Entries tagged with: Ecstatic Music Festival
photos by David Andrako
Rhys & Oneida
Composer/guitarist Rhys Chatham collaborated with Brooklyn band Oneida for a set of new compositions they played together at Merkin Concert Hall in NYC on Saturday night (3/17). "Fucking amazing," said one BV contributor in attendance. Here are some pictures from the Ecstatic Music Festival show.
Catch Oneida again when they headline NYC Taper's 5th anniversary show at 285 Kent in Brooklyn on May 12.
More pictures from the Manhattan show below...
photos by David Andrako
ACME is Nadia Sirota (viola), Clarice Jensen (cello), Chihiro Shibayama (percussion), Andrew Rehrig (flutes), and Alicia Lee (clarinets). On March 1st, ACME performed with Mariam Wallentin and Mikael Karlsson at Merkin Concert Hall as part of the ongoing Ecstatic Music Festival (which continues on March 17th with Oneida and Rhys Chatham). The show was described like this:
Mariam Wallentin, hailed for her "beyond gorgeous" voice in the band Wildbirds & Peacedrums, teams up with acclaimed composer Mikael Karlsson to create a new song cycle, The Spirit & the Cloud, performed with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble ("some of New York's brightest, busiest players." The evening will also include a selection of Karlsson's instrumental compositions and arrangements of Wildbirds & Peacedrums songs for Wallentin and ACME.Check out more pictures from the event, and the full setlist, below...
photos by David Andrako
Two days after Nick Zammuto played the ongoing Ecstatic Music Festival, eight piece vocal group Roomful of Teeth collaborated with Glasser on 2/25 at Merkin Concert Hall. The full setlist, which you can see below, included works by Merrill Garbus (aka tUnE-yArDs), Sarah Kirkland Snyder, Caroline Shaw, Rinde Eckert, Judd Greenstein and Cameron Mesirow (Glasser). You can listen to the whole show at WQXR. More pictures and the setlist below...
photos by David Andrako
Zammuto @ Ecstatic Music Fest
Ecstatic Music Festival continues on, and welcomed a performance from Nick Zammuto (formerly of The Books) & Jason Treuting (So Percussion, Janus Trio) with appearances from janus, Eric Beach, Daisy Press & Grey McMurray at Merkin Concert Hall on 2/23 . A full set of pictures, and a video which gives a sense of what the performance was all about, are in this post.
All tour dates, pictures, and a brand new song off Zammuto's forthcoming self-titled album, below...
photos by David Andrako
This Will Destroy You @ Merkin Concert Hall
This Will Destroy You are really mixing it up on this tour. Last night they played the fancy Merkin Concert Hall on 67th Street as part of the ongoing Ecstatic Music Festival, and on Saturday (2/11) they'll play a just-announced show at DIY space 285 Kent in Brooklyn with Wires Under Tension. Tickets are on sale for the show which happens the same day they play Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken with their tour-mate Amen Dunes (who they also played Lincoln Hall in Chicago with). Pictures from the Ecstatic gig are in this post
Last night (2/9)'s show was split into three acts:
Act 1:More pictures from the Merkin Concert Hall gig below...
A Far Cry - Steve Reich "Triple Quartet"
A Far Cry and Christopher Tignor - Christopher Tignor "Thunder Lay Down In The Heart"
Slow Six with A Far Cry
This Will Destroy You with A Far Cry
photos by David Andrako
Ecstatic Music Festival Day 3 -- 02/08/12
The 2012 Ecstatic Music Festival, which hosted Sxip Shirey and friends one night earlier, continued at Merkin Hall last night with performances by Richard Reed Parry (of the Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre), Son Lux (aka Ryan Lott), and yMusic, along with special guests Bryce and Aaron Dessner (of the National). As advertised, this happened:
"[Richard Reed Parry] takes on the role of composer, presenting a series of works for yMusic and its members utilizing the organic processes of the human body -- heartbeats and breathing -- to articulate the works' progress. Son Lux will likewise have his yMusic compositions (from their debut album, Beautiful Mechanical) performed, and will also present new arrangements from his album We Are Rising ("shamefully good," Seattle Post-Intelligencer), which used yMusic as source material for its electronic compositions. Parry and Lott will also each write new works that incorporate each other into the process, as vocalists, instrumentalists, or even as providers of source material for the new compositions.It was also "A New Sounds Live Presentation Hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer" which means it was streamed live and will be archived online if you mised it. and there are pictures in this post.
