Entries tagged with: Ecstatic Music Festival

22 result(s) displayed (26 - 47 of 47):

photos by David Andrako, words by Andrew Frisicano

Jherek Bischoff & some of his guests
Jherek Bischoff
David Byrne

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...

Continue reading "Jherek Bischoff, Wordless Orchestra, David Byrne, Mirah & more guests opened the Ecstatic Music Festival (pics, review)"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

DOWNLOAD: Sharon Van Etten @ The Greene Space (MP3)

Sharon Van Etten @ the Greene Space
Sharon Van Etten

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.

We recently posted a reminder that the 2012 Ecstatic Music Festival is beginning in NYC on 2/4, but what we didn't mention was that a festival preview event was going down at the Greene Space on 2/1:

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...

Continue reading "Sharon Van Etten played the Greene Space (pics & audio); Ecstatic Music Fest hosting a show there (WIN TIX!)"

Robert Sirota
Robert Sirota

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.

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.
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.

Mirah
Mirah

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...

Continue reading "Mirah played 'Push It' w/ Thao, Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen (video), playing Brooklyn after Ecstatic show (dates)"

This Will Destroy You at Emos last month (more by Tim Griffin)
This Will Destroy You

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...

Continue reading "This Will Destroy You release single, announce tour (dates)"

yMusic at Castle Clinton in July (more by Amanda Hatfield)
yMusic

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.

They'll perform in NYC again with My Brightest Diamond when they open for The National at Beacon Theater (12/16). Tickets for that show are still on sale.

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...

Continue reading "yMusic playing Rockwood & other dates w/ My Brightest Diamond, Richard Reed Parry, Son Lux, The National & others"

Jherek Bischoff
Jherek Bischoff

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.

Continue reading "Jherek Bischoff releasing an album & playing a show -- both with many extra special guests (like David Byrne)"

by Andrew Sacher

DOWNLOAD: Zammuto - "Yay" (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Zammuto - "Groan Man, Don't Cry" (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Zammuto - "Too Late To Topologize" (MP3)

The Books @ Prospect Park over the summer (more by Ryan Muir)
The Books

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 Schaefer

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.

You can still get tickets for that show too.

All dates and the trailer for Achantè below...

Continue reading "(Nick) Zammuto of the Books releasing new music, schedules live shows (MP3 & dates)"

Ecstatic Music Festival

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.

Tickets for individual shows are available now, as well as a festival pass, which allows you access to all 11 shows. If you purchase your tickets before December 10, you can get them for only $20.

Full schedule below...

Continue reading "Ecstatic Music Festival 2012 announced & on sale --- NYC shows w/ Mountain Goats, Dan Deacon, Glasser & more"

photos by David Andrako

Clogs

"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.

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]

More pictures from the Saturday show, and the full setlist, below...

Continue reading "Clogs, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Shara Worden & Sufjan Stevens played Merkin Concert Hall (pics & setlist)"

Shara, Sufjan & Bryce @ the Bell House (more by David Andrako)
Sufjan

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."

photos by David Andrako, words by Rachel Kowal

Owen Pallett

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."

--

Doveman has more shows coming up and Owen Pallett is headed down to Texas now. More pictures from the Ecstatic show, below...

Continue reading "Owen Pallett, Thomas Bartlett, Nadia Sirota & friends got 'Ecstatic' @ Merkin Concert Hall (pics)"

Owen Pallett at Wellmont Theater (more by David Andrako)
Owen Pallett

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.

Doveman also has a pair of other upcoming NYC dates - the star-studded show next week at LPR (3/16, tickets) and April 5th at Bowery Ballroom with Justin Bond (tickets).

Continue reading "Owen Pallett plays NYC tonight, heading to Texas for SXSW"

photos by David Andrako

William Brittelle and Merrill Garbus
Roomful Of Teeth & Tuneyards

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...

Continue reading "Roomful of Teeth, tUnE-yArDs, William Brittelle & Caleb Burhans got 'Ecstatic' @ Merkin Hall (pics, video, setlist)"

DOWNLOAD: Clogs - On the Edge (MP3)

The National @ the Studio (more by David Andrako)
The National

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).

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.

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.

More National tour dates HERE. Clogs dates below...

Continue reading "Bryce Dessner is having a very busy week, Shara Worden playing w/ Clogs & Brooklyn Youth Chorus in March"

words by Andrew Frisicano, photos by David Andrako

Dan Deacon

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.

Dan Deacon

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...

Continue reading "Dan Deacon, So Percussion & the audience played Merkin Hall (pics)"

Buke & Gass and Victoire @ Merkin Concert Hall - 1/17/11 (by David Andrako)
Victoire

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 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]

"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..

Continue reading "Ecstatic Music Festival continues (Dan Deacon is sold out)"

Buke and Gass @ Mercury Lounge in Dec (more by David Andrako)
Buke and Gass

today in NYC
* Chicha Libre @ Barbes
* Raya Brass Band @ Barbes
* Whiplash w/ Daniel Kitson @ UCB
* Crinkles, Rifle Recoil, Y/Y @ Zebulon
* Martha Wainwright @ Rockwood Music Hall
* deVries, Spanish Prisoners, Brick and Mortar, The Can't Tells @ Pianos
* Legitimate Sons, Johnny Butler, Jason Anthony Harris, Jonathan Wood Vincent @ Cake Shop
* Hot Club of Detroit, Milly Beau, Tony Scherr Trio, Jim Campilongo Electric Trio, Tony Mason @ The Living Room
* Buke and Gass, Victoire, So Percussion, Nadia Sirota, Timo Andres, Gabriel Kahane, Chiara String Quartet, John Matthias, NOW Ensemble, Lisa Moore (Ecstatic Music Festival Marathon) @ Merkin Concert Hall

Maybe you have today off?

