Music for an Anxious and Materialistic Week

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Brooklyn-based composer and pianist Timothy Andres has carved himself a formidable niche in New York's buzzing new-music scene. His 2010 Nonesuch debut "Shy and Mighty" continues to garner critical acclaim and he's collaborated with a who's who of cross-genre heavyweights, including Brad Mehldau, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and New World Symphony. He's also a member of ACME and the composer collective Sleeping Giant.

In this week's episode of Mixtapes, Andres assembles an hour of music that ranges from Schumann to fellow New York composer and Sleeping Giant Ted Hearne to electronic producer and bassist Squarepusher.


"Music for an Anxious and Materialistic Week in Brooklyn, Summer 2012" — Timothy Andres

I've spent the past week hunting for a new apartment in Brooklyn. The thing about the New York real estate — not to mention a jungly 90-degree climate — is that it tends to bring out the worst in all involved parties. Everybody's testy and normal social conventions don't apply.

I wish someone had made me this playlist for the week but I had to make it myself. It alternates hyperactive, twitchy music for electronics and piano, beginning with the concrete and getting sweaty and hallucinatory as the hour progresses.

The mix begins with a pair of virtuoso vehicles—Ted Hearne and Phil White's double-speed cover of Kreayshawn's Gucci Gucci, appropriately titled Gucci, and Schumann's youthful Toccata, one of the few pieces I know in which the most notes are also the right notes. Eric Shanfield's Upside Dances follows, a beautifully quirky pair of studies in ordered imperfection.

Another Hearne/White cover, of Madonna's Material Girl, paints a decidedly less aspirational picture than the original, undermining the song's hook with a buzzsaw of electronic drones. Adès's Concert Paraphrase, in the high virtuoso tradition of Liszt, depicts the alienation of another material girl in a wild panoply of ironically backwards-looking musical styles.

Next comes another pair of electronic pieces: an animalistic ode to the material (My Red Hot Car) and the astronomical (Radio Stars). The mix closes with the comforting stasis of Adrian Knight's piano improvisation, based on the hymn Abide With Me.


R we who R we: Gucci
Schumann: Toccata
Eric Shanfield: Upside Dances
R we who R we: Material Gurl
Thomas Adès: Concert Paraphrase from Powder Her Face
Squarepusher: My Red Hot Car
Kraftwerk: Radio Stars
Adrian Knight: Abide With Me