Sean Shibe: Lost and Found review – bonkers but brilliantly curated

Here’s another bonkers-at-first-glance, brilliantly curated album from the guitarist Sean Shibe. He describes Lost and Found as “an emporium of curiosities”, and all the exhibits are for electric guitar. That doesn’t mean all the music is modern. Two tracks are Shibe’s interpretation of melodies by Hildegard of Bingen, 900-odd years old. O Viridissima Virga sounds as if it’s being played on a church organ, the notes stark and loud, swathed in fluctuating overtones. By contrast, much later in the playlist – and you mess with the track order at your peril – O Choruscans Lux Stellarum keeps its melody swirling in the ether.

A lot of the music is meditative. Some of it skirts perilously close to chill-out, or would do if Shibe let it: instead, whenever we might be lulled into inactive listening Shibe provides something subversive.

Meredith Monk’s mesmerising Nightfall and Bill Evans’s Peace Piece are followed by the unsettling harmonies of Messiaen’s O Sacrum Convivium! and then the single, long, violent crescendo that is Shiva Feshareki’s Venus/Zohreh.

Chick Corea’s Children’s Songs are lullabies with an undercurrent of unease, and a similar mood runs through Daniel Kidane’s brief, glinting new piece Continuance. Moondog, a composer who slept rough on New York’s Sixth Avenue dressed as a Viking, lets Shibe release his inner rock god in Sea Horse, and also supplies two numbers whose quiet campfire gorgeousness is disturbed first by Corea, then by Oliver Leith’s Pushing My Thumb Through a Plate – a long haul involving strings being tautened and slackened, which works if you go with the idea that it expresses in sound the impossibility of shifting molecules out of their pattern.

Finally, there’s Julius Eastman’s monumental Buddha, swooping like a slow siren, ending on a major chord that feels defiant. You won’t know what’s hit you.

This week’s other pick

This is itself a bit of a curiosity: more Children’s Songs, but miles away from Corea’s. The Education Act of 1870 established music on the British curriculum, so schools needed songs. One composer who stepped up was Charles Villiers Stanford, and Somm’s new release has 38 of his songs, many recorded for the first time, put across by the very grown-up voices of Gareth Brynmor John and Kitty Whately, all with the pianist Susie Allan. Some feel like historian-fodder; others are deftly written, especially those to words by the 14-year-old Helen Douglas Adam, and there’s an especially lovely Lullaby from Whately.