Introducing Sharp FM, our official Soundcloud channel where you’ll find music and all things audio-related in the world of Sharp Type. Our debut is a mix of classical music for Octave’s release by guest DJ Jen Monroe. It’s a spritely and contemplative tonal sine wave, good for use in most any scenario, much like Josh Finklea’s typeface.
Josh’s love of classical music became the natural starting point for Octave’s art direction, and while we were in production, we felt that this a great opportunity for us to debut Sharp FM with a complementary soundtrack. Jen Monroe was our only real choice for this mix, and thankfully she was interested and available. For the uninitiated, Jen hosted the popular album-download blog Listen To This, and we love Getting Warmer, her monthly show on NTS Radio, which is renowned for its deep-and-wide appreciation for ambient, Japanese new wave, left field pop, and, of course, classical.
Guest DJ Jen Monroe, whose NTS show Getting Warmer features episodic deep dives into classical sub-genres such as choral and harp, while also veering into the worlds of gospel, Robbie Basho, and even K-pop.
Robert Schumann’s inimitable late-period “Gesänge der Frühe”--which translates to “Songs of the Dawn”--is Josh Finklea’s favorite piece of music, and the mix starts with its cascading fourth movement. Overall, the selections are piano-centric and lean on the Romantic period with some fun discursions. “There are a few curveballs in here,” says Jen. “Most noticeably a Debussy art song sung by Eileen Farrell, because it's an all-time favorite recording of mine and the piano accompaniment is gorgeous.” The mix is by turns soothing and invigorating, perfect for the changing seasons.
Autumn arrived right on time on the East Coast this year, and the liminal beauty of the shifting seasons is always inspiring. Jen notes that the music “definitely hits its peak ‘autumnal moodiness’ stride in the second half, with Mahler's abandoned piano quartet and a movement from Liszt's legendary sonata in B minor, and goes out on a high note with Ravel's wild ride finale from his piano trio.”
Octave is a typeface that is calm, pragmatic, and understated. When we asked Jen to consider Octave’s web copy for musical inspiration, we weren’t sure how this would translate synesthetically. “I tend to gravitate towards classical music that is drippy, florid, and loose, so in the spirit of Octave it was a fun challenge to try to steer towards things that are (a bit!) more spare. I'd say in the end this selection splits the difference.”
1. Robert Schumann - Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133: IV. Bewegt (Florian Glemser)
2. Clara Schumann - Drei Romanzen, Op. 22: III. Leidenschaftlich schnell (Dénes Várjon & Christoph Richter)
3. Gabriel Fauré - Piano Trio In D Minor, Op. 120: I. Allegro, ma non troppo (Trio Wanderer)
4. Franz Schubert - Die schöne Müllerin, Op. 25: “Wohin?” (Howard Shelley)
5. John Adams - China Gates, For Solo Piano (Yuja Wang)
6. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Daisies, Op. 38 No. 3 (Howard Shelley)
7. Maurice Ravel - Miroirs, Suite Pour Piano: II. Oiseaux Tristes (Paul Crossley)
8. Claude Debussy - Beau Soir, L. 84 (Eileen Farrell & George Trovillo)
9. Nino Rota - Ippolito Gioca Per Pianoforte (Marino Formenti)
10. Sergei Rachmaninoff - Moment musical in E flat minor, Op. 16 No. 2 (Arcadi Volodos)
11. Gustav Mahler - Piano Quartet movement in A minor (Christoph Eschenbach, David Kim, Choong-Jin Chang, & Efe Baltacıgil) (excerpt)
12. Franz Liszt - Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178: Andante sostenuto (Maurizio Pollini)
13. Michael Nyman - M-13 Song L, For Yohji Yamamoto (Michael Nyman)
14. Antonín Dvořák - Silent Woods for Cello and Piano, Op. 68 No. 5: Lento e molto cantabile (Jiří Bárta & Jan Čech)
15. Maurice Ravel - Piano Trio: IV. Finale (Animé) (Florestan Trio)
SHARP FM: A LITTLE BIT ABOUT OUR LOGO
We went through a dozen different possible names for the Sharp Type Soundcloud, and we finally went with our first idea. In the end, the content will define the channel, but we wanted a name that is connotative of accessibility and a touch of familiarity.
“Talk less, listen more” is the unofficial Sharp FM slogan, cribbed from a Tokyo jazz kissa, and this is the state of mind we’re always chasing. When it came to the design of the Sharp FM logo, Justin Sloane found visual inspiration from sources that dovetailed with our name and motto: "The radio-wave Sharp FM logo is a nod towards pre-internet public radio/TV broadcast logos, an era when the flow of information was slower and more thoughtful."
This mix is the first of many to come. Music will be the natural focus, but we will be producing content beyond it. In keeping with the Sharp Type ethos, you can expect high quality material from unexpected contributors who have a unique voice. Thanks for listening.