DRAM puts primo contemporary classical at your fingertips | Bleader

DRAM puts primo contemporary classical at your fingertips

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In the past couple of years, while trying to find specific contemporary classical recordings, I’ve repeatedly stumbled upon the DRAM website, a project affiliated with historically crucial label New World. DRAM, or the Database of Recorded American Music, is a mind-boggling not-for-profit resource that hosts more than 3,000 recordings from a selection of excellent labels and sound archives—mostly contemporary classical—and streams them in CD quality, even offering complete liner notes. Before this week, you could get glimpses into the website through its search function and thus develop a sense for what was inside, but to really dig in and listen you had to use an account that belonged to a participating library or university: the public wasn’t permitted to subscribe.

Luckily the site has made a big change, and now anyone can sign up. DRAM has a terrific lineup of labels, including New World, CRI, Mode, Edition Wandelweiser, Cold Blue, Lovely Music, Experimental Intermedia, and Pogus, as well as some improv and jazz imprints, among them Firehouse 12, Skirl, and Nine Winds. You can sign up for three months, six months, or one year of unlimited streaming for $25, $40, or $75, respectively. DRAM has also launched a new quarterly online journal called Sound American that functions as a thoughtful companion to the sound archive. Trumpeter Nate Wooley is a curator for both operations. For anyone interested in contemporary classical music, DRAM is a fantastic resource, allowing you to explore tons of music at minimal cost. I still prefer to own physical copies of music, but considering the expense and difficulty of obtaining everything I’d like, this is looking like a killer alternative.

Today’s playlist:

Delta 5, Singles & Sessions 1979-81 (Kill Rock Stars)
Robin Williamson & His Merry Band, Journey’s Edge (Fledg’ling)
Cesar Camargo Mariano, Octeto de Cesar Camargo Mariano (Trama/RGE)
Elodie Lauten, Piano Works Revisited (Unseen Worlds)
Sonore, Call Us Before You Dig (Okka Disk)

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