Nothing Cool is Easy...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

New Release... Steve Peters - Lingua Franca

Present Sounds is so pleased to welcome Steve Peters to the label, and to announce this new CD release LINGUA FRANCA. This recording is a beautiful and haunting piece of art, with a stunning package and some fantastic performances. Steve is a thoughtful and humane sound-artist, and these pieces brilliantly demonstrate his craftsmanship and artistry.

We think you will want to get this CD, click on the cover below or to the left, and order this CD today.

Thanks for your support of new music!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Release - Samantha Boshnack's GO TO ORANGE

Hello Friends,

We are very excited to let you know about this new CD by Seattle composer and jazz lion Samantha Boshnack. GO TO ORANGE is the new recording, and it features 8 new compositions with Sam leading the big band through complex and beautiful new worlds of sound. Click on the CD cover to listen to samples or to purchase the CD.

Don't sleep on this CD... One of Seattle's new treasures.

Check out details on the B'shnorkestra site.

More info below:

“B’shnorkestra chamber orchestra—14 players on strings, horns and drums—celebrates the release of their first album. Its eight sweeping tracks are equally reminiscent of Charles Mingus and Ennio Morricone, swinging spaghetti western gypsy junkyard jazz wrapped in Boshnack’s grand, sophisticated compositions.” (City Arts Magazine)

Boshnack can scream or play it sweet. (All About Jazz New York)

One of Seattle’s most promising young composers is Samantha Boshnack. (The Stranger)

"Conducted by Joshua Kohl of Degenerate Art Ensemble notoriety...B'shnorkestra brings together a volatile 14-piece ensemble of horns, drums and capaciously creative strings." (Seattle Times)

Boshnack is in possession of an acerbic wit and an encyclopedic knowledge of all sorts of music from bargain-bin to top shelf. (The New York City Jazz Record)

Samantha Boshnack’s open voicings, jaunty tempos and buoyant timbral mixes have a friendly monster feel that achieves a bittersweet and elegiac mood of orchestral grandeur. (Downbeat)

Info on band:

Pronounced – Bish-norchestra

B’SHNORKESTRA is a large ensemble project featuring the work of composer Samantha Boshnack. Bold and undulating, there is a majestic grandness to Boshnack’s compositions. In the B’shnorkestra, strings and percussion orchestrate the soaring melodic and tightly punctuated horn lines she’s celebrated for, taking this new work to a cinematically inspired place.

Comprised of 14 instrumentalists, the B’shnorkestra brings together musicians from many different Seattle music communities including: jazz (free, modern, straight-ahead), rock, avant-garde, salsa, and classical. The music draws from and blends these genres into a language all its own, showcasing the wealth and variety of talents found in the B’shnorkestra players.

B’shnorkestra premiered at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center in September 2011 with support from 4culture, Meet the Composer, and Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, and was presented as part of the 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival. B’shnorkestra exclusively perform Boshnack's works, which charge the established orchestral art form with the syncopated rhythm of her personal blend of jazz, rock, world, and experimental music.


B’shnorkestra recorded eight new Boshnack compositions in June 2012, supported by fans through Kickstarter. Tracked live at Bear Creek Studios - a world-class facility with a diverse list of credits from Blonde Redhead to Bill Frisell, Eric Clapton to Ginger Baker - the record was mixed by Evan Schiller (Eyvind Kang, Sadhappy) and mastered at Lurssen Mastering (Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Diana Krall). The record - "Go to Orange" - will be released August 27, 2013 on Present Sounds Recordings, a Seattle-based label with a varied new music catalog including Stuart Dempster, William O. Smith, Jessica Lurie, Byron Au Yong, Eyvind Kang, and Christopher DeLaurenti among others. "Go to Orange" is B'shnorkestra's first studio album, and Boshnack's inaugural release under her own name.

Until the creation of B'shnorkestra, Boshnack's works were exclusively featured with the genre-busting sextet, Reptet - an indie-jazz conglomerate, with three full length albums (Do This!, Chicken or Beef, and At the Cabin) and one vinyl single, Agendacide, all received with great acclaim. Heralded by critics, Jazziz wrote "“This Seattle sextet [Reptet] does it all: it grooves, it rocks, it squawks – occasionally, it even talks. Mostly, it sounds like a New Orleans jazz band on crystal meth.” Boshnack is thrilled to present an entire record of new compositions written for the 14-piece B'shnorkestra.