The Ecstatic Music Festival kicks off on Monday, January 17 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) with a FREE 7-hour marathon from 2-9 pm featuring sets by some of the artists appearing later in the festival along with additional performers and headliners Buke and Gass with Victoire. Program highlights include a rare performance of Julius Eastman's Stay On It with Ne(x)tworks; the U.S. premiere of John Matthias, Adrian Corker and Andrew Prior's new work for violin, voice, electric guitar, piano and NeuroSampler, what happens; the second-ever New York performance of Corey Dargel's complete Other People's Love Songs with NOW Ensemble; and the Chiara String Quartet performing Jefferson Friedman's String Quartet No. 3.

Doors open at 1 pm. The marathon is free, and no tickets or reservations are required. A variety of snacks and drinks, including beer and wine, will be available at the concessions stand throughout the day.

Read more about the performers at the festival's blog.

The Wombats, U.S. Royalty, Sigmund Droid @ Glasslands is postponed.

What else?

Dan Deacon & So Percussion
Deacon

The picture above comes from the video below where Dan Deacon and So Percussion talk about what their January 20th Merkin Concert Hall show will be like (part of the Ecstatic Music Festival and tickets are still available). Check that out, with all of Dan's tour dates (including a NYC Apple store panel discussion), below...

Continue reading "Dan Deacon discusses collaboration w/ So Percussion, touring (video & dates)"

Ecstatic

As previously announced, the 2011 Ecstatic Music Festival, presented by New York City's Merkin Concert Hall in association with New Amsterdam Records, is a showcase of imaginative collaborations between more than 150 genre-pushing composers, songwriters and performers who represent a new generation of artists combining diverse influences and techniques to explore the intersection of classical and pop music. All concerts will include premieres. The festival opens with a free seven-hour marathon on January 17, 2011, and continues with 13 additional concerts until March 28, 2011. All concerts will take place at Merkin Concert Hall.
The Ecstatic Music Festival 2011 is almost here. Subscriptions and single show tickets are on sale. The full updated schedule (tUnE-yArDs, So Percussion, Dan Deacon, Craig Wedren, ACME, Nadia Sirota, Buke & Gass, Doveman, Owen Pallett, Bang On A Can All-Stars, and more included), and a trailer, below...

Continue reading "Ecstatic Music Festival kicks off on 1/16, runs through 3/28 (updated schedule w/ tUnE-yArDs, Dan Deacon, Owen Pallett)"

words by Rachel Kowal

Sam AmidonSam Amidon

On Friday and Saturday night, singer Sam Amidon has hosted a series of sold-out shows at The Kitchen, an arts space in Manhattan that boasts an impressive Board of Directors that includes the likes of Philip Glass, Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner to name a few.

With its austere, DIY theatre vibe, the setting was a bit unconventional, but then again, so was the performance. Much more than simply an evening of folk songs, ballads, and hymns, Amidon projected random video clips and odd, hand-drawn cartoons onto the large screen lining the back wall.

There were two clusters of instruments and laptops on stage - one for Amidon and the other for one of his regular collaborators, Shahzad Ismaily. Due to Amidon's mesmerizing presence, it's easy to overlook Ismaily on percussion, but only because his contribution is effortlessly subtle and effective.

Amidon began his multimedia show with a series of video clips, including one of himself in a rowboat, narrating the tragic tale of "a young child of indiscriminate gender, wearing a green raincoat who ran away from home at the age of 10." With such a vivid and candid performer like Amidon, it's often hard to tell if it's all an act or if he's a bit crazy, but that's part of the appeal.

As was quickly evidenced by both his home videos and his live performance, Amidon can hardly contain his odd stories and asides. With Amidon, it's about the journey - however winding or disjointed it may be. And with a fair amount of sing-a-longs thrown in to keep the audience engaged, it's hard not to feel that we're all weary travelers on the same odyssey.

Of course, the bulk of Amidon's show comprised songs from his last two albums, but he also played a quick succession of short folk songs. And yes, besides the more conventional aspects of the performance, he displayed everything from 'liturgical dancing' and chaotic vocal exercises to a book review (Peter Biskind's "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood" - apparently terrible), a conversation between a piece of broccoli and a jar of maple syrup (naturally, about love and depression), and an R. Kelly cover ("Relief").

It may not have been the most coherent experience, but Sam Amidon's grab bag performances never cease to entertain and enliven.

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Both Sam Amidon and Shahzad Ismaily also play in Thomas Bartlett's Doveman, so maybe they'll be there in March when Doveman goes on a very short tour with Nadia Sirota in March. That very short tour includes two shows in Minneapolis and that one taking place at Merkin Concert Hall on March 9th with Owen Pallett.

Nadia Sirota and Sam Amidon, along with The National's Bryce Dessner and Bishi, will also participate in Tell The Way at St. Ann's Warehouse on February 10th, 11th and 12th...

Tell The Way is a newly commissioned collaborative work created for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (Dianne Berkun, Artistic Director) by the ubiquitous Nico Muhly. Loosely based on medieval and colonial English travel narratives, the work draws from American folk sources, prayers for the Royal Navy, early colonial diaries, Mandeville, Herodotus and Marco Polo. Nico Muhly's music is propulsive travel-music, but at the heart of Tell The Way are three meditative collaborations between Muhly and Bishi, Muhly and Bryce Dessner and Muhly and Sam Amidon. An ensemble of strings, percussion, piano, and flute augment the voices of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Bryce's guitar, Sam's banjo and fiddle, and Bishi's sitar.
Tickets for all three shows are on sale.

All tour dates and Sam's Kitchen setlist, below...

Continue reading "Sam Amidon played the Kitchen (review & setlist), playing Nico Muhly's 'Tell The Way' @ St. Ann's Warehouse (dates)"