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Thread: Nonesuch

  1. #1

    Nonesuch

    In the new Mojo issue that I bought for the Joni Mitchell feature was also a short feature of Nonesuch records. I don't have a lot of Nonesuch records but among them a couple of my favourite records. I like the bandwidth of the different musical genres the label covers.
    my favourites
    Bill Frisell : Before We Were Born & Is that You & The two Buster Keaton records ( I saw this Bill Frisell tour where he played to the films live, great concert.
    Steve Reich : Different Trains
    Dawn Upshaw : The World So Wide
    Pat Metheny : A Quiet Night
    Dieter Moebius : "Art people like things they don’t understand!"

  2. #2
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    I always think of Nonesuch as a budget classical label, specializing in really old (baroque and earlier) and 20th century music (mostly avant-garde) and not much in between, plus the Nonesuch Explorer series of world music titles. I bought a bunch of those LPs in the 70s; really liked their stuff. In fact, the first sort-of classical album I ever bought was Jazz Guitar Bach, consisting of straight transcriptions of Bach works (no soloing) for two electric guitars, bass, and drums played with brushes to make it "jazz." Silly cartoon cover of Bach playing an electric guitar, a couple of years before W. Carlos gave him a Moog.


  3. #3
    ^
    It started that way in 1964 founded by Elektra boss Jac Holzman but since then it has "evolved into WB's home for esoterica of all stripes - classical , jazz , world avant garde - a haven for iconoclasts of blurring genre boundaries." (Yes, it's a British mag) but apart from the flowery write I quite agree.
    Their artist list id quite impressing.B Frisell, JZorn, IBittova S ReichP Metheny just to name a few
    Last edited by alucard; 02-09-2019 at 12:38 PM.
    Dieter Moebius : "Art people like things they don’t understand!"

  4. #4
    Yes, 60's/70's Nonesuch was basically all classical and the Explorer series, then circa mid/late 80's they began factoring in jazz and around the early 2000's people on the artier side of pop (Wilco, Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris).

    Some I remember liking a lot are Morton Subotnick - Silver Apples of the Moon (60's), Steve Reich - The Desert Music and Drumming (80's), John Zorn - Naked City (early 90's).

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    I would imagine the best selling Nonesuch album was probably that first Joshua Rifkin/Scott Joplin one.

  6. #6
    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    I am a latecomer buch I dig Pat Metheny's The Way Up, Steve Reich's stuff for the label (especially the mid 90s version of Music for 18 Musicians) and Wilco's stuff (especially Kicking Television, perhaps my favorite non-Prog live album)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by bigjohnwayne View Post
    Wilco's stuff (especially Kicking Television, perhaps my favorite non-Prog live album)
    I was at one of the shows. Good CD, I should give it another listen soon.

  8. #8
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    Yes, 60's/70's Nonesuch was basically all classical and the Explorer series, then circa mid/late 80's they began factoring in jazz and around the early 2000's people on the artier side of pop (Wilco, Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris).
    I just pulled out one of my few non-classical Nonesuches: Brian Wilson's Smile.

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    ^Forgotten all about that. Played it a lot when I got it but not so much after I got The Beach Boys' recordings of the same material. I think it's even gone out of print, in the UK at least.

  10. #10
    A few of my favorite Nonesuch releases:

    Morton Subotnick: Silver Apples Of The Moon (well, duh!)
    Morton Subotnick: The Wild Bull
    Andrew Rudin[/B]: Trageodia (never reissued, as far as I know)
    Beaver & Krause: The Nonesuch Guide To Electronic Music (actually, this one is mostly a dud, basically literally being a demonstration record of what a Moog modular synthesizer "can do", but it has a great track called Peace Three that opens and closes the album, which I've always loved)
    John Zorn: The Big Gundown (I borrowed this from the library as a teenager)
    John Zorn: Spillane (side two of which was never reissued, another one I borrowed from the library as a teenager)
    Scott Johnson: John Somebody (another one I borrowed from the library way back in the 80's)
    Pat Metheny: The Way Up
    Pat Metheny: One Quiet Night


    Andrew Rudin once claimed (about 20 years ago) on AOL that Silver Apples Of The Moon and Trageodia were the first two pieces of electronic music commissioned specifically for the purposes of LP release (as opposed to pieces that were initially intended for the concert hall, whatever that should entail, which then got released on LP).

  11. #11
    Oh yeah, and Bill Frissel's Have A Little Faith. How can you not love a record that has a 10 minute, instrumental cover of a Madonna song on it?!

  12. #12
    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    I just pulled out one of my few non-classical Nonesuches: Brian Wilson's Smile.
    Yes! I forgot that was on Nonesuch. Great album. I play it as much as much as the Smile Sessions.

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    ^Don't get me wrong, they did a great job on that 2004 version. That was basically my introduction to the whole Smile thing. And it is of course in a more 'finished' state than The Smile Sessions version. Indeed, the 2004 Wilson album was essentially the basis for the official release of The Beach Boys' recordings, too- who can really say how it would have turned out in 1967 in terms of segues between tracks, running order etc.

    Nonesuch also released Metheny's Geffen-era stuff when it got reissued on CD.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Pat Metheny: The Way Up
    Pat Metheny: One Quiet Night
    I have these two and really enjoy them also.