This Will Destroy You play the Ecstatic show tonight (2/9), or more specifically:
"The unique, "brilliant" (Boston Globe), self-conducted string orchestra A Far Cry joins forces with post-rock powerhouse This Will Destroy You and renowned composer Christopher Tignor, with his band, Slow Six, for an evening of music that is large-scale in every sense."Tickets are still on sale.
Pictures from last night with a video that was made before the show, below...
photos by David Andrako
Sxip Shirey & Angelica Negron @ Merkin Concert Hall - 2/7/2012
"The “mesmerizing” (New Yorker) multi-instrumentalist and composer Sxip Shirey (pictured) teams up with Angélica Negrón, composer of “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” (WQXR) music for an evening of fabulously eclectic and sonically wide-ranging collaboration. In addition to working together, they will be joined by a slate of special guests, including violinist/composer/Ableton master Todd Reynolds, guitar sound-architect Noveller (“simultaneously soothing and mind-wrecking,” NY Press), the wine-glass/guitar marvel Jonny Rodgers (“beautiful, fragile and consistently challenging,” New Haven Register). The teen alt-classical sensations Face the Music (“stunning,” “polished, exuberant,” New York Times) will give the world premiere of Angélica Negrón’s El Gran Caleidoscopio."That's the official description of the Ecstatic Music Festival show that took place at Merkin Concert Hall last night (2/8). Pictures are in this post. Pictures from the first show in the series, are HERE.
The festival continues tonight (2/8) at the same venue with the Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry along with Son Lux and yMusic. Bryce and Aaron Dessner of the National have also been announced as special guests on the show. Tickets are still available, and we're giving away a pair on Facebook.
More pictures from Tuesday's show, below...
Jherek Bischoff & some of his guests
It wasn't the marathon that opened the inaugural Ecstatic Music Fest in 2011, but this year's opening show on Saturday (2/4) had some of that same collaborative energy, focusing on the compositions and arrangements of Jherek Bischoff, a musician known for his work primarily with The Dead Science, Parenthetical Girls and The Degenerate Art Ensemble. For the show, billed as a preview of Bischoff's forthcoming CD from Brassland ("composed"), the composer got help from the Wordless Music Orchestra and nine guest vocalists.
After a too-brief instrumental opening, David Byrne came out to sing a swaying Afro-Cuban-tinged piece. In what would be a recurring theme, Bischoff's composition wasn't entirely different than the type of song Byrne might sing at one of his own shows. Next up, Charlie Looker intoned through "The Secret Life of Machines" (which you can find an instrumental version of at WNYC) in a style that'd be a close fit to his Extra Life material. Mirah's voice sounded as warm and honeyed as always. Parenthetical Girls's Zac Pennington sang a duet with Sam Mickens, both of them playing up their own strengths, Pennington the animated, Wildean dandy and Mickens the snazzily dressed crooner. The other singers, Craig Wedren from Shudder to Think, Carla Bozulich of Evangelista, and Steven Reker and Jen Goma, were idiosyncratic in their own ways, and Bischoff's string-laden avant-pop tunes bent to their strengths. Deerhoof's Greg Saunier stood out with a few good improvisatory fills but mostly hung back in the ensemble. For his part, Bischoff played ukelele, guitar, bass and sang a song. His young cousin came out to hit a gong at the end of one tune.
The second part of the program, only five songs long, consisted of Bischoff's arrangements of the singers' own material. Craig Wedren, Zac Pennington, Mirah and Carla Bozulich all returned. (In particular, Mirah's vibrant Latin number, "The Country of the Future," was great). For the finale, David Byrne premiered a new song, which he sang with Reker. It took a few verses, but eventually I worked out that "The Fat Man's Comin'" was a song about Santa Claus. As a closer, it was a small gesture where I would have preferred a grand finale, but it seemed to fit with Bischoff's humble collaborator-focused ambitions.
While in town, Mirah plays tonight (Monday) at Glasslands, where she'll be accompanied by cellist Lori Goldston and percussionist Geo Wyeth (Mirah's Facebook says they'll be "performing songs seldom heard from [her] repertoire"). The Ecstatic series continues with three more shows this week. The full schedule is here.
More pictures from Saturday's show at Merkin Concert Hall,below...
