwhile." — Gramophone

River of 1,000 Streams is a wild new piece for piano and up to 11 "cascading echoes" (reappearing fragments of the work) that can stack up to create thick and seamless torrents or thin out to reveal more delicate textures. Performed by renowned Los Angeles pianist Vicki Ray, the virtuosic music rumbles from the piano's lowest notes up through its highest in a succession of lovely ever-drifting harmonies. Grammy nominated new-music champion Vicki Ray, a founding member of the California EAR Unit and Piano Spheres, has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and many new music groups in L.A. and around the world. She can also be heard on numerous recordings, performing the music of Cage, Feldman, Reich, Partch, Wadada Leo Smith, David Rosenboom, and others.

August 2017
Larry Polansky

freeHorn

"The Music of...Larry Polansky is a marvelous combination of the mathematical and the expressive. The blend is so seamless, in fact, that is serves to point out the absurdity of regarding those two strains as opposite or even especially different." —Joshua Kosman, SFGate

"Polansky has created a vast body of compositions that defy stylistic pigeonholing, from two-second canons to massive solo piano showcases as well as works for rock band, interactive computer environments, and solo piccolo in extended just intonation.... Every project he gets involved with ties to his social philosophy, as well. In everything he does, Polansky aims to create a model for a better world, a place where hierarchies cease to be oppressive and barriers are abolished." —Frank J. Oteri, NewMusicBox

This album of chamber music features a pair of electric guitars (played by Polansky and Giacomo Fiore), along with a half-dozen other instruments/performers. It offers three pieces: Polansky's drifting, shape-shifting freeHorn and his pulsing ii-v-i—each of which consists of a continuous modulation between three different natural/just harmonic series—and minmaj, Polansky's very unusual "translation"/arrangement of Ruggles's Angels.

August 2017
Peter Garland

Moon Viewing Music (Inscrutable Stillness Studies #1)

Moon Viewing Music is a quiet, sparse, introspective six-movement work for three large Balinese-style gongs and large tam-tam, performed by celebratedd new-music percussionist William Winant.

Garland is a long-time associate of Cold Blue; his music has appeared on six of the label's previous CDs.

"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 music...an 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

2018
Peter Garland

String Quartet No. 4, "Crazy Quilt"

Crazy Quilt is hauntingly still, yet ever evolving, single-movement (45 minutes) work that was premiered in Los Angeles in 2015. Architecturally monolithic, yet quirky in its individual voices, the piece represents something of a departure in form from Garland's music of the past 30 or so years.

Garland writes about the music: “This string quartet was inspired by a piece for solo cello, Out of the Blue, that I composed in late 2013. That piece’s structure is fairly transparent, a rising and then descending arc of 44 pitches…. Pondering this piece afterwards, it occurred to me that I could build an entire string quartet on top of it, much like constructing a house on top of an already built foundation. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the use of a pre-existing cantus firmus was a similar idea…. With the quartet version I could thicken the plot (or stew), so to speak.

“The winter of 2014 was long and cold. Forced to stay indoors, activities like quilt making are creative ways for people to pass the time. The crazy quilt title came to me because, like in such a quilt, the patterns and colors of this music are very busy, irregular and constantly changing. There is no ‘empty space’ in a crazy quilt, and likewise there is no empty space, i.e., silences, in this piece either. There is a certain element of self-deprecating humor in the title also. I had to make so many calculations, do so much arithmetic and counting—activities which are unusual in my composing process—that I felt at times like I was going a bit bonkers. Or developing some kind of counting mania, or a serious case of cabin fever. So this sound tapestry I made in the winter of 2014 is perhaps a ‘crazy’ quilt in more than one sense.”

Garland is a long-time associate of Cold Blue; his music has appeared on six of the label's previous CDs.

"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 music...an 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

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