  15. #15
    When I was younger I bought every Nonesuch you could- classical, avante-garde, computer, world music or other. They have expanded significantly today- Tigran Hamosyan is on the label, for example. Great label!
    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Andrew Rudin once claimed (about 20 years ago) on AOL that Silver Apples Of The Moon and Trageodia were the first two pieces of electronic music commissioned specifically for the purposes of LP release (as opposed to pieces that were initially intended for the concert hall, whatever that should entail, which then got released on LP).
    The liner notes of Silver Apples.. mention that, and as far as I know no one has said it wasn't true.

    I bought a record from that era called The Nude Paper Sermon. Sometime I should listen to it again. It is a dialogue piece sort of like Lumpy Gravy or Firesign Theatre.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Nonesuch also released Metheny's Geffen-era stuff when it got reissued on CD.
    When Warners jettisoned its jazz line around 2004, Metheny and some of their other artists (Brad Mehldau and I think Joshua Redman) went to Nonesuch.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    The liner notes of Silver Apples.. mention that, and as far as I know no one has said it wasn't true.
    I didn't mean to imply it wasn't true, sorry if that was the impression I gave I just meant to say that those two records were, apparently, the first two pieces of electronic music commissioned specifically for an LP.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I didn't mean to imply it wasn't true, sorry if that was the impression I gave I just meant to say that those two records were, apparently, the first two pieces of electronic music commissioned specifically for an LP.
    No problem, just had in mind that the Subotnick album cover mentioned that it was the first electronic piece commissioned for an LP. I think I've seen Tragoedia in the bins once or twice but have never heard it.

    (Edit: now that I've seen a scan of Tragoedia's cover, it mentions that it is the second in the series of Nonesuch commissions for LP.)

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    No problem, just had in mind that the Subotnick album cover mentioned that it was the first electronic piece commissioned for an LP. I think I've seen Tragoedia in the bins once or twice but have never heard it.

    (Edit: now that I've seen a scan of Tragoedia's cover, it mentions that it is the second in the series of Nonesuch commissions for LP.)
    Damn, and I should have known that because I have the Tragoedia LP! Mind you, I haven't actually read the liner notes, probably in 20 years. I wonder why it's never been reissued. I remember back int he late 90's, Andrew Rudin used to post on the AOL Classical music boards, and he mentioned that he was close, at the time, to arranging a deal for a reissue, but that apparently fell through.

  21. #21
    I've always connected Nonesuch with a similar territory ECM New Series explored. Indeed Bob Hurwitz, who was behind the era of the company from 1984 on, was in ECM before and multiple people -naming Steve Reich, John Adams, Pat Metheny- were recording artists for both. So that's quite interesting to hear the label had a different market in classical before.

    John Adams' recordings, Steve Reich's, Henry Gorecki's are among my Nonesuch favs, along with Mehldau's and Metheny's. I would say the two companies have an overlapping segment of audience, though not the entire catalogue.

    Interestingly they have a very different approach at soundboard. There's something that caught my attention a couple of years ago, when Tigran Hamasyan released Mackroot for Nonesuch and then Luys I Luso for ECM. Given the fact they were two completely different recordings -the first a trio, the second a piano + choir chamber recording- I appreciated how much different Hamasyan's piano sounded enhanced on the basses frequencies in his Nonesuch trio, while being flat/shimmering on the highs typically of the ECM sound.

    Worth mentioning that Nonesuch is now partnering with New Amsterdam records. If NewAm is off of your radar, worth checking out. Interesting explorations of contemporary classical and jazz as well, my personal favs here are John Hollebeck's recordings.

    https://www.nonesuch.com/journal/new...ers-2019-01-29
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  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by markellos View Post
    I've always connected Nonesuch with a similar territory ECM New Series explored. Indeed Bob Hurwitz, who was behind the era of the company from 1984 on, was in ECM before and multiple people -naming Steve Reich, John Adams, Pat Metheny- were recording artists for both. So that's quite interesting to hear the label had a different market in classical before.

    John Adams' recordings, Steve Reich's, Henry Gorecki's are among my Nonesuch favs, along with Mehldau's and Metheny's. I would say the two companies have an overlapping segment of audience, though not the entire catalogue.

    Interestingly they have a very different approach at soundboard. There's something that caught my attention a couple of years ago, when Tigran Hamasyan released Mackroot for Nonesuch and then Luys I Luso for ECM. Given the fact they were two completely different recordings -the first a trio, the second a piano + choir chamber recording- I appreciated how much different Hamasyan's piano sounded enhanced on the basses frequencies in his Nonesuch trio, while being flat/shimmering on the highs typically of the ECM sound.

    Worth mentioning that Nonesuch is now partnering with New Amsterdam records. If NewAm is off of your radar, worth checking out. Interesting explorations of contemporary classical and jazz as well, my personal favs here are John Hollebeck's recordings.

    https://www.nonesuch.com/journal/new...ers-2019-01-29
    that's an interesting link between Nonesuch and ECM. Btw has anyone compared the two Steve Reich recordings Music For 18 Musicians on both labels. I have the ECM on vynil and the sound is very good so I never bothered to get the Nonesuch one.
    Dieter Moebius : "Art people like things they don’t understand!"

  23. #23
    Member progholio's Avatar
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    A great label, you could print off their roster of artist and throw a dart and listen to whatever it lands on and it will be very satisfying (at least in my world).

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by progholio View Post
    A great label, you could print off their roster of artist and throw a dart and listen to whatever it lands on and it will be very satisfying (at least in my world).
    https://www.nonesuch.com/artists

    Funny,
    I just saw that Nick Hornsby is on the list as lyricist.
    Dieter Moebius : "Art people like things they don’t understand!"

  25. #25
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