- About Christian M. Newman
- Artist Profile- Works by “Papa George” F. Laramie (1933- )
- Music and Video Art
- Sheet Music & Writings
- Visual Art
Christian M. Newman (1981-)
Neo-Expressionist, Experimental Composer
Recent Project Highlights
“She Whispers…” – Works for Electroacoustic Ensemble and Manipulated Orchestra (2022)
On December 20, Newman announced that he has a new EP, and is rather unceremoniously releasing it on Christmas Eve, December 24, promo be damned and all that.
We (Greg and the assistants) were permitted to listen through a few rough mixes, and can state that the thing is fucking gorgeous. There’s some epic, large, brass slow things. And then some things that happened with a choir, and other acoustic instruments that were sort of world- shattering. In a pleasant way, we mean. This one promises a delicious little surprise, and gives a rather large one. Album features the track, “Today is an important day. I’d better try and look my best”, and interesting sampling and manipulations of real events. Stay tuned…
“Daemon with Brittle Bones”, Cover Art & Finalizing the Score
As the year draws to a close, Newman is racing to complete the set of four solo piano works in “Bones”, along with the art work and design. “I’m gonna have to bring in the big guns for some things because these pieces are somehow really huge. I keep feeling like they’ll never be done, but then my team really gives some great advice, and the kids give great, cruel feedback.”
The artwork is inspired by images and concepts Newman had first explored during the Gaza War of 2014. “I was glued to the news as that awful travesty unfolded. I remember being shocked at the scale of broken rubble and smashed property, and had this horrifying sense that no organized group of rational beings could have orchestrated such senseless destruction. No, it must be a monster, a colossal, mechanized demon, very broken, and dragging itself along on it’s broken limbs. Probably a creature in great pain, and filled with desperate hunger. I dreamt that I saw this creature reeking havoc, murderous and unstoppably violent, and then in the sky, I could see incendiary rounds exploding into showers of burning magnesium. I felt an explosion from a rocket, and debris smash into my face before I awoke in a panic. It became a necessary thing for me to explain, my horror at this human war violence, especially after these personal dreamt and felt experiences at that time. I have always been in such a mindframe about war, but something was different after this. Of course, the following years spilled forth an unending sea of cruel monstrosities, Syria, Isil, Yemen, MH117, and on and on. And it seemed what I experienced had something to do with this cold mechanization of the instruments of war. And also a sense of being lost within the din of gun fire and artillery.”
The pieces are scheduled for publication/release on January 19 (Newman’s birthday). Expect a legitimate source of publication with details coming soon. Newman will be premiering these pieces in the Spring of 2023 as part of the UNM Faculty Spotlight Series on UNM Main Campus, Albuquerque.
“in secret” for solo tuba (December 15)
Newman completed a set of three pieces for solo tuba this week after “literally months of mulling over sounds, and wondering what a tuba does on its own time”. The pieces are of a virtuosic nature, and represent “an earnest attempt to create the fullest possible sound from a single instrument. There should be no sense that these works are lacking, or missing some fuller sound. Hence the subject, “in secret”. Its a sort of paranoid manner, and style”. Dedicated to Newman’s virtuosic tubist friend, Dr. Sean Kennedy, these pieces may receive a premiere in the coming months, so stay tuned.
New Electronic Works with Kenneth Cornell- “5000 Fingers”, John Wiese, and No Age @ Launchpad, Abq, Nov. 17
Angayme K.Oss, AKA. Kenneth Cornell premiered a new project with Newman this past Thursday, opening for the aforementioned acts as they toured through Albuquerque. The duo, known as “5000 Fingers”, performed a blistering, synth/noise set built from a unique blending of Newman’s electroacoustic trickery with Cornell’s masterfully-manipulated modules, and pedal-board grinding. The set made for a nice mood setter before Wiese’s brilliant audio thrashing, and a lengthy, resounding No Age set. Keep your eyes out for a possible release next year?
