ListN Up: Yvette Janine Jackson (October 9, 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. 

Yvette Janine Jackson is a composer of electroacoustic, chamber, and orchestral musics for concert, theatre, and installation. Building on her experience as a theatrical sound designer, she blends various forms into her own aesthetic of narrative soundscape composition and radio opera. She creates immersive experiences based on social issues and historical events.

I’m Yvette Janine Jackson, and I’m happy to share this playlist with you. Each of the selections were chosen because when I first heard them, they transformed me in some way, either physiologically, emotionally, or spiritually. I return to them whenever I need to be transported or just reset my perspective.

Biogenesis by Éliane Radigue

This composition was realized by French composer Éliane Radigue in 1973. The first time I experienced Biogenesis, I was lying on the floor, listening at a low volume. I began to sense a throbbing in my ears, my heart rate and breathing changed, and I involuntarily sat up at attention.

Sometimes by Olly Wilson, performed by Gustavo Flores Ortega

Olly Wilson’s 1976 Sometimes has been my soundtrack on afternoon walks during the pandemic. This recording of the aria for tenor and tape features Gustavo Flores Ortega.

“Don’t Be Afraid, The Clown’s Afraid Too” by Charles Mingus

This Charles Mingus composition appears on the 1972 album Let My Children Hear Music, which was given to me by my stepfather when I first began to study composition. The entire album blew my mind and the opening sequence of “Don’t Be Afraid, The Clown’s Afraid Too” continues to inspire me.

“Rag Kambhoji” by The Dagar Brothers

The arrival of the dhrupad following the alap in this recording of “Rag Kambhoji” by the Dagar Brothers of Udaipur is one of the most rewarding sonic experiences I have had. Listening requires patience, and I return to this album whenever I need to slow down or change my energy.

22-M (Opus 58) by Anthony Braxton

I grew up playing trumpet and am obsessed with concert and marching bands. The way Anthony Braxton’s Opus 58 unfolds immediately brightens my spirits every time. There is beauty in the way the march falls apart before our ears.

“Rain Dance” by Herbie Hancock

I am not sure how I managed not to become acquainted with “Rain Dance” until 2020. Every detail–the timbres, rhythms, balance–transports me to another dimension.

Wayang V: I. Opening-Dance by Anthony Davis, performed by Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Gil Rose, conductor)

I am drawn to all iterations of Anthony Davis’ Wayang IV and V, particularly Wayang No. 5 (for Piano and Orchestra) on the out of print 1988 Gramavision release of The Ghost Factory. This version is from the album Notes from the Underground produced by BMOP Sound in 2014.

“Before and After” by Nicole Mitchell, performed by Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble

“Before and After” is from Nicole Mitchell’s Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute To Octavia Butler featuring her Black Earth Ensemble. I am attracted by the beauty and power this suite harnesses.

“Hello, Tomorrow” from Dimension X

I listen to radio drama as composition. “Hello, Tomorrow” is from the science fiction series Dimension X, which aired from 1950-1951 on NBC radio. This episode influenced one of my earliest attempts at radio opera.


UNEVEN MEASURES is a series dedicated to amplifying today’s women, trans, and nonbinary artists on the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment leading up to the 2020 presidential election. This series is made possible through a generous grant from The Elizabeth & Michel Sorel Charitable Organization Inc. to the American Composers Forum and their partnership with I CARE IF YOU LISTEN. The Sorel Organization is committed to supporting gender equity in music and addressing systemic inequities by providing greater visibility for women musicians from underrepresented communities.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is a program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. A gift to ACF helps support the work of ICIYL. Editorial decisions are made at the sole discretion of the editor-in-chief. For more on ACF, visit the “At ACF” section or composersforum.org.