Entries tagged with: Merkin Concert Hall

23 result(s) displayed (1 - 23 of 23):

photos by David Andrako

Colin & Brooklyn Youth Chorus / Greg Fox
Ecstatic Music Fest
Ecstatic Music Fest

The Ecstatic Music Festival continued this past Saturday (3/22) at Merkin Concert Hall with sax great Colin Stetson (collaborator of Arcade Fire, Bon Iver and many others), joined by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. After their set together, Colin did a second set with an ensemble that included his sister Megan, Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Nefueld, and ex-Liturgy skins master Greg Fox, who also collaborated with Colin in NYC last month. Pictures of the show are in this post.

Ecstatic Music Festival wraps up this week with two shows: So Percussion with Buke & Gase on Wednesday (3/26), and Man Forever (fronted by Kid Millions of Oneida) with William Basinski on Saturday (3/29). You can still get tickets to both.

More pictures and the setlist from the Colin Stetson show below...

Continue reading "Colin Stetson played Ecstatic Music Festival w/ Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Sarah Neufeld, Greg Fox & more (pics/setlist)"

photos by David Andrako

Saul Williams & Mivos Quartet

The Ecstatic Music Festival continued at Merkin Concert Hall last night (2/26), offering another unique mix of genres. Last night it was poet/spoken word artist Saul Williams joined by string quartet Mivos Quartet. First, they teamed up for four collaborations (music by Mivos, words by Saul), and then it was the US premiere of Saul Williams' collaboration with Thomas Kessler, "NGH WHT," which was originally written for the Arditti Quartet. Pictures of the night are in this post.

Ecstatic Music Fest continues through the end of March. The next show is Saturday (3/1) with Mirah and Susie Ibarra (tickets).

More pictures and the setlist from last night, below...

Continue reading "Saul Williams & Mivos Quartet played the Ecstatic Music Festival (pics & setlist)"

Hospitality at Glasslands in October (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
480

The annual Ecstatic Music Festival is returning to its usual location, the Merkin Concert Hall (except for the kickoff show at The Green Space, and one show happening at Carnegie Hall) in 2014 from January 31 to March 29.

Like in previous years, the shows will include multiple indie/classical collaborations including Hospitality with Face the Music; Saul Williams with Mivos Quartet; Mirah with Susie Ibarra; The Bang on a Can All Stars with Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Alvin Lucier and Daniel Wohl; Colin Stetson with Brooklyn Youth Chorus; So Percussion with Buke & Gase; Man Forever with William Basinski; and more.

Festival passes and individual tickets are on sale now.

Full schedule, along with a trailer video, below...

Continue reading "Ecstatic Music Festival 2014 lineup & tix (Hospitality, Mirah, William Basinski, Buke & Gase, Colin Stetson, and more)"

photos by David Andrako, words by Andrew Sacher

Daniel Wohl, Laurel Halo, and Julia Holter
Laurel Halo, Julia Holter, Daniel Wohl, Transit

"So you were there in a car and the windshield shattered," are the first words you heard at Laurel Halo and Julia Holter's collaborative set with electroacoustic composer Daniel Wohl and his TRANSIT orchestra at the Merkin Concert Hall on Saturday night (2/23), as part of the ongoing indie-classical Ecstatic Music Festival. The line was quietly sung by Laurel, only to be sung by Julia the second time around, and finally for a third "verse," the two singers harmonized in unison, and their voices sound great together. The lyric was sung during a piece titled "Enter the Void," the first of three original pieces composed by Laurel, Julia, and Daniel played during the first set of Saturday's concert. The setup primarily featured Laurel and Daniel on electronics, as Daniel led his orchestra, and Laurel and Julia on vocals. All three musicians also had keyboards.

The pieces were heavy on vibes, never fully committing to drone, ambient IDM, modern classical or avant-garde, but pulling characteristics from all of those things to create drifting, floating atmospheres that were entirely their own. Vocally, the deliveries were bold and kind of the one thing that kept you grounded on earth. Both Julia and Laurel sang in similar styles to their respective 2012 albums, Ekstasis and Quarantine, restoring a sense of familiarity each time they chimed in over the electronics and orchestra swells' ability to emerge the listener into the unknown. One of the pieces was written on the setlist as "Corps Remix," and presumably has its roots in Laurel Halo's remix of Daniel Wohl's "323," from his Corps Exquis project (who Laurel once shared a bill with in Brooklyn).

After leaving the stage for a short intermission, the musicians returned for a second set, which featured three songs performed as one continuous piece. It began with Julia literally whispering spoken word into the mic and Laurel eventually joining her on contrasting parts. The whispering was followed by some sparse moments of singing into more depths of weirdness. But as a finale to the medley, they brought everything back home with a cover of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David-penned tune, Don't Make Me Over," ending with Julia and Laurel powerfully chanted in unison, "Accept me for who I am, accept me for the things that I do."

