ism (TUNDRA/New Focus Recordings)
"Muncy gets to exercise his technical prowess on "ism," a New Focus release containing cutting-edge contemporary saxophone works. The most important of these, James Tenney's 1978 "Saxony," for sax and cumulative tape-delay, gathers density and complexity as its 27 minutes evolve into a gnarly super-aviary of hopped-up sax sounds."
-John von Rhein, The Chicago Tribune
Released in September 2016, Muncy's newest solo album features new works by Erin Gee (featuring percussionist Ross Karre), Morgan Krauss, Evan Johnson, and David Reminick, as well as a tribute to composer Lee Hyla and a resurrection of one of the instrument's forgotten masterpieces — James Tenney's Saxony.
HOT (NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS)
"Muncy has built a substantial career around bolstering the saxophone repertoire, and [now] he unleashes the solo fuego with his debut album, Hot." -Time Out Chicago
"On his dazzling solo debut, Hot, he continues to fight the good fight. It shows off the instrument's malleability and freakish extended range as well as its delicacy and refinement." -The Chicago Reader
"One of this year's most exciting albums" -Time Out New York
Released in October 2013 by New Focus Recordings featuring works by Chaya Czernowin, Georges Aperghis, Marcos Balter, Anthony Cheung, Aaron Cassidy, as well as Franco Donatoni's masterpiece "Hot" with collaborators Nadia Sirota (viola), Claire Chase (flute), Ben Melsky (harp), and Ensemble Dal Niente
Find Hot at New Focus Recordings and on iTunes.
ANTHONY CHEUNG: CYCLES AND ARROWS
Cycles and Arrows is available from New Focus Recordings:
"Composer Anthony Cheung releases a inventive, beautifully crafted collection of chamber works featuring the International Contemporary Ensemble (in "Assumed Roles" for solo viola and large ensemble), Spektral Quartet, and Atlas Ensemble, as well as soloists Winston Choi, Maiya Papach, Claire Chase, and Ernest Rombout. Cheung elegantly integrates elements of jazz, Chinese traditional music, and references to the classical repertoire into his powerful, meticulously crafted work."
Wang Lu: Urban Inventory (New Focus Recordings)
Urban Inventory is available from New Focus Recordings:
"Composer Wang Lu brings a wide range of influences to her work, ranging from her background growing up and studying in China to the prism of contemporary instrumental techniques and new sonic possibilities. Throughout this debut portrait recording, featuring performances by Ensemble Intercontemporain, International Contemporary Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Third Sound Ensemble, and Ensemble Nouvel Moderne, Wang Lu's openness, curiosity, and joie de vivre is balanced with her deft craft and command over orchestration, harmonic color, and gesture."
Wang Lu's work "Cloud Intimacy" was premiered in 2016 at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival and 2016 Aspekte Festival (Salzburg).
AESOPICA: MUSIC OF MARCOS BALTER (TUNDRA/NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS)
ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) releases a recording documenting its close and longstanding relationship with Brazilian-born composer Marcos Balter on its own in-house recording label, TUNDRA. This album features Muncy's first studio recording of Wicker Park — the first-ever collaboration between he and Balter — as well as Codex Seraphinianus for flute, soprano saxophone, bassoon, and viola, with Claire Chase, Rebekah Heller, and Nadia Sirota.
Aesopica is available at New Focus Recordings and on iTunes.
"The album "Aesopica" has as its centerpiece the eponymous suite for tenor and ensemble based on Aesop's fables; weird vocal acrobatics give these atonal miniatures their fierce theatrical kick. Both solo pieces — "Wicker Park," for saxophone, and "Descent from Parnassus," for flute — showcase the amazing virtuosity of Ryan Muncy and Claire Chase, respectively."
-The Chicago Tribune
Chaya CzernoWin: Wintersongs (Kairos Records)
Released in 2017 by Kairos Records, Wintersongs is a portrait album of composer Chaya Czernowin, one of ICE's closest collaborators. Wintersongs II, IV, and V span a decade of Czernowin's musical output, paired here with Five Action Sketches, premiered by ICE at the Miller Theater at Columbia University in 2014.
dystemporal: music of Anthony Cheung (Wergo Records)
Seven Responses (The Crossing)
Seven foremost composers have written responses to the seven cantatas of Dieterich Buxtehude's iconic oratorio Membra Jesu nostri (1680). The result is a collection of diverse contemplations on how we consider the suffering of others, from Hans Thomalla, Caroline Shaw, Lewis Spratlan, David T. Little, Santa Ratniece, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen.
Seven Responses is a project of The Crossing Choir, with the collaboration of the International Contemporary Ensemble. Ryan Muncy appears as saxophonist on compositions by Hans Thomalla, David T. Little, and Louis Spratlan. The album is available here.
Balter / Saunier (New AmsterDam records)
"Balter / Saunier" is the new collaborative album from Deerhoof ("the best band in the world" -Pitchfork) and Chicago-based contemporary music group Dal Niente ("a model of what contemporary music needs" -The Chicago Tribune). The album features Marcos Balter's "Meltdown Upshot" for combined ensemble as well as Greg Saunier's "Deerhoof Chamber Variations," which use the band's original songs as source material for a new suite of arrangements. Available on Bandcamp, iTunes, and Amazon.
Without Words (Carrier Records)
Released by Carrier Records in February 2014, "Without Words" is the first portrait album of the New York-based composer Aaron Einbond and the full-length debut album of Ensemble Dal Niente. Crafted through long term collaboration, highly personalized instrumental writing and performance joins detailed electronic sound as colorful as it is ineffable. In addition to the title track, a large-scale work for solo soprano and large ensemble, the album features Einbond's "Break" for solo baritone saxophone and live electronics. Please visit the Carrier Records website to download the album.