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
DOWNLOAD: Sharon Van Etten @ The Greene Space (MP3)
Sharon Van Etten @ the Greene Space
As you know, Sharon Van Etten played a show at WNYC's Greene Space in Tribeca back on 1/17 (with Audra McDonald & Norm Lewis), one day before she played her entire new album in full at Mercury Lounge. Not only do we have some pictures of that show, you can listen to and download the whole thing too. MP3 above. More pictures and the embedded audio player below.
Hosted by WQXR's Terrance McKnight, Q2 Music's preview concert features music and conversation with Ecstatic Music Festival composer-performers Jason Treuting, Angélica Negrón, and Jherek Bischoff as well as a conversation with composer and festival founder and curator, Judd Greenstein.If you'd like to experience that show live (as opposed to watching/listening to it online), tickets are on sale now. We also have a pair to give away. Details on how you can win are below.
Jherek Bischoff's actual Ecstatic Fest show happens on 2/4 with the Wordless Music Orchestra and special guests David Byrne, Craig Wedren, Greg Saunier, Mirah, Zac Pennington, Carla Bozulich, Charlie Looker & Sam Mickens.
WQXR has also announced that they'll be streaming and archiving select Ecstatic shows as part of their Q2 Music series.
Greene Space pics & audio and contest details below...
As BroadwayWorld.com writes (which may or may not be a press release):
"The world premiere performances of composer Robert Sirota's opera, ISCARIOT, which were previously announced as being presented at Trinity Wall Street's St. Paul's Chapel as part of the Festival of New Music this spring, have been canceled as part of the institution's cutbacks to its arts programming which were announced earlier this month. The opera had been scheduled for three performances on May 25, 26, and 27, 2012. The performers were to have included members of the Trinity Choir with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME). ISCARIOT was to have been produced by Beth Morrison Projects."That is horrible news and "no further performances of ISCARIOT have been scheduled at this time." BUT:
Robert Sirota's chamber opera The Clever Mistress, based upon a story from The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, will have its New York premiere performances on April 23 and 30, 2012 as part of The Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival at Symphony Space. On May 2, Victoria Sirota will give the world premiere of his new organ work, holy ghosts, commissioned to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the installation of the historic Appleton Organ at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.The Ecstatic Music Festival begins on February 4th. The schedule includes performances by Jherek Bischoff (with many special guests including Mirah), yMusic, Zammuto, tUnE-yArDs, The Mountain Goats, and many more. Check out their site for the most up to date information.
Upcoming performances for ACME include the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Hall in New York, NY (March 1), Stanford Lively Arts in Palo Alto, CA (March 4), the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, VT (March 23), and at The Kitchen in New York in May.
Mirah has two NYC shows coming up this February. First, she'll play as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival as one of the guest vocalists performing with Jherek Bischoff, which also includes David Byrne, Craig Wedren, Greg Saunier, and Zac Pennington. That show takes place on February 4 at Merkin Concert Hall and tickets are still on sale.
Two days later, she'll play her own show at Glasslands (2/6). Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Mirah, along with Thao, who she released a collaborative album with in 2011, recently performed Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It" with Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen on the Portlandia Tour (which was just expanded) when it stopped at San Francisco's Mezzanine on December 30. A video of that, along with all dates below...
This Will Destroy You at Emos last month (more by Tim Griffin)
This Will Destroy You will team with Amen Dunes (who played 285 Kent last night) for a set of dates in late January and into February. The trek, which charts a path most through the Midwest, East Coast, and into the South, will include a stop in NYC at the Kaufman Center at NYU on 2/9 with A Far Cry and Slow Six. The show is part of the previously discussed Ecstatic Music Festival and tickets are still on sale for the invidiual show or the entire festival.
This Will Destroy You recently released the "Black Dunes" single, which features the album track and a remix. Stream that, as well as their recent LP Tunnel Blanket below. The band also recently scored The Deep Field.
All dates below...
yMusic at Castle Clinton in July (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Six-piece ensemble yMusic released their debut LP this past September, Beautiful Mechanical, with compositions by Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond (whose new album yMusic played on), Annie Clark, Son Lux, and others. They'll celebrate the album with a record release show in NYC on Sunday (12/4) at Rockwood Music Hall. Tickets are on sale now.
yMusic are also play the Ecstatic Music Festival with album collaborator Son Lux (Ryan Lott) and Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry on February 8 at Merkin Concert Hall. Tickets are still available. Stream the Son Lux-composed track "Beautiful Mechanical" off yMusic's album here.