An archived recording of the show will eventually be available at WQXR. More pictures (including one of the setlist) below...

Continue reading "Laurel Halo, Julia Holter, and Daniel Wohl collaborated at Ecstatic Music Festival (pics, review)"

Ecstatic Music Festival 2012 (more by David Andrako)
Ecstatic Music Festival

As discussed, the indie/classical Ecstatic Music Festival is returning to the Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center this year and it begins Friday (1/25) with a show from My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The festival also includes shows with Clogs, Laurel Halo and Julia Holter, Deerhoof, Megafaun, and more. The full schedule is below and tickets for select shows are still available.

However, you've also got a chance to attend for free because we're giving away a pair of tickets to a show of your choice. Contest details and the Ecstatic Music Festival schedule, below...

Continue reading "Ecstatic Music Fest kicking off (win tix to show of your choice!)"

Tyondai Braxton at ATP NYC 2012 (more by David Andrako)
Tyondai Braxton

Ex-Battles frontman Tyondai Braxton will present his new multimedia project, HIVE, in NYC at the Guggenheim Museum on March 21 as part of the museum's Works & Process series. The project is being co-presented by Wordless Music and will feature musicians Ben Vida, Yuri Yamashita, Jared Soldiviero, and John Ostrowski, and architect/carpenter Uffe Surland Van Tams. Tickets for that show are on sale now. Flyer below.

Tyondai has other upcoming appearances and events in NYC including premiering his new work, Trems, which is being performed by Bang On A Can at Merkin Concert Hall on March 14 for an event that also features music by Dan Deacon, Anna Clyne, Paula Matthusen, Johann Johannsson, and Fay Kueen Wang.

Then, he'll debut his piece, "Fly by Wire" with the ensemble Alarm Will Sound at Carnegie Hall on April 6. Tickets for that show are on sale now.

Tyondai and Ben Vida (who also performs at the HIVE show) are teaming up as a duo to perform as an opening act at Extra Life's last show ever which happens on January 19 at 285 Kent with Sam Mickens (who plays Mercury Lounge with Callers tonight [1/7]), Oneirogen, and a DJ set by NMCM (Krallice). Admission is $12 at the door. You can read Extra Life's goodbye message at their website.

And, as mentioned, Tyondai will DJ at Dan Friel's record release show for Total Folklore on February 19 at Knitting Factory with Guardian Alien and Yvette. Tickets for that show are still available.

All dates are listed below...

Continue reading "Tyondai Braxton has new musical projects, playing live (dates)"

Julia Holter at Bowery Ballroom in August (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Julia Holter

The Ecstatic Music Festival is returning to the Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center in 2013 from January 25 to March 21, where it's happened in past years. Over the course of the approximately two month-long period, the festival will be presenting eleven shows, with multiple collaborations between artists that blur the lines between indie and modern classical. The collaborations include Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus; Sarah Kirkland Snider with vocalists DM Stith, Padma Newsome (of Clogs), and Shara Worden; DJ / rupture and Zs; Deerhoof with Dal Niente and Marcos Balter; Laurel Halo and Julia Holter with Daniel Wohl; Arnold Dreyblatt with Megafaun; Simone Dinnerstein with Tift Merritt; a Bang on a Can concert, and more.

Individual tickets and festival passes go on sale today (11/27).

Full schedule is below.

Continue reading "Ecstatic Music Festival 2013 announced 2013 (Julia Holter, My Brightest Diamond, Laurel Halo, Megafaun, Deerhoof & more)"

photos by David Andrako

Mikael Karlsson & Mariam Wallentin

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...

Continue reading "Mariam Wallentin of Wildbirds & Peacedrums played w/ Mikael Karlsson & ACME @ the Ecstatic Music Festival (pics)"

photos by David Andrako

Glasser
Glasser

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...

Continue reading "Glasser and Roomful of Teeth collaborated at Merkin Hall (stream, pics & setlist)"

photos by David Andrako

Zammuto @ Ecstatic Music Fest
Nick Zammuto

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.

Zammuto will hit the road for a string of Midwest dates supporting Explosions In The Sky, though Zammuto won't be on hand when the Texas quartet play Governors Ball in June.

All tour dates, pictures, and a brand new song off Zammuto's forthcoming self-titled album, below...

Continue reading "Zammuto streaming a new track, played the Ecstatic Music Fest w/ Jason Treuting & more (pics)"

photos by David Andrako

This Will Destroy You @ Merkin Concert Hall
This Will Destroy You

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:
A Far Cry - Steve Reich "Triple Quartet"
A Far Cry and Christopher Tignor - Christopher Tignor "Thunder Lay Down In The Heart"

Act 2:
Slow Six with A Far Cry

Act 3:
This Will Destroy You with A Far Cry

More pictures from the Merkin Concert Hall gig below...