The alternative chamber orchestra is conducted by Joshua Kohl, co-founder and composer for The Degenerate Art Ensemble (Seattle’s experimental musician talent factory). The B’shnorkestra’s string section features concertmaster Alex Guy, who tours with Laura Veirs and Mirah, Paris Hurley, a core member of the internationally touring Balkan/punk/experimental/rock band – Kultur Shock, and Jherek Bischoff, bassist who collaborates with the likes of Amanda Palmer, David Byrne, Caetano Veloso, and Soko. The remaining string players are all classically trained but perform in a variety of settings with such groups and artists as; Macklemore, Cat Power, DJ Spooky, Jim Knapp and Eyvind Kang’s Scrape, Seattle Modern Orchestra, Seattle Rock Orchestra, the Passenger String Quartet, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, . The brass/woodwind section features members of the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, who have worked with artists such as Bill Smith, Stuart Dempster, and the Young Composers Collective. The rhythm section features Greg Campbell co-leader of the traditional Ghanaina drumming group- Anokye Agofomma, and Tim Carey a member of the Jovino Santos-Neto Trio. Vocalist Maeg O’Donogue-Williams lives in Indonesia and tours nationally with prominent gamelan ensembles.

Go To Orange, written after a trip to Mali and inspired by the telecommunication company Orange’s grip over the country features solos by tenor saxophonist Tobi Stone and drummer Adam Kozie.
La Noche Negra features a full Latin percussion section and solos from conga player Lalo Bello and guest violinist Paris Hurley.

Skarkiselk begins with contrapuntal writing in a vaguely classical style and moves into a group improvisation section featuring Greg Campbell on French horn with string players Daniel Mullikin, Alina To, Brianna Atwell, and Jherek Bischoff. Things rapidly change in the second section featuring a wildly rocking duet between Alex Guy and Jherek Bischoff as well as a burning solo from tenor saxophonist Chris Credit.

Zim takes the listener on a slow, dramatic journey through rocky waters featuring solos from Jherek Bischoff, Maria Scherer Wilson and a flugelhorn solo by Samantha Boshnack.

Move begins as a Coltrane-esque odd-metered piece featuring Tobi Stone and moves into a brass fanfare section invaded by a thrashing bass line with a violin solo by Alex Guy.

Symposium is Boshnack’s version of a ballad with the strings lushly comping behind a trumpet melody and an alto saxophone solo by Chris Credit. Tim Carey begins a bass solo leading into the hypnotic buildup with Mullikin, To, Atwell, Guy, Boshnack, Stone, and Credit adding into the mix.

B’shnultimate is a double double-bass line groove with a three-piece percussion section playing Afro-Cuban inspired rhythms. Featuring Lalo Bello on congas and Samantha Boshnack on trumpet.

Pangkur’s lyrics are taken from a traditional Javanese poem. Maeg O’Donogue-Williams sings them in a traditional Javanese meets opera meets avant-garde style. Her vocals as well as Sri Joho Raharjo on gender and rebab (two traditional Indonesian instruments) were recorded on the island of Java in Indonesia with coaching from Peni Candra Rini. This track also features Greg Campbell on drum kit.

Player list:
Joshua Kohl - conductor
Alex Guy, Alina To - violins
Brianna Atwell – viola
Maria Scherer Wilson, Daniel Mullikin – cellos
Jherek Bischoff, Tim Carey – upright basses
Samantha Boshnack – trumpet/flugelhorn
Chris Credit – alto/tenor saxophones
Tobi Stone – tenor saxophone/flute
Greg Campbell – French horn/percussion/drums
Adam Kozie – percussion/xylophone/drums
Lalo Bello – congas (tracks 1, 2, 7)
Paris Hurley – violin solo (track 2)
Megan O'Donoghue-Williams – vocals (track 8)
Sri Joko Raharjo – gender/ rebab (track 8)


Prolific composer/trumpeter Samantha Boshnack is based in Seattle, where she leads three ensembles of her own music, as well as performs and composes with countless other bands, projects, and recordings. A featured artist in the Frye Art Museum’s Moment Magnitude exhibit (showcasing exceptional artistic practice in Seattle), and one of only 16 artists selected for an Artist Trust Fellowship, Boshnack was named Emerging Artist of the Year by Earshot Jazz in 2012. Her music can be heard with the B’shnorkestra – a 14-piece alternative chamber orchestra, and the Sam Boshnack Quintet, which features piano, clarinet, trumpet, bass & drums. Since 2004, Boshnack has also co-led the modern jazz group Reptet, releasing three critically acclaimed full-length records primarily comprised of her originals– “Do This!” (2006), “Chicken or Beef?” (2008), “AT THE CABIN”(2011), and one single on vinyl – “Agendacide” (2009).

Boshnack has toured Europe, Africa, Asia, Canada, and extensively in the US. These tours have included international festivals, colleges, grade schools, concerts, theaters, studio, and club performances. Boshnack also composes for the Cuban-inspired band, Picoso, that has released three records. She is a contributing composer to two leading modern big bands – WACO (Washington Composers Orchestra, formally the New York Composers Orchestra featuring Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb, and Tom Varner) and Seattle Jazz Composer Ensemble, appearing on their 2012 release Composers Vol. 1. In 2013 she was commissioned by the Seattle Rock Orchestra to appear on a concert of new works.