Speaking of Richard Parry, he was spotted in the audience of the Little Scream show the other day at Pianos. He also happened to co-produce the new Little Scream record (which he also contributed to musically). Maybe he'll be there at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn tonight (12/2) too.
My Brightest Diamond also has an upcoming show at Merkin Concert Hall, but hers is part of New York Guitar Festival. She plays on January 17, performing an original score for Buster Keaton's silent film Balloonatic, aliong with Keller WilliamsRedhooker, who will both also be performing scores of Keaton films. Tickets are still available. Shara is also one of the performers for David Lang's Making Music piece, along with Bryce Dessner of The National, Owen Pallett, Nico Muhly and others, which is being presented at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall on January 27. Tickets are on sale now.
All dates below...
As mentioned, the Ecstatic Music Festival kicks off on February 4 at Merkin Concert Hall with Jherek Bischoff, who plays with Parenthetical Girls and The Dead Science. He's teaming up with Wordless Music Orchestra and an incredible list of guest vocalists from his upcoming album, which comes out this February, including David Byrne, Craig Wedren (Shudder To Think), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), Mirah, and Zac Pennington (Parenthetical Girls. Tickets are still on sale now.
Speaking of Parenthetical Girls, their tour began last night (12/1) at Glasslands with Gauntlet Hair, Dinowalrus, and Eraas. If you missed it, they'll also be in NYC this Friday (12/3) at Santos Party House with YACHT and Midnight Magic (tickets).
As previously mentioned, Brassland Records is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a label and debuted a new/old track every day of November via various methods including Soundcloud. None of those tracks can be heard in the player that's embedded below. Those include "Spinney" by This is the Kit (who are opening for the National at Beacon Theater on 12/17) and "Secret of the Machines (instrumental)" by Jherek Bischoff. The latter also features drums by Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), and will have vocals by Caetano Veloso in its album version.
by Andrew Sacher
The Books @ Prospect Park over the summer (more by Ryan Muir)
Nick Zammuto of NYC experimentalists The Books announced a new project on his blog back in June called Zammuto. The message on his blog read:
I'll be working on the new record throughout the summer (and for however long it takes), and whenever I have a 'working draft' of a new track, I'll post it for a couple days. These won't be 'finished' versions, when I have a solid albums worth I'll revisit all the tracks to pull album together as a whole. Hope you like it!So far, he's got three tracks under the Zammuto moniker on his soundcloud, and you can download them above and stream them below. He first revealed "Yay" simultaneously with the announcement of the project. That track is centered around a spastic cut-up vocal that literally sounds like a broken record. He's since followed it with "Groan Man, Don't Cry" and "Too Late To Topologize" which are both great cuts of robotic vocal manipulations and busy drumming.
None of those three tracks appear on the single for "Idiom Wind" which is coming out as a limited 7" in the UK right after Christmas. You can order that now - digital copies too, at Bandcamp.
Zammuto will make their live debut this February with a few dates that include a NYC show at 92YTribeca on February 4. His live band includes multi-instrumentalist Gene Back, who has toured with The Books, drummer/percussionist Sean Dixon and bassist Mike Zammuto. The show will begin with the screening of the film Achantè, which Nick scored, and their set will also include video projections like the Books' shows do. In addition to performing their own material, Zammuto will perform "classics from the Books and some never before performed tracks from the Books." Tickets for the NYC show are on sale now.
Nick is also performing in NYC again on 2/23 as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival. The description of that show reads:
A New Sounds® Live Presentation Hosted by WNYC's John SchaeferYou can still get tickets for that show too.
Nick Zammuto of The Books and Jason Treuting of So Percussion break away from their bands for an evening of spelling bees, homemade videos and fantastically-textured music, joined by janus, guitarist Grey McMurray and vocalist Daisy Press.
All dates and the trailer for Achantè below...
The Ecstatic Music Festival is returning to the Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center from February 4 to March 28. The festival includes 11 shows over the course of the approximate two month period including performances by Richard Reed Perry (of Arcade Fire) with Son Lux and yMusic (who recently worked with My Brightest Diamond and St. Vincent), This Will Destroy You with composer Christopher Tignor and his band Slow Six, vocal octet Roomful of Teeth who will present a collaboration with Glasser and also present new work by Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, Rhys Chatham and Oneida, Dan Deacon with the NOW Ensemble and the Calder Quartet, The Mountain Goats with vocal quartet Anonymous 4, who will be performing material for John Darnielle's new project Transcendental Youth, which were arranged by Owen Pallet. Many other artists are performing too, the full schedule is below.
