"First" was conceptualized by the members of yMusic well before any of its music was written. After exploring songwriters as composers on our first record, and rock production in the realm of contemporary classical pieces on our second, "First" is an attempt to build a record of chamber music which emulates the flow and structure of a rock record: 11 tracks, 40 minutes, Side A/Side B. While the music is not poppy (though it is energetic and accessible), the familiar structure of the album makes it digestible.
To further this concept, yMusic chose to work with a single creative team, in this case, a composer paired with a producer. Instead of tasking the composer with creating an entire album's work in isolation, this pairing allowed for feedback, encouragement, and redirection. This also allowed yMusic to remain somewhat removed from the compositional/workshop process and to encounter the material for the first time in the studio, on the verge of recording. This last fact was essential to the process, as we wished to capture the sound of the group nailing the material for the first time, with the energy of a live performance.
Our partners in this album were trusted friends and collaborators: composer, Son Lux (who wrote our first piece, "Beautiful Mechanical," and produced our second record, "Balance Problems") and producer, Thomas Bartlett, whom we've all known for years and collaborated with as individuals. The album was made quickly- two days of rehearsal, two days of tracking, one day of mixing- and then set aside while we toured with Jose Gonzalez and Ben Folds throughout 2016. When the dust settled and we came back to the project, we found we had created something really special. The record is attractive and challenging, virtuosic and addictive. A true collaboration in the best sense, it’s greater than the sum of it’s parts.
released February 17, 2017
Composer: Ryan Lott of Son Lux
Producer: Thomas Bartlett
This gigantic work really deserves the attribute "masterpiece". It's a joint effort of three extraordinarily creative women: Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, lyricist Ellen McLaughlin, and vocalist Shara Nova (named Shara Worden then) of "My Brightest Diamond", whose voice is clearly distinguishable out of a million. Ellen McLaughlin's amazing concept is put to life by Sarah Kirkland Snider's incredible music scenery. In her own special way, she blends demanding dissonant textures with sublime melodic lines, resulting in timeless chamber music that leaves me open-mouthed. Sven B. Schreiber
Very complex neo-classical music. This has lots of layers to it, and sounds at times discordant, but I like it more with each listen. This band requires some patience, but I think you get rewarded for that patience. Found in Ed Buckley's collection. Roy Meerkamper