Boshnack earned a BA in Music Composition from Bard College in 2003. While at Bard, she studied classical composition with Joan Tower and jazz composition with Erica Lindsay. She has received support and commissioning funds from Meet The Composer, 4Culture, Artist Trust, Jack Straw Productions, ASCAPlus, Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, New York Foundation of the Arts, and Earshot Jazz – celebrating the best of Northwest jazz.

Boshnack was also accepted and attended, through a national call, the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute 2012 presented by The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University and American Composers Orchestra in cooperation with The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

She has performed or recorded with artists such as Butch Morris, Eyvind Kang, Oliver Lake, Los Campesinos, Bobby Previte, David Byrne, Terry Riley, Stuart Dempster, Skerik, Lesli Dalaba, Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb, Tom Varner, Sumi Tonooka, Dawn Clement, Jessica Lurie, Amy Denio, Dead Science, Beth Fleenor, Paul Kikuchi, Evan Flory Barnes, Paul Rucker, Orkestar Zirkonium, among others.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hunger: The Journey of Tamsen Donner

The tragic western tale of the Donner Party gets a new frame in this chamber opera by composer Tom Baker. The CD is finally being released (after many setbacks) and we are excited to let you know about it. The show was produced in 2008 by the Seattle EXperimental Opera, with Maria Mannisto singing the lead role. The performances on this recording are really special, featuring some of Seattle's finest musicians.

"Powerful. A starkly beautiful, almost unbearably moving chamber opera."
-Paul de Barros, Seattle Times

 Please click on the link to your left to go and listen to samples and buy the CD.

HUNGER tells the tragic tale of the Donner Party through the eyes of Tamsen Donner, the matriarch of that ill-fated group of pioneers. The Donner family and their fellow travelers were determined to make it to the promised land - the California territory. After struggling across the prairie and the desert, losing most of their oxen and cattle, and nearly dying of thirst, they were convinced to modify their route by a hired guide. They reached the Sierra mountains, just miles from their destination, only to be trapped for months by blinding snow and bitter storms. Many perished. Some survived by resorting to cannibalism. They all experienced unimaginable suffering. The music of Tom Baker and the poetry of Ruth Whitman combine to give a moving account of this journey, told through Tamsen Donner's re-imagined words, thoughts and songs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Hello Friends

Wanted to let you know of this beautiful new CD by Seattle composer Byron Au Yong, which just came out on Present Sounds Recordings. It is so great to have Byron aboard the PS ship, and looking forward to more from him in the future. For now, this CD should fulfill all of your wildest imaginings and strange dreams. You will definitely want to check this record out as soon as possible. Luckily, it is easy to do, just click on the album cover over there on your left. Go on, click it. You will feel better immediately.

Coming soon: Hunger - The Journey of Tamsen Donner

Happy February!
PS Recordings

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Edge: Flute Music from the Periphery of Europe

We are really pleased to announce the release of this new record by Seattle flute virtuoso Paul Taub. It is an honor to have Paul join Present Sounds Recordings for this new CD of music by composers from the former Soviet Union, with a new work for flute and string quartet by the new-music master composer Giya Kancheli.

With music from Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia, Taub takes us on a wonderful journey through a plethora of style and taste. He is joined on this recording by some of Seattle's finest musicians, and the masterful playing is well worth checking out.

An early review by the Seattle Times:

The music is alternately lyrical, eerie, rambunctious and prankish. It's always adventurous — and always approachable, whether in its beauty or in its stark drama.

For samples or to buy, click the album cover below or to your left.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Portable Sanctuary NOW AVAILABLE

Hello friends,

Wanted to let you know that the new record by Seattle drummer/composer Paul Kikuchi is available. We are really proud to welcome Paul to Present Sounds, as well as the amazing crew he assembled for this CD - Stuart Dempster, Bill Horist, Jesse Olsen Bay, and Alex Vittum.

From an early review: "With this release, Kikuchi proves once again that he's one of the most interesting composing drummers currently working. His ensembles consistently create some of the most varied and satisfying improvised music one can hear today." - The Stash Dauber

Check out the new record by clicking on the cover to the left... You won't be disappointed.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A busy summer...

Present Sounds is in the midst of a very busy season -- SIX new albums out in 2011. We are very excited about some of our upcoming records, including:

- a new solo cd by violinist/singer/composer Hope Wechkin
- a chamber opera (about the Donner Party) by composer Tom Baker and the Seattle EXperimental Opera
- a new cd by Portable Sanctuary, featuring Paul Kikuchi and Stuart Dempster
- a new cd of modern Eastern European composers by flautist Paul Taub
- our newest upcoming: a cd by Seattle composer Byron Au Yong.

More details on each of these releases as they become available. Hope you can check them out, as well as our full catalogue (to your left...)

Happy Summer!

Present Sounds