Full schedule below...
photos by David Andrako
"Sufjan did not disappoint us. He came, he played banjo and sang We Were Here, acting in his self-effacing way just any other hired musician. It was a wonderful moment and a delightful surprise. But I don't want to sell Clogs short. The concert was delightful even before Sufjan arrived onstage.More pictures from the Saturday show, and the full setlist, below...
Clogs put on a beautiful show as part of the excellent Ecstatic Music Festival. Wonderfully quirky vocalist Shara Worden, in an extremely colorful ensemble, joined Clogs to sing and play some guitar on several tunes from the latest Clogs album, The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton, on which she appears. The band also did some older tunes and a new song cycle, called Unattended Shadow, by the band's violist, Padma Newsome. (Clogs' lineup is rounded out by Rachael Elliott on bassoon and Thomas Kozumplik on percussion.)
One of the real treats of the evening, though, was the band's interaction with the fabulous Brooklyn Youth Chorus. They performed guitarist Bryce Dessner's new Tour Eiffel, which was premiered at the Nico Muhly Tell the Way show at St. Ann's Warehouse early in February."
[Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone]
Shara, Sufjan & Bryce @ the Bell House (more by David Andrako)
Tickets are still on sale for Saturday's Clogs/Brooklyn Youth Chorus Ecstatic Music Festival show that Shara Worden (and Sufjan Stevens) is also playing. "The set list includes works from recent Clogs albums as well as a new piece from Bryce Dessner (The National) and a world premiere by Padma Newsome."
When you hear the word 'ecstatic,' chances are classical music isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind. Even Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman), one of last night's featured musicians, admitted that his music was "kind of quiet" and snoozy." But a cursory glance at Nadia Sirota's frenzied delivery on the viola, and the classicaly-bent Ecstatic Music Festival's choice adjective doesn't seem like such a misnomer.
The evening was arranged in three parts, one for each of the featured musicians. Of course, the performances were also highly collaborative and often called for all five performers (including violinist Rob Moose and cellist Clarice Jensen) to be on stage. "We're all friends and drinking companions," Bartlett revealed.
As evidenced by the the recent stringof Burgundy Stain Sessions at Le Poisson Rouge, Bartlett is no stranger to performing with a wide range of talented musicians, but after nearly a month of touring solo in Australia, he averred that extra musicians were a welcome addition. "I think I'm hallucinating the quartet," joked the jet-lagged pianist early into the show. Bartlett and company played a selection of Doveman's melodious songs, including a brand new one about lost love that he wrote during his recent trip abroad.
Following Bartlett's portion, Nadia Sirota moved to the center of the stage, her viola tucked safely under her arm. With its measured, gentle introduction, her first piece, 'Drums and Viola' provided a smooth transition from Bartlett's music into her more frenetic contributions. But with each passing movement of the song, the tension rose. To keep up with the heightened pace, Sirota inhaled sharply every few beats, which made her performance even more physical and impassioned. Like Thomas Bartlett, Sirota was also thrilled to present a new piece - Missy Mazzoli's 'Tooth and Nail'.
The final leg of the show featured Owen Pallett's sprightly selections. Though he is best known for his elaborate violin-looping skills, Pallett (who used to be known as Final Fantasy) started on the keyboard, accompanied by Bartlett and the slightly truncated strings section. After a few songs however, he picked up the violin so as not to betray his fans or the event poster. The majority of Palett's songs came from his last album, Heartland, but he also played an older song or two, including "He Poos Clouds."
Besides one odd technical difficulty when the music halted temporarily during the "difficult" song ("Lewis Takes Off His Shirt"), the acoustics were excellent, thanks largely to the carefully-engineered wood paneling in Merkin Concert Hall.
After each musician had the chance to show off a selection of songs from his or her repertoire, the group united on stage once more to conclude the evening with Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart."
Owen Pallett at Wellmont Theater (more by David Andrako)
Owen Pallett is in NYC. He spent last night at Terminal 5 checking out OMD, and he'll play Merkin Concert Hall TONIGHT (3/9) with Nadia Sirota & Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) as part of the ongoing Ecstatic Music Festival. Tickets are still available for all of you procrastinators.
