The Musicians of Billband, Considered Individually

As a coda to the previous text about Bill Ryan’s new album, it occurred to me to roll out an omnibus post featuring one or two recordings from each of the musicians that performed on it, his group with the euphonious-⁠harmonious name, Billband; for clearly they are all strong solo performers as well as being dexterous members of the band: and so a collection of tracks in which their instruments could come into their own, either singly or in some smaller ensembles (and in some cases premiering their own works), seemed to be in order.

To begin with, Ashley Bathgate offers a spirited version of Andy Akiho’s “21” – not only on the cello, but operating a kick-⁠drum and a looper concurrently.

The pianist Vicky Chow runs through Ryan Anthony Francis’ “Etudes for Piano” with verve; here are three of them, “La Fée Verte,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” and “Loop.”

Of the percussion-⁠playing of David Cossin there does not seem to be much available either on Soundcloud or Youtube (and while he has a website of his own, it is at present less than functional), but in one video which I did come across, a recording of “Piano/Video Phase” by Steve Reich, his talent is displayed impressively.

On his solo album, Spin Cycle, released under the moniker Earspasm, the clarinetist Michael Lowenstern experiments with a number of other instruments as well, and in the track “My Mouth” the harmonica joins the clarinet in an uncommon sonic whole of a composition.

Unfortunately the cellist Pablo Mahave-⁠Veglia has no page on Soundcloud, but on his website he’s uploaded an excerpt of a recording he made for his album Dualidad of “Der Mondbach i” by Andrés Alcalde, which I would include here, were it only technically possible to do so.

A playlist of audio recordings has been uploaded on Jonathan Nichol’s Youtube channel, and towards the end of it the saxophonist goes solo in performances of Barry Cockcroft’s “Ku Ku” and William Bolcom’s “Concert Suite iv.” (For the sake of convenience I have made a mini-⁠playlist including just these two pieces.)

From his debut album Simple Songs, the percussionist Doug Perkins has made tracks available on his Soundcloud page; here is the first of them, “A Tale Begun.”

And last but not least, an original composition on his album Outerborough, “Icy Sleeves of Green,” has been uploaded on the Soundcloud page of the violinist Todd Reynolds.