Piano Premiere- “Artillerie-Granate” (2022)
On November 3, Newman premiered his piano piece, “Artillerie-Granate” (2022), in Keller Hall at UNM. Part of a mixed program with members of the ABQ Composer’s Collective, the piece was one of five world premieres by Chris Orphal, Eduardo Oreo, Doug Falk, and Alex Retiff. A recording of Newman’s dress rehearsal performance has so far been made available on Instagram and other social media, and the piece is scheduled for recording as the fourth member of the piano set, Daemon with Brittle Bones (2018-22), in the coming winter months.
“Today is an Important Day. I’d Better Try and Look My Best”-
On October 13, Newman released an excellent remix of materials found on Leviathan, and other releases, with the rather lengthy title listed above. This along with a rather hideous, facial-morph visualizer. Plans are in place to include this track as part of a re-release of something, but no clear details have been given this far. Maybe this is related to the missing release of “Burn the Dry Grass” expected last month?
All Quiet on the West Side Front…
After a busy Summer blasting out media content to our office, the Newman camp went quiet for several months, although there were surprising, possibly hastily compiled instragam updates involving some sort of release of synth music, performances and piano music. After a brief chat, and overview from G.B., we’ve compiled several posts to give corrected information on a Newman running off the rails, apparently.
Available Across Major Platforms, Beginning this Weekend, Sept. 15
Newman’s musical output will slowly appear on major streaming platforms after this weekend. We asked for a schedule, but the best we got was that “Burn the Dry Grass” is first, or among the first few. We can also expect some things to remain exclusive to Bandcamp, while some things will not appear on Bandcamp at all for licensing reasons. We can expect at least one cover song, and a possible record of Newman’s piano playing. This is dependent on the ability of archivists to extract the files from some odd software, though, so don’t expect anything too soon. Expect something else though,
“sequentia spiritus sancti”- Four Sacred Compositions in Graphic Score Form, September 12, 2022
Vivid bands of color, light flecks and swirling arabesques are arranged according to a strict color palette in these evocative displays. Currently in the final editing and compilation stages, these four works are a continuation of Newman’s graphic scores and para-pointalist images, ie, “Horses Breaking Through the Frothing Sea”. Also related to his earlier B & W PRAEGRESSUS Scores (master’s thesis, 2015). Publication coming soon?
Live Performance- Selections from “Synth Summer Fantasy”, Live on OCD Hour w/Lobsterbreath, broadcast on DFM RTV INT (dfm.nu), August 31, 2022
On 8/31, Newman was hosted by Lobsterbreath at his personal studio to perform synth works from his upcoming EP, “Synth Summer Fantasy”. This a sort of supergroup project with writing by Newman and added details licks and vocal parts by Lady Uranium, Mark Datter, and Anna Mall.
The overall tone and style is a lot more in the direction of pop music in comparison to a lot of his solo projects or notated music. Here we find a lot of synth arp patterns, bright melodies, and sad, diatonic harmonies. Whispered vocal lines and eighties vibes are all over this thing, which Newman has dubbed, “21st Century Yacht-Rock for the Ages”.
Release- “Hot Summer Nights” (2016); Digital Remaster and Track Edits, August 31, 2022
Digitally remastered, and cut into succinct tracks, Newman dropped an official release of his 2016 master’s thesis, “Hot Summer Nights”- Electroacoustic Works for Mixed Ensemble. This was mastered in Portland and Albuquerque, although not much info was made regarding the approach used to remaster the works in this set. It sounds a bit harmonically richer, and has overall gentler peaks than the original. Overall, it flows nicely, and more clearly delineates a lot of the content in a clearer fashion. Still wondering what some of these sounds are in this set. It’s an interesting blend of tone qualities that are of somewhat obvious origin, like strings or harps, but are accompanied by something not artificial, exactly, but unidentifiable. In particular, there’s a sense of emerging complex waves from murky origins, all placed within a clear harmonic language.