Owen Pallett is also one of the artists, like Austra and Oh Land, that we're happy to announce will be playing the Swan Dive on 3/19 as part of the three stage BrooklynVegan/M for Montreal Day Party (he then plays the Stereogum stage at Pure Volume House way later that night). Pallett and Austra both also on board to play the Domino showcase on 3/17 at Emo's with Cass McCombs, The Kills, and King Creosote. All tour dates and some videos are below.
photos by David Andrako
William Brittelle and Merrill Garbus
Roomful of Teeth (Esteli Gomez, Martha Cluver, Caroline Shaw, Virginia Warnken, Eric Dudley, Jonathan Woody, Dashon Burton, Cameron Beauchamp & director/founder Brad Wells) were the constant Saturday evening at Merkin Concert Hall. The show, entitled "Roomful of Teeth & tUnE-yArDs: The Music of William Brittelle, Caleb Burhans & Merrill Garbus" was part of the Ecstatic Music Festival which continues hosting unique performances through the end of March.
Roomful of Teeth were joined by Merrill (aka tUnE-yArDs) and Caleb Burhans on older tUnE-yArDs song "Hatari", and the women of Roomful of Teeth and Merrill performed "Doorstep" from her forthcoming album. Caleb also joined the group for his piece "why must you leave...".
tUnE-yArDs kicks off a proper tour, of all her music, in April. More pictures, two videos and the full setlist from the Merkin show are below...
photos by David Andrako
More pictures from Thursday night's Ecstatic Music Festival show, with the full setlist and list of musicians, below...
DOWNLOAD: Clogs - On the Edge (MP3)
The National @ the Studio (more by David Andrako)
Not only did Bryce play a live MTV taping with the National last night, he's playing a fashion week party tonight (Wednesday) and three shows this weekend at St. Ann's Warehouse (Thursday-Saturday), AND he has an Ecstatic Music Festival show on Thursday night too...
Composer/Guitarist Bryce Dessner of The National is excited to premiere two separate compositions in New York City on Thursday, February 10. The first commission was awarded to Bryce by Bang on a Can All Stars' People's Commissioning Fund. The piece will be performed at Merkin Hall by Bang on a Can All-Stars (details HERE).AND, the Bang on a Can show is one of at least two Ecstatic Music Festival shows Bryce is part of, and the St. Ann's show is one of two gigs Bryce has scheduled with the BYC kids. Bryce's other band Clogs teams up with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Shara Worden for a show at Merkin Concert Hall on May 12th. Shara Worden also plays Merkin Concert Hall four days later with Sarah Kirkland Snider (I think Shara was kept off the bills until after her recent Lincoln Center show). Tickets for those and other Ecstatic Music Fest shows are on sale.
Bryce will be performing his second piece, "Tour Eiffel" at St. Ann's alongside Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Feb 10th-12th.
More National tour dates HERE. Clogs dates below...
words by Andrew Frisicano, photos by David Andrako
I was prepared to be disappointed by the Dan Deacon/So Percussion collaboration on Thursday night. I've seen Dan Deacon several times over the past few years and it has always seemed like more or less the same show ("Hey, it's that people-bridge thing."). With So Percussion, the last I saw of them was an evening-length piece at BAM titled Imaginary City. There the music was competently performed, but presentation was underwhelming; the ensemble got swallowed in their junkyard of instruments, too delicately played for the large theater space. My hope was that the group would be less calculated and more playful, which is when they're at their best, with Deacon (the amazing finale of their Matmos collaboration had them alternately chugging and playing beer cans).
Another reason to be skeptical: if you can remember back to May 2009, So Percussion described a Deacon-penned piece they'd be playing at a performance that month. An e-mail from the group warned that the piece "may include pouring liquids onstage, amplified coke bottles, and other oddities..." Well, it didn't end up coming together in time for the show. But it did last night. I figure, any project delayed more than two years is either a catastrophic trainwreck (Chinese Democracy) or a landmark breakthrough (Finnegans Wake or something). Part of that curiosity is what drew me to the show.
The night was divided into two halves, the first with So Percussion and Dan Deacon performing individual sets, then with the groups together. So Percussion's Jason Treuting was absent for the evening, off spending time with his new baby, who'd just been born two hours earlier, and substitute drummer Eric Rosenbaum did a great job of filling in. The band had the crowd sing "Happy Birthday" into a cell phone for the newborn, which was the first of several crowd-performances of the night.
