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Stephen Estep
The Absolute Sound, January 2017

Eighth Blackbird released Filament on CD in 2015, and it picked up a Grammy earlier this year… Nico Muhly wrote Doublespeak for Philip Glass’ 75th birthday, and it’s a clever tribute, sometimes urgent and affectionate, with the occasional pretty melody. Glass himself is represented by the stern, swirling unison lines of Two Pages. It might be terrifying and exhilirating to play without tripping over the shifting rhythms, but to the ear, it’s both calm and compelling. …Murder Ballads is a neat handful of Americana. There are hints of Copland, touches of mellowed bebop, quirky exclamations, and some genuinely tender places of repose. The writing is idiomatic and each part has plenty of personality. Most of all, it’s fun! …Better performances would be hard to find; the sound is excellent. © 2017 The Absolute Sound



Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, May 2016

…very stimulating and a most satisfying musical experience, a marvelous testament to eighth blackbird’s unexcelled talent for finding—or as often inspiring—some of the most interesting new chamber music around. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



Textura, April 2016

Filament is executed with finesse and passion, so much so it would be hard to imagine anyone bettering the group’s performance of Dessner’s Murder Ballades. © 2016 Textura Read complete review




Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, March 2016

Bryce Dessner’s clever and wonderfully engaging Murder Ballades really rocks the boat and is the best thing here, a piece that grabs you from the start and refuses to let go, played with an obvious love and belief in its importance.

This is a glorious album in glorious sound, marred only by the short playing time. © 2016 Audiophile Audition Read complete review



Christian Kriegeskotte
I Care If You Listen, March 2016

Such thoughtful curation and unparalleled musicianship make it easy to accept and applaud eighth blackbird’s incredible and ongoing accolades. © 2016 I Care If You Listen Read complete review



Robert Carl
Fanfare, January 2016

The performances by eighth blackbird (yes, it’s not capitalized) are stunning in their precision and incisiveness. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review



Rob Haskins
American Record Guide, January 2016

This fine program includes three younger composers—Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, Son Lux—along with the composer Eighth Blackbird identify as “the album’s benevolent grandfather”, Philip Glass. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Fiona Maddocks
The Guardian, December 2015

…Neatly done, with wit. © 2015 The Guardian Read complete review



Jeff Zumfelde
Colorado Public Radio, December 2015

Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly collaborate here with eighth blackbird both as composers and performers, making this release an all-star new music collaboration. The disc opens with Dessner’s “Murder Ballades,” one of his most assured and compelling pieces to date. He makes wonderful use of the instrumental textures available from the chamber sextet, highlighting attractive melodies against shifting and propulsive accompaniments. Muhly pays homage to his mentor Philip Glass with “Doublespeak,” a 21st century reworking of 1970s style minimalism. Melodies spin out and shimmer in developing combinations that are pretty and invigorating. © 2015 Colorado Public Radio



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, October 2015

…the music is wonderfully played, highly significant and beautifully listenable. This is Eighth Blackbird at its best, surely. We get masterful music that all with an interest in the pomo modern scene need to hear. Very recommended. © 2015 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review




Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle, October 2015

The mood engulfing this wonderful new CD by the new music ensemble Eighth Blackbird is a dual one, comprising both restless energy and reverence. The composers Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly, each in his own way, draws on older material to create sounds that are both jarringly new and respectful, and the instrumental sextet performs both works with hard-nosed flair. In “Murder Ballades,” Dessner transmutes traditional American songs like “Omie Wise” and “Pretty Polly”—haunted tabloid tales of murder and mayhem—into a series of briskly tender instrumental sketches, while Muhly’s “Doublespeak” is a puckish homage to the early days of minimalism. And as an embodiment of that musical legacy, Dessner and Muhly are heard in a bravura live performance of Philip Glass’ “Two Pages,” one of the composer’s earliest and purest experiments in stripped-down process-based thinking. It’s a terrific capper to a fine release. © 2015 San Francisco Chronicle



Bob Neill
Positive Feedback Online, September 2015

Filament has my furniture dancing.

…this is a wonderful album. © 2015 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review




Blair Sanderson
AllMusic.com, September 2015

This album demands much of its performers and audience, but the vitality of the music and Eighth Blackbird’s stunning virtuosity make it a compelling experience. © 2015 Allmusic.com Read complete review



Daniel Stephen Johnson
WQXR (New York), September 2015

One of our greatest new-music ensembles—perhaps one of our greatest chamber-music ensembles, period—Chicago-based sextet Eighth Blackbird’s programming is almost as tight as their ensemble playing. © 2015 WQXR (New York) Read complete review



Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim
The New York Times, September 2015

…meditative music full of quirks and kinks. © 2015 The New York Times Read complete review





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