Nico Muhly

During the first airing of my (John’s) show this year, I was perusing our new music playlist, a collection of about 100 new CDs that our DJs sometimes play.  I came across an artist named Nico Muhly and was immediately curious.  Being an ardent Nico fan, the name alone was about all I needed to stick it in the player and test it out.  The record, Mother Tongue, is composed of three pieces.  Each is a lush melange of vocal samples, electronic giggles, and traditional instrumentals.  Stylistically the pieces are more variable: falling somewhere along a continuous spectrum of baroque pop, freak folk, and minimal composition.  The first movement of the first piece, “Mothertongue: I. Archive,” proved most appropriate for my show Mysteries of the Organism, which plays experimental and otherwise mysterious music.

Halfway through the song, I got a text from Trevor, host of WVKR’s Zero Stress Group.  “Haha did they say 124 raymond ave in this song?”  I had heard it too.  Twice in the first two minutes, the address of Vassar College is distinctly heard.  “Archive” is a wash of vocal samples — a woman’s voice reading what is apparently the addresses of Nico Muhly’s various former residences.  Did he go here?  Did he teach here?  His Wikipedia page fails to mention Vassar, and a search of the colleges website yields zero results.  A true mystery for now, but one day we will know the truth!

Anyhow, a YouTube search brought me to this little gem though: Nico Muhly cooking for Fader Magazine.  Straight from the composer: “Cooking is like writing a piece in fast motion.”

Fader Magazine is of course one of the two big big sponsors of Levi’s/Fader The Fort, a super-corporate but ultimately entertaining concert space at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon.  Some of WVKR’s staff spent some time there over October Break.  Chairlift, the headliner at our Piano’s showcase, was there.  Ponytail and Dungen, among others, also had killer sets.  While Pop Art might’ve died (again) at the Fort, there were some cool shows there.  Proof:

That’s Paul (Station Manager) and Lizzy (one of the Music Directors).  Look at what a great time they’re having!