Their opening set comprised of several short pieces, mostly based on videos submitted by friends: a bearded man using an electric toothbrush, a child playing with an orange balloon (replicas were thrown into the crowd to play with), and Martin Schmidt from Matmos looking very John Cage-ish, straight-backed and in a bow tie, playing a succession of musical objects into the camera. The ensemble improvised over the clips in meditative waves, aided by guitarist Grey McMurray.
Up next was Dan Deacon's solo set, which he didn't really perform in at all. In an obvious reach-out to prose scores (by John Cage and others I'm less familiar with) and aleatoric pieces like Terry Riley's In C, Deacon passed out a 24-step pamphlet with instructions for audience members to perform in their seats. The steps were to be repeated variously, before moving to the next in the sequence. Some instructions said to focus on breathing, others instructed you to sing a tone or scream, several involved using a cell phone, either to set off its alarm, create feedback with a neighbor's phone, or call a friend and have them sing to you (one stranger serenaded the near-silent hall to "Proud Mary"). The gambit paid off, both as a natural extension of the crowd-participation Deacon has previously employed and as a link to "new music" tradition.
There was an intermission, then "Ghostbuster Cook: The Origin of the Riddler," a collaborative piece with So Percussion, whose performance centered on drumming a row of soda bottles of varying sizes. They emitted a marimba-like sound that Dan Deacon manipulated with a row of effects. The next stop was a series of bass drums and congas, that sounded at times like a drum corps. When Dan Deacon fired up his sequencers, which took a few moments to lock in with the drums, it was the closest the night would get to a standard Dan Deacon set: overwhelming sound with chaotic execution (So Percussion didn't seem exactly at ease with their cues here). The group moved back to the pitched containers while members emptied more soda bottles into plastic tubs. Stoppers at the bottom of two playable bottles were let out and a misting sound filled the hall. Then, the silence. For what must have been more than ten minutes, So Percussion stood perched over their marimbas and vibes waiting for the running water to stop (no doubt a reference to the silence of John Cage's 4'33"). One enraged audience member exclaimed "Are you fucking kidding me?" before storming out the back. Then the water ended, and the group came in with an arrangement of twinkling mallet percussion, with a melody that hinted at Danny Elfman's film scores and polyrhythms that tugged in several different directions.
Was the night a success? Partly. Dan Deacon seemed serious about his concert hall debut; the prose score was fun and effective. So Percussion's solo set was a stellar example of what makes the group great: aural treats born out of playful experimentation. Their collaboration was a risk that had an admirable scope, and paid-off in parts, but stopped short of making a cohesive whole (again, the thing was called "Ghostbuster Cook: The Origin of the Riddler"). If Deacon and the group had put together a suite of short pieces, with spots to recalibrate and adjust, I suspect the result would have been a full success.
As it was, only one crowd member in a sold-out crowd leaving (as far as I could tell) is more than a minor victory. The biggest regret is the fact that the program's final piece, So Percussion's "I Love You, Goodnight," didn't happen. They skipped that song, possibly for time, or perhaps because Jason was absent, but I wish I had a video of it to post here: It's an amazing lullaby to send off an audience.
More pictures from the Ecstatic Music Festival show at Merkin Concert Hall (the next one is Craig Wedren, Jefferson Friedman & ACME on Saturday) below...
Buke & Gass and Victoire @ Merkin Concert Hall - 1/17/11 (by David Andrako)
For the dozens of artists who participated in the opening marathon concert of the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall on Monday, the event was less a defining breakthrough moment than the establishment -- temporary or not -- of an uptown beachhead for a flourishing alliance normally encountered in downtown and Brooklyn spaces like Le Poisson Rouge, Galapagos Art Space, Issue Project Room and Joe's Pub."The Chiara String Quartet and the Music of Nico Muhly & Valgeir Sigurdsson" happened last night (1/19), and the Ecstatic Music Festival continues tonight with a now-sold out Dan Deacon & So Percussion show. Some videos from previous shows below..
The notion of a mission seemed too heavy for the feel of this sprawling showcase, which was meant to run for seven hours and consumed nearly eight. If there was a core statement, it could have been -- to twist slightly the title of a song by Sarah Kirkland Snider, a gifted composer to be featured in a later festival event -- "This is what we're like." [NY Times]