Summer 2022 Projects
New Artist Profile Gallery- Published July 16-
“The works of “Papa George” Laramie (1933-)”The first guest artist for the Newman Media Gallery project, now available in the main menu .
Live Performance with Mark Datter, NOKTUNE, Lady Uranium, and Angaym K.Oss, July 22 @7 pm
Live Performance with Anna Mall, Simple Hands, and more, July 9 @7 pm
Noise Remix Alert, June 11
On June 10 of this month, Newman ‘slapped together’ a cover of Zoviet France’s 2000 ambient noise work, “Something Spooked the Horses” from the Album, The Decriminalization of Country Music. Newman explained during the mastering session that the piece and the group had been highly influential on his teenage psyche. “They didn’t write just shrill noise, or rely on something that made an obvious, identifiable sound. Usually their identifiable sounds were physical instruments, or samples of real ones. Same with (Einsturzende) Neubauten, I just found something compelling about their approach….”
This particular cover is very faithful to the original, especially for a Newman remix/cover thing. Although not formally the same, it conveys much the same spirit. It also includes a second appearance of Newman as a slide guitarist, contrary to his own public statements. His first appearance was on Sigils and Other Spells
Give the cover a listen here:
Give Sigils and Other Spells a listen here:
Sigils and Other Spells by Anna Mall
Limited Edition Prints are Available in the Shop (May 28)
As the title above explains, there are limited edition prints of “Horses Breaking Through the Frothing Sea”, and “Cat Study” available to purchase in the shop. Act now before they sell out!
New Release: “Concert Music”, aka. The Classical Album (May 25)
Today marks the arrival of Newman’s acoustic, “classical” music collection, aptly titled, “Concert Music” (for students in the UNM music department, yes, this apparently is a quip at y’all). This collection is entirely produced from live premieres in UNM’s Keller Hall between 2012 and 2016. A stellar cast of performers breathes life into these compositions, bringing intention, clarity, and virtuosity for this varied listening experience.
In terms of instrumentation, the collection progresses from a solo trombone, to a pair of duets for trombone and flute. A five-work collection solo piano then leads into a work for piano and trombone, then broader mixed ensemble utilizing clarinet and cello along with piano and flute. Finally the intricate texture of “Eurynomous” seems remarkably full for only three players, cello, bass clarinet, and piano, primarily from the dense layers of trills and grace-note swirls.
Stylistically, much of this content is easier to follow and comprehend than some of Newman’s electronic stuff. The first set of pieces conveys something of a cartoonish quality, very much in line with the concepts of a ‘character piece’. The same can be said of the piano set, “Thematic Variations”, where the narrative for the pieces is even based on a “graphic novel of the New Testament… depicting the life and passion of Jesus in some vivid detail, but still ‘cartoon’ in principle, especially for the aspects of his trial and execution”. This seems to have lent a lightness to the subject as there are frequent passages featuring devices that imply smallness, gentleness, and steady tempo. The second, for instance, features almost entirely a solo melodic line, climbing into increasingly higher registers before it falls back Earthwards in steady fashion. It’s rather slender in aesthetic. Probably for reasons like that, the set comes across rather methodical and linear, and relaxed, overall.
Conversely, something like the prelude for piano and trombone takes on a heavy, quasi-jazz character for some passages, while dissolving into odd, atonal, Bach-like counterpoint for others, all sealed together with repeating ‘hammer blows’. But there’s no lengthy, adversarial passages between the two parts, and the work is arranged in something like a song form, with emphasis given to the careful repetition of sections with slight harmonic alterations. At the formal level, one finds several of the larger works are relaxed at the level of the higher order form, while tense, noisy and aggressive at the surface.
Overall, the quality suggests increasing seriousness and density of orchestration as the work proceeds. The ending is rather apocalyptic, but satisfying. Interesting to consider how the collection works as whole. It’s a strange journey from the brightness of the surreal beginning to the angry expressionism at the end, not all together unpleasant, but certainly a bit of work for some spots. Good show!!!
