Foster Reed of New Albion Records

Foster Reed of New Albion Records

9. Upcoming Releases, Free Time, Final Thoughts

FRANK J. OTERI: You’ve got a Cowell recording coming out, I know you’ve got a Terry Riley solo guitar album…

FOSTER REED: It’s solo guitar, guitar duet, guitar/percussion, and guitar/violin. It’s this collection of pieces that Terry’s working on for the guitar and accompaniment. And so we’re doing, the collection is based on the letters of the Spanish alphabet and so we’re doing a few of the letters.

FRANK J. OTERI: So you’re not doing the whole cycle?

FOSTER REED: The whole thing would probably be about 5 or 6 CD’s.


FOSTER REED: It’s being written. This is a project that will take him probably 10 or 15 years to accomplish. So we’re doing some of what’s been written.

FRANK J. OTERI: Wow. So this is a piece, I think the Assad Brothers did a piece of that?

Riley -- Lisbon Concert -- CD cover RealPlayer  [156 seconds]
RealAudio sound clip
Excerpt from Terry Riley: Underworld Arising
(from New Albion CD 087:
Lisbon Concert)

FOSTER REED: Yeah, they did the duet. And now we have Terry’s son, who’s a really great player, and David Tanenbaum. David Tanenbaum’s the principal performer and then in this piece Terry’s son plays with him, Gyan.

FRANK J. OTERI: When is that coming out?

FOSTER REED: We hope to have it out in the fall, September, October.

FRANK J. OTERI: And the Cowell disc is coming out?

FOSTER REED: The Cowell disc is coming out end of June.

FRANK J. OTERI: Terrific. I’m looking forward to hearing it.

FOSTER REED: I had all these prejudices about Cowell, but this disc really made me redefine things. This is such a wonderful record.

FRANK J. OTERI: Wow. And it’s all solo piano. Is this with Sarah Cahill

FOSTER REED: It’s Sarah, it’s Chris Brown, Joseph Kubera, and Sorrel Hays.

FRANK J. OTERI: Oh, so it’s 4 different pianists?

FOSTER REED: Yeah, it’s from the festival that Sarah did a few years ago in Berkeley back when all those festivals were happening. And I kind of was dragging my feet and saying, I don’t know, because I went to some of the festival, and could see the piano banging and you know, sort of the ultramodernism of Cowell. But then when you sat and started to go through this — this happened with Anthony Braxton, too — I said, wait a minute, here’s the “Haunted Irish Drunken Poet King.” I’d never heard that before. And then there’re these other personas that are in Cowell’s music that I’d never really appreciated.

FRANK J. OTERI: I love Cowell’s music. I’m looking forward to the disc. Any other recordings coming out?

FOSTER REED: Yeah, I’m putting out, interestingly enough, a collection of Ladino love songs that’s arranged by Eitan Steinberg and his wife from Ladino heritage, and it’s sort of the theory that if a beautiful record comes to you and you’re a record company, every now and then you have to make them. And this is an absolutely beautiful record, so I said, okay, I’ll make this record even though it’s not new music, but it does sort of speak to forgotten cultures, existing in the, somehow haven’t gone away.

FRANK J. OTERI: When is that coming out?

FOSTER REED: I don’t know. Probably in the fall.

FRANK J. OTERI: Now to take it into a larger area beyond New Albion, other than all of the stuff that comes to you for potential listening for New Albion and the things that you put together, what recordings do you listen to on your own time, and what do you buy?

FOSTER REED: Well, I don’t buy anything anymore. And I have teenagers, so we listen to a lot of punk rock and that sort of stuff. Now I have a car, I drive a Citroen that doesn’t have a radio in it. It’s like, I don’t, it’s funny, but I almost don’t listen to music. I like all music. I like Merle Haggard. I like everything. But since… I knew a guy who was a great sailor and then he worked for a boat company here in the city, and doesn’t sail anymore, because, or recreationally, because that’s what he does for a living now. And somehow, you know, when I drive my wife’s car and listen to the radio I sort of hear pop music, it still sounds like pop music, it’s really funny, because I haven’t listened to it for so long. And then my kids’ music is just loud, really loud.

FRANK J. OTERI: [laughs]

FOSTER REED: Although there was one great song in the whole thing, Rage Against the Machine was this band, and they had this one song called “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me” and it just gets louder, and that’s the only lyric. Man, if I was 15, that was hot. Kind of like Jim Morrison. So I don’t really listen to music recreationally at this point.

FRANK J. OTERI: So what do you do in your spare time?

FOSTER REED: Drive kids.

FRANK J. OTERI: [laughs]

FOSTER REED: I drive kids, and when I can get away, fly, fish, play soccer, that kind of stuff. But I don’t, I don’t have intellectual spare time, particularly. I write.

FRANK J. OTERI: Fiction, or?

FOSTER REED: Thoughts. My thoughts. More like poetry than fiction.

FRANK J. OTERI: I’d love to see that sometime.

FOSTER REED: Yeah, they don’t get around too much. I write to please myself, and I don’t pursue things to completion.

FRANK J. OTERI: To bring everything full circle, my very last question for you is, you talked about this amorphous audience, this 10,000 to 50,000 which I guess we’re both part of.

FOSTER REED: Yeah, it’s so clear.

FRANK J. OTERI: Now, how do we find them? Where are they? What is the answer? Is it the Internet?

FOSTER REED: The Internet’s not going to be the answer. But the Internet’s probably after radio in 1945 the Internet’s probably the next thing that helps us go and look and define and have a dialog with an audience. So I think the audience is comprised, if you think of all the new music events, from like the Kitchen level events to the Lincoln Center events to the concerts in the park and how Dave Douglas relates to, you know, Margaret Lang Tan, and how all that stuff fits together, in New York alone, you’re looking at 5,000 people probably, as audience. If you look at how they were able to capitalize on the sort of yuppie audience, the BAM in the 80’s, that was a specific accident in time, but that was a very upscale audience going to modern performances. And so, how do you actually, your task is one thing, because you’re informational, but my task is bad because I have to make them part with their money. In a way I envy, all you have to do, I think, is be current and interesting, and tie into Harvey Lichtenstein’s kind of audience list, and on a virtual level, however that’s done, and just keep on working that. I mean, we put up our website 4 years ago I think we had 100 visitors a day. I think that’s cumulative. It will grow as more and more people come to it.

FRANK J. OTERI: Now you don’t really have things that change on the Web site, so people may come back who haven’t looked at everything…

FOSTER REED: We have to get our Web site so it’s more evolving. A newsletter, a posting of reviews, a calendar of performances, you know, it’s basically a newsletter. Same thing that you’re doing. First of all, it should be very easy to tie into the library world. The library world’s already Web literate, entirely. I mean, they were Web literate before the World Wide Web – they just happened to be an academic form of sharing information, so you tie into that, and that’s going to, your Web site, under library stations, will access your Web site, I think you’re on the right track.

FRANK J. OTERI: Thank you, and it was a pleasure having you here today, talking about music and the industry. I think the future holds some really fantastic possibilities.

FOSTER REED: As long as we’re in it, yeah. But whether we’re in it or not, it will be interesting.

NewMusicBox provides a space for those engaged with new music to communicate their experiences and ideas in their own words. Articles and commentary posted here reflect the viewpoints of their individual authors; their appearance on NewMusicBox does not imply endorsement by New Music USA.