Continue reading "This Will Destroy You played the Ecstatic Music Fest (pics), playing 285 Kent Saturday (on sale)"

photos by David Andrako

Ecstatic Music Festival Day 3 -- 02/08/12
Y Music

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...

Continue reading "Richard Reed Parry, Son Lux, yMusic & Dessners got 'Ecstatic' @ Merkin Concert Hall (pics) "

photos by David Andrako

Sxip Shirey & Angelica Negron @ Merkin Concert Hall - 2/7/2012
Sxip Shirey & Angelica Negron

"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.

Tickets are also still available for Thursday's show with This Will Destroy You (who are on tour).

More pictures from Tuesday's show, below...

Continue reading "Ecstatic Music Fest 2012 -- show 2 in pics (Sxip Shirey, Angelica Negron, Noveller, more); Dessners play tonight"

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)"

Lee Ranaldo @ Williamsburg Waterfront (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Lee Ranaldo

New York Guitar Festival is returning this January and has some upcoming events scheduled at the Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center. The guitarists will be premiering original film scores for silent films by Buster Keaton. Dan Zanes plays on January 10, Lee Ranaldo (of Sonic Youth) and Kaki King on January 12, Keller Williams and special guest TBA on January 17, and Califone and special guest TBA on January 19. Tickets go on sale September 6 from Kaufman Center's website, at the Box Office, or by calling 212 501 3330.

Califone also plays the Design Harvest Festival in Chicago on October 1st.

Dan Zanes has other upcoming shows in the next few months including John Wesley Harding's Cabinet of Wonders on September 23 at City Winery and October 2 at NYU's Skirball Center. Tickets are on sale for the City Winery show and the Skirball show. All dates below.

Keller Williams has other shows coming up too including a kids matinee show on November 19 at Brooklyn Bowl where he will perform songs from his family album Kids. Tickets and Family 4 Pack tickets are on sale now.

All Dan Zanes dates below...

Continue reading "NY Guitar Fest announces 2012 shows (Califone, Kaki King, Lee Ranaldo, Dan Zanes & 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)"

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)"

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)"

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)"

Bon Iver @ Sasquatch Fest (more by Chris Graham)
Bon Iver

Tickets are now on sale for all of Merkin Hall's upcoming 2009/10 concerts. Those shows include the NY Guitar Festival's Silent Films/Live Guitars series (previously mentioned here), which features David Bromberg and Marc Ribot playing alongside Charlie Chaplin films on January 14th, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon (Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush) with Steve Kimock (Buster Keaton's Cops) on January 21st, and more. The full lineup, with details, is below.

The venue is also hosting the New Sounds series, which includes performances by ETHEL and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Details on those are below. Check out a video of the BoaC All-Stars rehearsing a Steve Reich piece from a few years back below too. You'll notice Bryce Dessner of the National is in the ensemble in that video. He's currently working on his own new piece with brother Aaron and Matthew Ritchie to debut at BAM this fall.

Also, as part of their trio of "Contemporary Contexts" concerts, Merkin Hall will be bringing Signal, who will premiere a new work from Nico Muhly and UK composer Harrison Birtwistle, in May.

The full schedule is below...

Continue reading "Bon Iver, Marc Ribot & other NY Guitar Fest tickets on sale ++ full upcomng Merkin Hall schedule (New Sounds, etc)"

Volcano Choir
Volcano Choir

Wisconsin's Volcano Choir is Bon Iver's Justin Vernon with Collections of Colonies of Bees members Jon Mueller, Chris Rosenau, Jim Schoenecker, Daniel Spack, and Thomas Wincek. Their album, Unmap, recorded in the fall of 2008, comes out September 22nd on Jagjaguwar (9/21 in the UK). The label described their sound as "ranging from David Sylvian and Steve Reich to Mahalia Jackson and Tom Waits." About the Volcano Choir record, Vernon said to Pitchfork, "I sing on it, but there aren't a lot of lyrics-- it's definitely more on the experimental side of things."

Bon Iver @ Sasquatch Fest 2009 (more by Chris Graham)
Bon Iver

No word on whether Volcano Choir will play any live shows, but Bon Iver is currently on tour. That group has summer dates all over the place (Europe, the West Coast, Europe again, the West Coast again), up to Austin City Limits in October.

Bon Iver will be premiering a new piece in NYC on Thursday, January 21st, 2010, at Merkin Concert Hall. The show, part of the New York Guitar Festival's "Silent Films/Live Guitars" series, will feature a Vernon-commissioned score to Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush. He'll be joined by Volcano Choir collaborator Chris Rosenau. Performing separately at the show will be Steve Kimock, of Zero and Crazy Engine, who is scoring Buster Keaton's Cops. Tickets will be available as 4-show series subscriptions and individually.

More Volcano Choir band pictures, album art, track list and Bon Iver tour dates, below...

Continue reading "Bon Iver plays in Volcano Choir (new album), playing Merkin Concert Hall (NY Guitar Festival), other shows (tour dates)"