Releases of the Month, January 2022

In December 2008, someone scrawled the words »Merry Crisis and a Happy New Fear« on the outside of a bank in Greece. At that time, the global financial crisis was disrupting the world economy and in Athens, the population took to the streets to protest the murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a policeman. Protests, riots, violence were also what made Iannis Xenakis the radical composer he was to become. For he also experienced his musical awakening a few decades earlier in exactly the same streets, where he was to lose his left eye in December 1944 while fighting British tanks.

The ironic slogan would have fit on any house’s wall anywhere in Germany this December, too. Back then, it was already foreseeable at the time that the fifth, massive Omicron wave would not spare us, and that we could only speculate about what consequences it would have for social and cultural life. To make matters worse, protests, riots and violence also became a daily occurrence until late January and will likely keep on happening in the foreseeable future. But does anyone really feel inspired by this? Or aren’t we, now at the beginning of the third pandemic year, just terribly tired and worn down?

A look at the month's releases at least proves that the global music scene continues to bubble over with ideas. In addition to a comprehensive box set dedicated to Iannis Xenakis's electroacoustic works on the Berlin label Karlrecords, there are gripping live recordings by Anna von Hausswolff, Akira Sakata / Takeo Moriyama, Klara Lewis and Pan Daijing. All four are archival recordings, but they make it possible to experience at home what we hope will continue to occur this spring, even in the midst of the new crisis marked by fear: moments of solidarity, communality in musical space(s). And what the concert audience of the future might look like is also the subject of one of the three books presented in this month’s edition of our Releases of the Month. We will duly take notes!