ListN Up: Raven Chacon (May 15, 2020)

ListN Up is a series of weekly artist-curated playlists. Born from a desire to keep artists sharing and connected during times of isolation, ListN Up offers an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. This series is sponsored by American Composers Forum/innova Recordings with new releases every Friday on I CARE IF YOU LISTEN.

Raven Chacon is a composer, performer and installation artist based in Albuquerque, NM. His recent opera, Sweet Land, co-composed with Du Yun and produced by The Industry, is now streaming at www.sweetlandopera.com.

This playlist is coming to you from Albuquerque, New Mexico under quarantine. A good use of this time of isolation can be to become acquainted with new recordings that are being made and artists that might not have been on one’s radar before. I’m happy to share with you some tracks from some friends and colleagues. A lot of it is more recent music, and I hope you enjoy listening to it. Check out all of their albums and listen to their Bandcamp pages.

Kapow by c_RL

c_RL is a trio based in Toronto, consisting of three brilliant musicians, Allison Cameron (electronics/found objects/keyboards), Nicole Rampersaud (trumpet), and Germaine Liu (percussion). I had first heard them while sharing a gig in Ithaca and later performed a set with them at the Music Gallery in Toronto. Their album Friends stayed in my player for weeks.

Impeccable Quake by  Du Yun

Du Yun and I composed an opera called Sweet Land over the course of two years and recently premiered  (and un-premiered, due to Covid-19) it in Los Angeles. During the course of our collaboration, her piece Impeccable Quake for chamber orchestra would enter my thoughts randomly, reminding me of the expansive universe of her musical world.


Treatment by Black Spirituals

Black Spirituals is the duo of Zachary James Watkins and Marshall Trammell. Both are known for their solo music and other projects, but combined, they are a heavy, droning but percussive presence. This song and their final double album captures their live sound best.

Mirror stage by Jessika Kenney and Eyvind Kang

Two brilliant musicians whose solo work I have followed for some time, I often listen to their 2012 duo release Face of the Earth. Their song Mirror Stage sounds like it could play forever and never repeat itself.

Apolaki by Micaela Tobin aka White Boy Scream

I had been a fan of Micaela Tobin’s White Boy Scream project for years, and recently worked with her on the Sweet Land opera, where she became a Coyote. Her songs are a combination of pristine noises with a spectrum of voices—each sounding like a character interrupting the following one.

Flyaway, Come Here by Ed Rodriguez

Ed Rodriguez is one of the two guitarists of the band Deerhoof. This half-album is total borderlands-gunslinger-carrying-a-guitar-case-through-the-desert instrumentals. I’m always blown away by his projects and I look forward to experiencing them live again.

Attunement by clipping. (featuring Pedestrian Deposit) 

I suppose clipping. is considered a rap group, but one that ends their albums with covers of William’s Mix and Piano Burning, to give you an indication of a fraction of the influences in their music. More new music listeners need to be away of this group.

better than the most amazing game by Mary Halvorson and John Dieterich

a tangle of stars is an album with two intertwining guitarists where one would expect the sounds of improvisation, but this moves too quickly for that discernment to happen (or matter). What they produce is not an unnatural sound, as both unique guitar styles meet in the middle where the other noises and unsteady drums machines reside.

Want more from Raven Chacon?

Read Lana Norris’ review of the film version of Sweet Land on I CARE IF YOU LISTEN.