New Release: “Burn the Dry Grass” EP (May 16)
In a not-so-surprising move, the new ep, Burn the Dry Grass, was released quietly this evening, via small Instagram update. The seven tracks were selected from the original possible ordering of more than fourteen songs, and feature an assortment from each category of the original possible selections.
The track list includes a spacious vocal piece featuring Anna Mall, and five-year-old, Rhys Ronan Newman, fleshed out by low synth passages on a blasting bass double 18” cabinet. The EP also includes one of the two slated NOKTUNE/Lobsterbreath remixes, along with two of the works from the four-song “Censorship Party” set premiered in March. The remaining three tracks feature sound samples and shorter passages from the Analog Therapists source sounds from 2018. In particular, these sounds utilize some of the dark clicking and string ensemble sounds created for Mike Smith’s live reading of his chapter, “The Speed of Grass” in 2015.
You can stream and purchase the EP here:
Simple Hands- An Evolving Journey of Improvisation, and Adding New Members
Stue Trory remains a catalyst for rapid response projects involving Newman since before their “bizarre vacation to SXSW” with Unit 7 Drain in 2008. This year’s doings-a-transpiring required some filling of time for a show, hence the deployment of the strike force, ie. a new jam band, Simple Hands- first a rock duo, then a trio, and finally a quartet by the the premier.
Featuring Jessica Mills on saxophone, Nic Jenkins on Bass, Trory on guitar, and Newman on drums, the quartet played something like a funk 70’s jam session. There were some poppy bass licks, bright Sax melodies, and chugga- guitar riffs a plenty. Newman laid down some grooves mostly in a heavy funk style with the occasional foray into some Brit pop sixteenth-note territory. Should we expect a release from this group? Word has it, the group already faces internal disputes, with one source claiming they’ve already lost Jenkins. Stay tuned for updates, and hopefully a track or two.
Analog Therapists (2018)
In Summer 2018, good buds and sporadic collaborators, Stue Trory, and C.M. Newman reformed their once-a-decade-project, Analog Therapists (originally, offensively spelled, “ANALog theRAPISTS“), after Trory proposed the idea and mentioned adding a third member to noted New Mexico composer, Raven Chacon. This was to be a one-time-performance noise trio opening for New York multimedia duo, Ariadne. “My favorite moment of that show was when a piece ended and a little kid shouted, “what are you guys doing?” I feel like he really got it somehow”. Newman apparently extracted five or six tracks from rehearsal sessions and produced them into a studio EP, which has sat on a hard drive since 2019 .
Now these tracks are slated to appear on an expanded forthcoming EP. This volume is set to include the AT tracks in some form, and most likely as an independent section of the record, with the “censorship” material as a first part, the AT tracks second, and the two N/L tracks at the end. It sounds like the album will be arranged as a series of folios, many of which take on a more personal, ‘miniature’ quality. Definitely some drumming with a prepared kit, thick washes of electro acoustic clicking stuff, a sad harmony from a screechy viola. Expect noise, and crunchy sounds. Yum.
A Great Wave of Piano Music
Studio EP Upcoming Release
Update: what’s taking so long with this thing???!!!! NOKTUNE/Lobsterbreath remixes, apparently, May 1; Analog Therapists, May 11
The ep will now feature two remixes of a piece, “Guaranteed Return”, by noise/ambient/experimental sound co-composers, NOKTUNE and Lobsterbreath. Further, there is some additional drum piece in the works, although none of the tracks have yet been recorded. The full collection will now have a broader name, and will include these and possibly other tracks from the 2018 project, Analog Therapists, who left numerous Newman classics on the cutting room floor. This will help to “make it more of an experience” according to Newman.
Live Premiere, March 16, 2022
EP Release, February 2022
EP Release, December 2021
Graphic Scores Collection in Prepublication Stages…or is it?
EP Release, December 2021
Limited Edition Photo Reproduction Prints Available Now in the Shop
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