B-Hold the B-Sides with Corey Dargel

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Brooklyn-based composer and singer-songwriter Corey Dargel has always taken pride in existing somewhat "in the margins." His music, which often draws as much from pop as it does from "classical," defies easy categorization and offers an unusual take on the concept of the classical Art Song.

For this week's episode of Mixtapes, Dargel gathers a collection of compositions by a cross-section of new-music composers that are either out of print or have never been commercially released.

"B-Hold the B-Sides" by Corey Dargel

For programmatic, logistical, or who knows what other reasons, some of our favorite works as composers never get commercially released. Or they go out of print. Or they are difficult to track down. So for my mixtape, I asked some of my colleagues to submit unreleased, rare, or hard-to-find recordings that they’d like to share.

The mix begins with voice-based works. Most involve singing and run the gamut from Rob Reich’s and Barbara Morgenstern’s quirky pop songs to Conrad Cummings’s neo-Baroque setting of a poem by Anne Sexton and Phil Kline’s madrigal about love and science, bitterness and bees, a setting of a poem by David Shapiro. 

Other voice-based works involve spoken word, including Brenda Hutchinson’s sonic portrait of members of the Church Universal and Triumphant in Montana, and Paula Matthusen’s AEG, which digitally manipulates a text by Abi Basch in ways that simultaneously enforce and transcend the meaning of the words.

The mix then shifts to purely instrumental works that have strong relationships to particular places (although Hutchinson's Violet Flame and Kline's The Maryland Sample also relate to places). Eve Beglarian’s Waiting for Billy Floyd was written as a response to a Eudora Welty ghost story and a visit to the town of Rodney, Mississippi, where the story takes place. Darcy James Argue’s E Hastings is loosely inspired by this Jeff Wall photo of Vancouver’s East End. And Jim Altieri’s ACA drones was composed and recorded during a residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. 

If you’ve ever regarded the phrase “B-side” pejoratively, I trust that this mix will change your mind.


  • Rob Reich - image correction (Rob Reich, vocals and instruments)
  • Brenda Hutchinson - Violet Flame (excerpts) (Brenda Hutchinson, recording, editing, and production)
  • Conrad Cummings - Where I Live (live performance at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, June 1987)
  • Paula Matthusen - AEG, mvmt 3 (piano samples by Kathleen Supové and Yvonne Troxler; voice recordings by Abi Basch, Tiit Helimets, Paula Matthusen, and Molly Shaiken)
  • Barbara Morgenstern - The Operator (Piano Version) (Barbara Morgenstern, vocals and instruments)
  • Phil Kline - The Maryland Sample (Kamala Sankaram and Phil Kline, vocals and instruments)
  • Eve Beglarian - Waiting for Billy Floyd (live recording featuring members of Newspeak; Mary Rowell, violin; William Lang, trombone)
  • Darcy James Argue - E Hastings (Dan Willis, reeds; Ben Kono, reeds; Lis Rubard, horn; Mike Christinson, trombone/tuba; Tim Collins, percussion; Sebastian Noelle, acoustic guitar; Christian Howes, violin; Sarah Bernstein, violin; Fran Foerster, viola (solo); John Popham, cello)
  • Jim Altieri - ACA drones (Jim Altieri, multi-tracked violin)